Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
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Paul Janssen
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by Paul Janssen » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:03 am

uptempo wrote: I use a laptop on my knee - not good and this is something else to address isn't it.
For a whole host of reasons not the least of which it can put a terrible strain on your neck. Technology can often be as much a master as it is a servant.

uptempo

Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by uptempo » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:56 am

Thought I would update this:

A visit to a therapist - himself a guitar player - seems to suggest that there is impingement of the medial nerve and he does not think it is carpal tunnel syndrome but rather because I have poor posture, forward head position and hunched shoulders, that essentially that day came when injury set in somewhere along the nerve. On examination there are several sensitive areas, notably the scalene muscles and aspects of the forearm.

I have been stretching and flossing nerves for three days now and there is slight improvement. Additionally, I have invested in an arm rest (Abel) and also an ergo play and have been very strictly monitoring my position whilst playing. I have also altered my wrist position so that is far straighter and I actually find this very nice and easier to relax.

I have also backed of the intensive sessions and been practicing some very basic arpeggios and scales - almost rediscovering what 'relaxed' feels like to me.

Armrest:

The Abel armrest is fantastic - so much so that I wondered how I had not investigated this aid before. To be honest I don't care if the guitar top is more resonant or not, the bottom line is that it makes for a lovey experience whilst playing.

Guitar Support:

The jury is out on this at the moment. I purchased the ergoplay 'tappart' and I do like the fact that the support allows the feel to be nicely planted on the ground but the suction cups keep coming off despite feeling that I have it all well aligned.

Computer use:

I have limited my surfing on the net. I'm fairly certain that using the computer whilst slouched on a sofa is not a good idea. I have therefor stopped that.

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bear
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by bear » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:11 pm

uptempo wrote:Thought I would update this:


Computer use:

I have limited my surfing on the net. I'm fairly certain that using the computer whilst slouched on a sofa is not a good idea. I have therefor stopped that.
Sounds like you're getting a handle on it. I use an table adjustable table for my laptop computer. I think I paid $20.00 for it a few years ago.
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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:38 pm

FWIW, I've had the tingling and seen a doctor who was ready to operate on the spot basically. Quick CTS diagnosis.

I used my own judgement and had my regular doctor write an Rx for Physical Therapy. The PT gave me some exercises similar to the YouTube video here, I was a good boy and worked on it, now its gone. I am fine.

Pain, discomfort, numbness, tingling, its all methods the body has of telling you something is wrong and you need to be very careful to listen. The older we get, IMHO, the more important this is!
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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:40 pm

The Abel armrest is fantastic.
I have been just about as comfortable using the Luva arm pad. Its not for everyone, but its cheap enough to give it a try. Its sold in the US by Luthier Music in NYC.
2017 Glenn Canin Spruce

italian_job
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by italian_job » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:24 pm

I've been going through a similar thing, unfortunately is the neck for me and when my neck muscles stiffen up I feel tingling in my fingers and toes.
Follow this list and you ll be ok. It helped me immensely and applies to any instrument. Good luck!

italian_job
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by italian_job » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:32 pm

here ya go
Image

goldenoldie
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by goldenoldie » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:29 am

uptempo wrote:Thought I would update this:

Computer use:

I have limited my surfing on the net. I'm fairly certain that using the computer whilst slouched on a sofa is not a good idea. I have therefor stopped that.
If you are resting your wrists on the desk or a wrist rest, please don't . The hands should be free, as when playing a piano or other keyboard instrument.

If you are predominantly using your mouse with your right hand, do consider switching to your left.

I had some trouble in my left hand coming on some years back, and changing these habits was a great help to me. If you have an iPad, you might want to use Siri more often, but be careful of your neck and back posture.

goldenoldie
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by goldenoldie » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:35 am

My wife and I are following some of the routines in Miranda Esmonde-White's Classical Stretch series (we bought 2 DVDs from Amazon). We have benefited greatly in the last three months. I believe posture problems can be addressed by encouraging mobility of the joints, and that you may benefit even as you play in the classical guitar position.

Luis_Br
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by Luis_Br » Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:38 am

uptempo wrote: Come to think of it - it surprises me how some professional players get away with the high wrist action? I am sure we can all cite world class players who have a high wrist so maybe they are just lucky.
I think they are not lucky. They know to play with minimum effort and keeping a relaxed wrist while pressing with fingers, so some wrist bent doesn't bother them. In my experience internal tension and wrong coordination to press fingers while keeping a tight wrist is normally the case rather than simply a deviated wrist. Puting wrist straight is a remedial thing rather than the actual true solution, IMO. Although sometimes changing wrist positioning helps a lot. But IMO it is not because the positioning itself, but because it challenges your bad habits and perception. When you get a different perspective sometimes you correct some issues unconsciously.
Of course too much wrist bent is bad, but I don't think Segovia or Williams is too much bent. We can see they could reach old age without injury.

A good exercise to learn releasing the wrist is to press something in the hand, like a tennis ball, with the fingers and then move arm in circles and release wrist letting hand shake around, while keeping ball tight from fingers alone. A lot of people start loosing the ball while releasing the wrist. Then they try to hold tight again with fingers and wrist tighten together. It is really not an easy coordination, we are used to tight wrist and fingers together. But we must learn to detach them to get good technique. Check Williams or D Russell, their RH wrist are very loose, sometimes we notice hand shaking free while playing denoting a real free wrist. That is not the case with some other players...
Spine-neck dynamics and breathing is also the other issue.
I think besides stretching, self-massage is also another good think. It helps releasing and relaxing, activates circulation which accelerates the recovery and enhances self-knowledge and perception of muscles. Stretching might be dangerous if you don't do it carefully.
Also pay attention what you eat. Drink a lot of water and do regular exercises, like some walking, to keep good internal fluid circulation activity.
Last edited by Luis_Br on Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

uptempo

Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by uptempo » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:14 pm

Update:

Sadly I have hardly played the guitar since posting the topic.

Both my hands are painful with a nerve type pain as well as general discomfort. I have had a full range of medical tests that have all come back as normal except thyroid. I started on meds for thyroid and I felt terrible. I am not actually hypothyroid but ever so slightly raised levels and the doctors have told me that in reality I do not need any meds. I am not experiencing any other symptoms of thyroid either: no weight gain etc.

My chiropractor feels that this is either a pinched nerve around C7 (he said "it is classic C7") and additionally my forearm muscles are ridiculously tight (flexors and extenders). I have and will continue to have extensive treatment but he is still not of the belief that this is CTS but rather my body has said enough is enough. I am back running (5 miles plus since I began) and stretching all the time. I am paying a lot of attention to my core muscles and posture.

I do feel very down about it because playing the guitar has in fact dug me out of clinical depression and so I am naturally and perhaps ironically anxious. I hardly use a computer now, in fact even typing this post is not comfortable.

I feel that all the skill I have developed is now being lost. I am not a concert level performer - far from it - but I was proud of how I was progressing. I actually fear that my playing days have come to an end and so I would urge anyone who begins to feel any kind of pain to sit up and take notice before it develops into the kind of problem I have.

uptempo

Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by uptempo » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:20 pm

Also

Could I ask anyone about the issue of resting the forearm on the guitar. I actually feel as though this has been part of the issue in the first instance and I can kind of relate the pain in the right hand with resulting weakness in my m and a finger. I have invested in an arm rest and could wear a thick sock when I try and return to playing. But given that the nerves can be compressed in the forearm I can't envisage playing the guitar without sufficient pressure on the bout of the guitar?

goldenoldie
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Re: Carpal Tunnel: I might be getting it?

Post by goldenoldie » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:50 pm

uptempo wrote:Update:

Sadly I have hardly played the guitar since posting the topic.

Both my hands are painful with a nerve type pain as well as general discomfort. I have had a full range of medical tests that have all come back as normal except thyroid. I started on meds for thyroid and I felt terrible. I am not actually hypothyroid but ever so slightly raised levels and the doctors have told me that in reality I do not need any meds. I am not experiencing any other symptoms of thyroid either: no weight gain etc.

My chiropractor feels that this is either a pinched nerve around C7 (he said "it is classic C7") and additionally my forearm muscles are ridiculously tight (flexors and extenders). I have and will continue to have extensive treatment but he is still not of the belief that this is CTS but rather my body has said enough is enough. I am back running (5 miles plus since I began) and stretching all the time. I am paying a lot of attention to my core muscles and posture.

I do feel very down about it because playing the guitar has in fact dug me out of clinical depression and so I am naturally and perhaps ironically anxious. I hardly use a computer now, in fact even typing this post is not comfortable.

I feel that all the skill I have developed is now being lost. I am not a concert level performer - far from it - but I was proud of how I was progressing. I actually fear that my playing days have come to an end and so I would urge anyone who begins to feel any kind of pain to sit up and take notice before it develops into the kind of problem I have.
Do you have access to a reputable TCM practitioner? There are many quacks, but a good one can do amazing things.

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