Aiding blood circulation to the hands

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
darkshark

Aiding blood circulation to the hands

Post by darkshark » Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:42 am

I have a bit of a problem with blood circulation to my hands and feet. In the hot climate I now live in when I play the guitar for an half hour or so without putting it down blood pressure will build in my hands and the veins become prominent. This makes my movements across the fretboard more restricted than usual. Has anybody experienced a similar problem and, apart from just plain resting my arms, are there suggestions on exercises or methods to keep good blood circulation to and from the arms.
Comments appreciated, Tom. :?

Azalais

Post by Azalais » Thu Dec 29, 2005 12:55 am

Do you check your posture and playing position frequently? (maybe drop your arms to your sides, raise them over your head, and try some seated stretching moves)... get up and walk around occasionally... (and maybe evaluate your sodium intake?) I get muscle spasms in my back... and the only way to deal with them is to get up and move around... I have to do shorter more frequent practice sessions, and make sure that I'm really stretched out and warmed up before I start. Good posture is the one thing that we probably all tend to ignore when we're engrossed in our music... but it can't be an after-thought.

darkshark

Post by darkshark » Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:26 am

Thanks Azalais - I do find that I tend to ignore a proper warm-up routine. like most of us I have a limited amount of time that I can give to my practice, so when I have a piece that I am keen to learn I dive right in without much warm-up (bad I know). Is there a certain percentage of each practice session that you dedicate to warm up exercises, scales etc. that you can suggest is healthy? My guitar posture is acceptable I think, I don't get a sore back after playing, when I do have get a sore back it is usually from working at the computer all day! I'll take the advice of breaking my practice into smaller chunks and refreshing inbetween.

hav

Post by hav » Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:31 am

hey dark - I too can feel swelling in my hands in warmer weather -- I wonder if salt intake contributes?? (just thinking out loud)

I will say that I felt it more earlier on then these days ('course it's not that warm now either)

I suspect some of this is just the same "pump" that a weight lifter feels after a hard workout - no?

darkshark

Post by darkshark » Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:44 am

Hi Hav, glad to hear I'm not alone there. Your probably right about the weight lifter comment. We make our arms work hard when we play and get our muscles pretty pumped up as a result. I am a bit confused about the salt intake. :? Should we be looking at increasing our salt intake or cutting it?

JQ.

Post by JQ. » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:00 am

About salt intake... sodium can contribute to higher blood pressure. My husband has it and is supposed to limit his sodium intake. Sodium is in just about everything, though, so limiting it is more than just not sprinkling more on top of your food at the table.

Azalais

Post by Azalais » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:29 am

Sodium makes your body retain fluid, which contributes to blood volume and swelling... drinking tea and more water seems to help flush it from your system, and can help relieve the puffiness. (guess that I should make a disclaimer that that's just a personal observation, and NOT medical advice :roll: )

hav

Post by hav » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:32 am

yeah - I meant maybe limit it a bit --- as for the "pump" - I would expect the hand muscles to pump up more than the arm as you play -- if not, then I think there might be some basic technique issues to be examined. I find that, these days, unless I have been working some drill to exhaustion, when my LH begins to pump, it usually means I'm being a bit too "grabby" in my LH as I play.

I think there's probably a sort progression/refinement as one begins CG (I'm not talking down dark, so please just ignore this if it does not apply in your case). As one begins working LH technique, I would suspect that beginners probably feel forearm soreness - followed by hand cramps - and, eventually, swelling in the base joint and segments of the LH fingers. THINK (though I could surely be wrong) that we shoot for using our fingers rather than our entire LH or left forearm. When we have the major work done in and by our fingers, we are approaching that point where the fingers just sort of dance on the fret board and strings (if you know what I mean)

NOW! none of this is to say that I don't get some hellacious barre cramps while trying to play limosna at half or quarter speed :grire: :grire:

JQ.

Post by JQ. » Thu Dec 29, 2005 4:57 am

Azalais wrote:Sodium makes your body retain fluid, which contributes to blood volume and swelling... drinking tea and more water seems to help flush it from your system, and can help relieve the puffiness. (guess that I should make a disclaimer that that's just a personal observation, and NOT medical advice :roll: )
Here's some more non-medical advice.

Vitamin B6
B6 is a natural diuretic. This fact may explain, in part, B6’s effectiveness with carpal tunnel syndrome and pre-menstrual syndrome. Both these conditions are worsened by water retention.

When I started taking B6 for carpal tunnel, it really made a difference. If I skip a couple days because I ran out, I start to feel it again.

RJay

Post by RJay » Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:37 pm

Hi.

I can only report my experience and I think there is a BIG difference between tired muscles and swelling that limits range of motion. I have never, no matter how long or how much I practice, experienced this.

I think that if you don't understand why your hands are doing this you should seek qualifed medical advise - read: Go TO THE DR.

AsturiasFan

Re: Aiding blood circulation to the hands

Post by AsturiasFan » Tue May 06, 2008 3:23 am

I agree with Rjay. There are a lot of serious medical conditions that can cause the symptoms you describe. I'm a cardiac patient and I believe one of those conditions is heart failure. Cardiologists frequently ask about whether my ankles ever swell.

Return to “Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists”