tennis elbow from guitar playing?

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

tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by olenaval » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:35 am

Hello ladies and gentlemen. I practice daily and a couple of months back, I have been feeling pain in both elbows. I don't quite know whether its bone, ligament or muscle but it feels like a tennis elbow. I was wondering if it's bad posture that causes this, or simply age...I am 48.

Does anyone else have this problem (not so debilitating, but painful none-the-less)?

I would appreciate any input as to cause or cure of this, before I actually see a doctor about it.

cutnstuf

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by cutnstuf » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:09 am

I think there may be some threads on this subject, but yes, I know what you mean. I'll be 62 and I get pains from my hands up to my shoulders. To quote you, "...(not so debilitating, but painful none-the-less)..." In my case a combination of arthritus and old age.

Cut

olenaval

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by olenaval » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:10 am

Thanks, Cut. It is always good to know one is not alone in "suffering". Maybe I should get back to athletics also. Playing the guitar is wonderful, but I think I need physical exercise, too.

Alas, I choose to be in denial about it being age related.

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Vesuvio
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Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by Vesuvio » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:18 am

Hi Olenaval,
olenaval wrote:...Alas, I choose to be in denial about it being age related.
Maybe we should form a club? I do wonder if by putting up with our aches and pains we may be overlooking something that appropriate medical advice might help us through—but I don't like going to the doctor's, it's full of really old people who aren't at all well,

All the best, V :)
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

olenaval

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by olenaval » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:29 am

Hello Vesuvio,

It is good to hear from you. I agree -- a trip to the doctor is necessary but not desired.

Maybe because we almost know what he will say, and he will be wrong. It would be curious to see if there are any physician members in the forum.

Thanks.

Ole

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Vesuvio
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Location: Northern England

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by Vesuvio » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:26 am

Hello Ole,
olenaval wrote:... It would be curious to see if there are any physician members in the forum...
Yes indeed, there are several and I am sure one of them will be in soon to straighten us out. Take good care of yourself,

All the best, V :)
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

Rainwater

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by Rainwater » Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:07 am

I'm 56 and everything hurts! ! ! I work with much younger fellows, and sometimes they comment that I keep up with them surprisingly......I tell them that their day is coming....my arms and legs may be moving like theirs, but inside I swear I've been hit by a truck...
Actually, I feel pretty good. I eat well and live moderately. Occasionally, I go through periods where I take an (1) aspirine before retiring.....it smooths things out.
My elbows hurt, but they hurt before playing guitar.....don't really hurt, but are tender to being bumped.
People say age is all in your head......I tell them that's where it hurts the most!
I hate that saying, it's all in your head. If I try to play handball like I did in my 30's/early 40's, my hips and knees will be finished, and it will take months for them to feel normal again.....that's life, that's not in my head.
If anyone in the Olympics is near 40, it's a big story....forget about 50's/60's......
It's easy to be a kid in my head, but the body is another story. Oh yes, I see people my age looking so trim and fit from the gym routine they embrace......but I know it takes total maintenance at my age to maintain that youthful conditioning....it's not worth the time to me.
I can't play sports the way I like anymore.....I'm taking CG into my golden years. Music and Gardening.......

olenaval

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by olenaval » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:11 am

Hehehe. That was funny, Rainwater.
Olive asks: Popeye, Popeye are you hurt?
Popeyes' answer: Only when I laugh, *chuckle, chucle*... uhg!

Seriously Rainwater, that elbow you describe, it's the same as I have, I think. Yes it hurts when bumped, even gently. You think it's age related? I will ask the doctor. Maybe he can give me an honest answer, then I will let you know. As he holds clinic far away from where I live and work, that will take time. But I guess I will just have to do it. It might lead to something irreparable.

Ole

cutnstuf

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by cutnstuf » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:17 am

".....I'm taking CG into my golden years. Music and Gardening......." re: Rainwater

This sounds nice to me, bud! :)

Cut

kramert

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by kramert » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:46 pm

I'm sorry to hear how widespread the suffering is. I had been looking forward to resuming CG study upon my retirement from radiation oncology. Now, 3 or 4 months after that milestone, my left elbow has become quite painful. It is also tender to being bumped. While not a bone or joint specialist, I have diagnosed my condition as inflammation of the soft tissues related to the finger extensor muscles which originate from the outer aspect of the humerus (extensor digitorum longus). I think I have an inflamation of the fibrous tissue which anchors the muscle to the bone (myofasciitis). Tennis elbow is a condition due to overextension of the joint causing ligamentous injury. Playing guitar is not likely to cause that specific injury. Tendons, and their lubricating bursa sacs are prone to repetitive motion injury from activities like vacuuming, sweeping, raking, rowing (I try to do as little of these as possible). The resultant tendonitis, bursitis, -- in fact most soft tissue "itis" conditions can be treated by rest, ice/heat, and anti-inflamatory drugs (including over the counter things like aspirin, ibuprofen and naprosen). The debate among athletic trainers as to whether heat therapy (ie whirlpool bath) or ice is best for injuries has raged for decades. The ice is better for acute injuries since it reduces swelling. Both promote the increase in blood flow (ie skin turns red) which in turn is what helps heal these tissues. I wish you all a speedy recovery.

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Vesuvio
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Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by Vesuvio » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:47 pm

Hello Kramert,

Thank you very much for your input, I will certainly keep an eye on my aches and pains and I hope your elbow improves,

All the best, V :) :merci:
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

olenaval

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by olenaval » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:30 am

It is very very good to hear from you, Kramert! Thank you very much for your very helpful input.

One question from a former athlete, since the pain is more "pain" than "strain", and you would probably be familiar with the body-builder's motto: No pain, no gain. Does that mean that it will eventually get better with practice, and it is one of those things that happen when a particular muscle is exerted outside normal activity?

I realize that you are an oncology radiologist, and I will not put off seeing the orthopedic surgeon, but your opinion is well appreciated! Thank you again!

kramert

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by kramert » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:36 am

Hi olenaval
I don't really know what the cause of your pain is and I can't make any predictions on what might happen. In general, pain is the body's way of telling us that we are doing something that might be causing damage. It can also be a sign of ongoing, chronic conditions such as the smoldering inflammation I think that I am experiencing from repetitive stress injury. Most inflammatory conditions related to trauma will eventually (weeks to months) fizzle out. If your pain persists despite the measures I mentioned in the previous post you should see a doctor and probably have an X-ray to be sure that there is no underlying destructive process (cancer doctors have a one-track mind) or serious chronic inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis.

olenaval

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by olenaval » Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:55 am

Thanks, Kramert.

I come from a family of doctors (ophthalmologists), so I understand you perfectly. It is always good to know that there is a true doctor in this virtual house.

Ole Naval

Rainwater

Re: tennis elbow from guitar playing?

Post by Rainwater » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:26 pm

Lately, in the past week or so, a lot of my pain is subsiding for some reason. Some things I changed lately. I changed my diet. I only eat uncooked food until dinner time. Fruits, my cafe con leche, Smoothies, a little salad, maybe some milk. Then for dinner I eat what I want, but not too much. I've been avoiding chocolate (not completely! !!)....seems daily amounts of chocolate inflame my joints???

For a little more than a week, I took one aspirin before retiring. I seemed to wake up a little more refreashed, and some of my pains were less.

I started sleeping differently. I have an exercise I do when I lay down to sleep, and most of my neck and back pains have disappeared. Also, I'm sleeping mostly on my back without a pillow with my legs pushed together (very straight, like a piece of straw). I have a pilllow on my chest which allows me to rest my arms a little elevated. This has helped a lot for some reason.

I have been using a guitar rest since almost the first month of playing guitar because the foot rest was attracting pain (fairly intense) that was distracting to my playing. For some reason lately, I've returned to the foot rest with good results. Back pain is almost completely non-existent.

I came up with all this on my own.....I didn't read it any where or anything. I've had some neck pain for several years now, and it's almost disappeared..it's not an issue.

In spite of my good turn, I just ordered a support stand for my classical guitar which will allow me to play standing up. I think everyone thinks I'm crazy for this because everytime I mention this on the forum, no one gives any comment. I practice 2/3 hours a day, and maybe more on my day off. I'm convinced that alternating every hour sitting/standing while practicing will be good for my bodily well-being. I think it will be refreashing for the body to change position monotony.
I know the masters/professionals play sitting continuously for hours, but masters/professionals started playing when they were very young (generally), and they have a body memory which formed from an early age.
My elbows aren't as sensitive lately either.

I'm feeling so good, something terrible has to be wrong...... 8) I'm going to the doctor to find out what's wrong.......

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