Tennis Elbow

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

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by jjbaribeau » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:56 pm

I found a simple exercise on the web that relieved the tingling sensation in the index/annular finger almost immediately.
Try holding the offending arm at 90 degrees from your side, palm up, rotate the head away from the arm ( about the axis of your nose ) and then turn the head away from the arm ( about the axis of your neck). Do the same movement palm down and perhaps twisted to an extreme. This cleared up my problem very quickly but no one is the same.
I had to give up playing for 2 months but am now coming back to easy pieces and trying to improve my left hand technique to avoid tension.
Hope this helps,
Jean

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KevinCollins
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by KevinCollins » Tue May 04, 2010 3:57 pm

My partner is an MD, Dr. G, and she refuses to take medicine when she is sick. Go figure.

Take the darn pill, G. Aspirin is found in nature. Treat the inflammation so that you can quit avoiding the treatment and get better. It's like having a sore throat -- the dehydration from avoiding swallowing (and not taking fluids) is what kills you.

And, if you are self-diagnosing, see a doctor, too. Better, yet, talk to your physical therapist, they work with it all day long. My PT's husband is a guitarist, she knows every little ache and complaint.

I had the classic tennis elbow, couldn't even pick up a piece of paper. The treatment is counter-intuitive. Rather than resting the arm, it is treated with exercise. My PT had me tie a piece of rope to a 5-lb weight, attach it to a short 1-inch dowel (piece of broom handle) and I wound it, up and down. I used a short piece of pvc pipe leftover from a plumbing project, floppy but effective. Worked like a charm.

Tennis elbow is low on the list of things to worry about. Just treat it.

Wasn't that a Michael Jackson song? Just treat it...

Just treat it.

Cheers,

Kevin
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Last edited by KevinCollins on Tue May 04, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Kevin Collins, Amherst, Mass, USA All rights reserved.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue May 04, 2010 4:55 pm

KevinCollins wrote: I had the classic tennis elbow, couldn't even pick up a piece of paper. The treatment is counter-intuitive. Rather than resting the arm, it is treated with exercise. My PT had me tie a piece of rope to a 5-lb weight, attach it to a short 1-inch dowel (piece of broom handle) and I wound it, up and down. Worked like a charm.

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How often did you do this exercise and for how long a duration? I have this tennis elbow thing, probably from practicing guitar, not sure. Currently I just wear a support when I practice and do some stretching doc showed me (pulling fingers with elbow locked). I also squeeze a foam object as therapy. But yours sounds different and makes more sense. Any info appreciated, thanks.
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KevinCollins
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by KevinCollins » Tue May 04, 2010 7:16 pm

segoviajr07 wrote:
KevinCollins wrote: My PT had me tie a piece of rope to a 5-lb weight, attach it to a short 1-inch dowel (piece of broom handle) and I wound it, up and down.
How often did you do this exercise and for how long a duration?
I don't remember the duration.

The winding exercise is similar to the curls suggested at

http://www.itendonitis.com/tennis-elbow-exercises.html

-- only the dowel-rope-weight works both ways, palms down and palms up. That was what was so great about it.

"Tennis elbow" covers a general condition, with different causes. I couldn't comment on your case without seeing the chart, so to speak.

And, like I said, your physical therapist is probably the best person to talk to about this. They are the ones who do the actual work of rehabilitation and can often offer more specific direction than the doctor, who only sees you once or twice. Your doctor would probably agree.

Cheers,

Kevin
---
Kevin Collins, Amherst, Mass, USA All rights reserved.

drgoretex

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by drgoretex » Tue May 18, 2010 5:27 pm

Some good input there.

Here's the update, for all those anxiously sitting on the edge of their seats wondering, "will Dr.G ever play again?" :lol:

Well, it's four months since I decided this had to be dealt with. I haven't played guitar since then (ie VERY suboptimal solution!) but, my elbow is settling quite nicely. In fact, I was going to physio for the first several weeks, and found that the stretches, exercises, ultrasound, etc, etc, definitely did not help. In fact, pain flared up quite badly for several days after seeing the PT each time, and general trend was 'no change'.

As for antiinflammatories, ya, I gave in, used them, and they helped a great deal with the pain. But, upon stopping them, even three weeks later, it came right back full force.

So, stopped the antiinflammatories, stopped physio, stayed off guitar, and now much better. I can actually use my arm without wincing.

I am going to give it another month or two, then SLOWLY restart my gutiar training, with lots of breaks, along with very gentle stretching and strengthening. Will see how it goes. At this point I am sadly not expecting to improve my playing skills a great deal anymore.

For those who are professional musicians, I feel tremendous sympathy, and have no great answers, as simply putting away the guitar is not an option.

Best wishes

Ken

mlmijyd
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by mlmijyd » Thu May 20, 2010 4:08 pm

drgoretex wrote:No, not playing tennis. But the guitar has given a pretty vicious case of tennis elbow. As a doc, I know all the usual suggestions we have for this (ice, antiinflammatories, rest, stretches etc), but I am not keen to go on the antiinflammatories - seen too many complications.

So I am wondering if anyone has personal experience with this issue?

Ken
I had this for months and tried all of the above apart from the drugs to no avail but was finally cleared of it after 3 visits to a good Chinese acupuncture chap. You need to get right into the tendon and this approach works as it very specific. Hope this helps?
Christopher Dean 2003 amazing sound!

SteveM

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by SteveM » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:50 pm

I recently had tennis elbow. Tried resting it as much as possible, got some ibuprofen gel from the doctor and rubbed it in 3 times a day but it still persisted. Finally, after nearly 3 months, gave in and had injection in elbow (cortisone I think) and after a little soreness in the joint for a day it is now completely gone.
Steve

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:12 pm

Please let us know how you feel in a few months...thanks
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drgoretex

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by drgoretex » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:58 pm

Well, here we are, 9 months since I started trying to get this tendonitis settled, and it is now essentially gone. No pain, no problem, as far I can tell.

Down side is that in the end I had to actually give up playing the guiter to allow it to settle. I have not picked up my guitar even once since early spring, about six months ago. Just about killed me at first, felt utterly lost, wheels spinning. Had to distract myself with other creative outlets just to stay sane. Of course, unlike some of you, I am not a professional musician, and am fortunate enough to have this option.

SO...now the big question....as I pick up the guitar again, will it come back? Truth be told, I am almost afraid to get started again, for fear I will find out that it comes right back, which would make it clear that I cannot ever go back to playing regularly.

Trying to build up the courage...

Ken

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Casey
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Casey » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:39 am

Is there a status update? As one who went through this I sure hope you're pushing through it. Good luck.
Last edited by Casey on Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:21 pm

I am still living with mine, wearing an elbow brace and taking Alleve keeps it at bay. I played a full recital without the brace yesterday and it was fine, but this morning it is hurting again. I am not sure this will ever go away without the cortisone shot which I am avoiding for two reasons. 1. I am in the midst of many programs right now and don't want to risk being unable to practice/play and 2. I am a big baby.

That's my update!
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drgoretex

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by drgoretex » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:05 pm

Ya. Was just about to get started again, as the lateral epicondylitis had settled with no guitar playing....then I injured my left had middle 'base knuckle' (mcp joint) while reaching for something. Sometimes, life just ain't fair. :(

However, barring further injury and mishap, I should be able to get started again in the next couple weeks. Was just printing out JP's free version of BWV 997 Gigue and Double and draming over it in anticipation....

Here's hoping

Ken

Imbler
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Imbler » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:42 pm

I got a terrible case of tennis elbow after restarting guitar from a 30 year lapse. The guitar needs a fret job which probably got the tennis elbow going; it requires a lot of pressure for fretting and barres. I'm throwing the kitchen sink at it and it is healing very quickly for as bad as it was. I am using a home ultrasound unit, voltaren cream, aspirin, heat wraps, and using ice at least 10 times a day.
Mike

licaptn

Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by licaptn » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:40 pm

I have it too. :cry: I'd like to blame it on Bach, as I have been putting in a lot of practice trying to learn some of the Master's pieces.

Actually, I have suffered from tennis (left) elbow for many years. It started with weight lifting when I was a lot younger and in recent years it kicks up at the beginning of golf season. It is very, very painful. My golf pro says it comes from gripping the club too tightly. My guitar practice routine in the past few weeks has been extreme and I have felt tension building in my left forearm. I'm sure that I have been overdoing it but I suspect that my left hand position may be wrong and I have not been relaxed. Yesterday, during a marathon practice, I felt that all too familiar feeling in my elbow. (Just one of the negatives associated with being "type A," I suppose.)

What I do for tennis elbow brought on by golf is some rest (I cut back to playing once a week), ice treatments, Advil (two tablets - 3x per day), a strap with a gel ball whenever I play, and a lighter grip (or at least I try to do this). The pain always gets worse before it gets better. But it does get better. Usually after 6-8 weeks, pain is hardly noticeable and certainly doesn't stand in the way of playing at least a few times a week.

I plan a similar treatment for my "guitar elbow." For now, I refuse to stop playing (we'll see how it goes). I'll shorten my practices, wear the strap and apply ice. I'll also review my left hand position with my teacher this week. Hopefully, this will be enough to fix it. One thing is sure, I need to learn how to relax when I play. Although, I'm not really sure how to do that.

licaptn

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Tennis Elbow

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:24 pm

I've still got my issue, doc says a shot of cortisone will cure it, but I am reluctant to do that, mostly because I know it will mean a few days without playing.
Aleve seems to work better for me than Advil, that's what doc suggested as well. I haven't done any ice, just wear the brace when I play. If I wear the brace all the time and take the Aleve daily it seems to help a lot, but I hate wearing that brace around all the time.

That's where I am, probably gonna bite the bullet and get the shot soon, will report back.
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