Tendinitis Anyone?

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

Tendinitis Anyone?

Post by danny31374 » Sat Mar 11, 2006 3:10 pm

Many years ago I practiced the guitar obsessively and ended up with tendinitis in my left thumb. I was using the thumb to squeeze when playing barre chords etc.

My teacher should have told me to get the strength I needed from the arm. And perhaps even more importantly to focus on developing a light touch. At the time I got my hand in a cast for a few weeks. The other options were surgery to slice the tendon sheath or a cortisone injection.

I wonder if anyone has any information or experience with tendinitis. Or advice. I am playing again and I'm starting to feel it. Arg!

I heard Segovia recommended playing with the left thumb off the neck as an exercise.

I'm going to do some more research, but figured I'd ask if anyone knew about it. At this point I'm specifically interested in exercises and non-chemical, non-surgical things that can be done. Or if you've had chemical or surgical intervention and it really helped, I'd like to hear that too.

Oh boy, I rambled. Help!



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Post by pogmoor » Sat Mar 11, 2006 6:13 pm

Over the years I have had a variety of problems of this sort - tenosynovitis in the wrist from rowing, Achilles tendonitis from running and tendonitis in my right thumb from using a trackball while desigining my website. However I've been lucky enough to avoid serious problems from playing the guitar. The impression I've got is that (for me anyway) the problem comes if I build up an unusual activity rapidly or if I do something repeatedly that causes 'sideways' rather than 'inline' movement. In particular the problem with the trackball was because pressing one of the buttons caused sideways pressure on the second and third thumb joints.

The relevance of this is that I think that 'correct' classical guitar technique has evolved so that mucles and joints are acting as 'naturally' as possible and not being expected to make movements likely to cause damage. This raises the question of whether you have taken a really hard look at your left hand technique, not only the issue that your teacher has mentioned of 'light touch' (and not maintaining pressure when it is not needed) but also the issue of exactly how you place your thumb on the neck in relation to the fingers on the fingerboard.

I've attended summer schools with John Mills where he has video'd participants (including myself) to look at technique and I was surpised to find how sloppy my left hand technique was even though I though I was being careful to place my thumb properly. I learned a lot from doing this and I now find that I can play quite relaxed even using hard tension strings.

Whether this is relevant to your problem I don't know, but I hope you can find a solution for it :)
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

Perfecto De Castro

Post by Perfecto De Castro » Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:37 pm

I'm currently recovering from DeQuervain's tenosynovitis in my left thumb. It doesn't hurt anymore but it's still a little tight-feeling.

I received a non-steroidal anti-inflammant shot to the wrist that brought down the swelling and it worked for several months. The mistake on my part was that I didn't give it time to heal and I just kept on playing and doing the things I do thinking I was cured....WRONG!!!!! I should've laid off playing for a few months and just let the wrist rest. Even though the inflammation was gone, the wrist is still injured....it just doesn't hurt.

Needless to say, I aggravated the injury and it surfaced again after several months. So I just rested it, kept my hand in a splint most of the time and received accupuncture treatment as well as a new chiropractic procedure called Graston Technique. I also took a regular dose of ibuprofen to help with the inflammation.

The key is rest. Always wear a wrist splint to keep it immobile, especially while you're sleeping. Remove the splint aseveral times during the day to rotate, stretch and exercise your wrist. When the inflammation is down, some isometric exercises will help strengthen that tendon again.

Also, you have to examine the way you hold your guitar. I found that if you hold it at too much of an angle, it hurts the thumb tendon, stertching it unnecessarily. Then check your guitar neck's thickness. A thin neck will cause you to work your thumb harder, that is what I suspect injured me. My current guitar has a thicker neck than my previous ones and I'm experiencing les thumb fatigue.

Hope this helps


Post by Robm » Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:46 am

I have a problematic left wrist that has given me curry for many years. I've taken herbal extracts with small success. More recently I've been taking a fruit juice high in anti oxidants that seems to have helped keep the pains at bay and mitigate inflamation. Don't want to give someone free advertising here, if you're interested in what I'm taking sent me a private note.


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Post by danno » Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:50 am

I suffered hand and arm problems for over 5 years! I now am back to playing about 2 hours a day. The thing that without a doubt has helped me the most, has been the exercises in a book called "Pain Free" by Pete Egoscue. http://www.egoscue.com I would urge anyone whose having problems to check it out. You will get results! Good luck and keep your spirits high. know that the pain will pass.



Post by ronito » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:05 pm

I too have had huge issues with my left hand. So much so that I had to stop playing for a while. I had to essentially start over with the left hand, but still sometimes after a long time of playing I get really sore.

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