Minor wrist issue

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
guitarist09

Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by guitarist09 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:21 am

im experiencing some pain in my wrist too but I stretch my wrist before and after I play and it works :D
and I try not to put too much tension on my wrist while I play :D

AsturiasFan

Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by AsturiasFan » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:27 am

Chrisss wrote:Is it OK to stretch the base of the thumb or is that something one should avoid? Both the inner/outer side of the base that is.
I have a comprehensive wrist/hand stretching regiment but it doesn't include the thumb. So I found some good thumb stretches here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv6jeUYwi5c. The therapist claims that: one of the stretches helps relieve pressure on the carpal tunnel; stretching the web helps the base of the thumb. Since the web of the left hand is highly developed in guitar players, stretching the area seems to be a reasonable thing to do. It also makes sense to stretch the right hand thumb to increase the mobility of the thumb towards the bass strings while the fingers play on the trebles (more important for those with smaller hands). Another related stretch is to wrap the fingers around the thumb and bend the wrist laterally to stretch the big thumb tendon on side of the hand.

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mverive
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by mverive » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:56 pm

Tendons and ligaments don't stretch - they tear. Any flexibility gains from stretching involve "resetting" Golgi receptors in muscle. When muscles are stretched, Golgi receptors sense tension and try to avoid muscle damage by increasing muscle tension to minimize stretch. Passive stretching, when done properly, increases range of motion by allowing muscles to stretch further with reduced tension.

Done improperly, stretches can tear tendons and/or ligaments, causing injury, and can lead to scarring with reduced range of motion and joint instability.

Contrary to popular opinion, stretching before or after exercise (or guitar playing) does not reduce the risk of injury.

So, if you are dead-set on stretching, ask yourself what you want to accomplish, and talk to a knowledgable physician and/or physical therapist to avoid causing permanent injury.

Michael Verive, MD

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dirksteel

Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by dirksteel » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:51 pm

Please heed Dr. Verive's advice. I suffered an injury and spent three months doing things that only made it worse. Finally it was diagnosed correctly and the root of the problem was fixed, though it will probably take a year (or longer) to fully recover. By "recover" I mean that long before I can play the guitar comfortably and without any pain. If you are worried about spending the money, forget about that, as it will cost FAR more to let it develop further and to not get at the root of the problem. You may very well just make it worse through stretching.

AsturiasFan

Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by AsturiasFan » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:29 pm

Dr. Verives post was an eye opener. I've tried to do further internet research on stretching but I usually just find tidbits with no context. However, the video http://athletesandthearts.com/hand-care ... odd-urban/ says that the static stretching that famous musicians recommend is all wrong. I just read in a magazine that static stretching can quickly lead to a temporary decrease in muscle strength through the reflex action that both Dr. Verive and the video therapist mention. I'm not sure but some tidbits indicate that muscular strength helps prevent injury so static stretching could increase risk by the temporary decrease in strength in addition to the the rebound tightening that Dr Verive mentions. So both Dr. Verive and the therapist suggest that if one does stretch it should be passive stretching, which I take to mean just moving in and out of the stretch with no holding of the stretch. Another tidbit I read, again with very little context and no citations, is that stretching when done right may help decrease the risk of injury because it leads to greater strength. On the other hand some say that in the sport of running one shouldn't stretch at all (or at least not the way it's currently done).

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robin loops
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by robin loops » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:21 pm

The most important thing to remember is that 'stretching' should never be painful and not even uncomfortable. The main purpose of 'stretching' is to loosen up and move through the range of comfortable motions. In reality it shouldn't even be called stretching and a better term for it would be 'loosening'. A really good 'loosening' exercise is put hands facing the floor in front of you and gently shake them around. When doing 'stretches' it's better to do them like you would stretch when your tired, extending never pulling.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
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mverive
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by mverive » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:21 pm

AsturiasFan wrote:Dr. Verives post was an eye opener. I've tried to do further internet research on stretching but I usually just find tidbits with no context. However, the video http://athletesandthearts.com/hand-care ... odd-urban/ says that the static stretching that famous musicians recommend is all wrong. I just read in a magazine that static stretching can quickly lead to a temporary decrease in muscle strength through the reflex action that both Dr. Verive and the video therapist mention. I'm not sure but some tidbits indicate that muscular strength helps prevent injury so static stretching could increase risk by the temporary decrease in strength in addition to the the rebound tightening that Dr Verive mentions. So both Dr. Verive and the therapist suggest that if one does stretch it should be passive stretching, which I take to mean just moving in and out of the stretch with no holding of the stretch. Another tidbit I read, again with very little context and no citations, is that stretching when done right may help decrease the risk of injury because it leads to greater strength. On the other hand some say that in the sport of running one shouldn't stretch at all (or at least not the way it's currently done).
Passive stretching means that you are allowing the affected area to be stretched without actively contracting the muscles involved. Passive stretching may be "static" (a stretch held in one position for a period of time) or "dynamic", as when a physical therapist performs "range of motion" exercises that create tension in the involved muscles, but over a range of positions.

Active stretching, on the other hand, involves stretching one set of muscles by using opposing muscles to create the force. Active stretching can be static or dynamic, as with passive stretching.

Essentially, all stretching is either active or passive (you are doing the work, or someone/something else is), static or dynamic (held in one position, or through a range of positions), or a combination of the above.

Passive stretching is commonly used to increase flexibility, but contrary to popular opinion it does not do so by stretching ligaments or tendons, but by training muscles to allow increased range of motion without stimulating them to contract to counteract the applied force. Since passive stretching does not involve muscle recruitment by the individual being stretched, it does not increase muscle strength or coordination.

Active stretching *does* involve using muscle strength and coordination, which if performed properly results in increased muscle strength, endurance, and control. Active stretching usually takes the form of controlled movements through a range of motion for a specific sport, although you can "circuit train" with various active stretching exercises.

Performed correctly, neither active nor passive stretching will produce "rebound" tightness.

Each type of stretching has its purpose. In any case, if you think you need to start stretching because of pain while playing (guitar, tennis, golf, or any other activity), the problem may not be lack of flexibility, strength, or coordination, but may be poor technique that will INCREASE the risk for injury - with or without stretching. Once you are using the proper technique, *then* you may want to consider stretching exercises, at which point I still recommend that you seek the help of a properly trained medical professional.

Michael Verive, MD
"(P)Lay on, MacDuff, And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"

Tom4103
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by Tom4103 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:22 am

Thanks to all for a very interesting discussion on this annoying topic.
I (aged 68) have constant (low-level) pain at the base of both thumbs, and short intense pain when I rotate them. I also sense a "crunching" sensation on rotating them. My GP says that it's age-related arthritis, and that not much can be done. It makes playing barrés quite a challenge, and normal practising or playing simple pieces becomes tedious.
I use Novartis Voltaren Dolo forte Emulgel, which brings short-term temporary relief.
I'm about to start a nine-week course of physiotherapy, using Matrix-Rhythm Therapy, as recommended by my guitar-teacher.
I'll post an update and let you all know if it helps at all.

Tom4103
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by Tom4103 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:56 am

Low-tension strings were an unsatisfactory solution:

I thought that changing to low-tension strings might mean that I had to exert less pressure, especially on barres.
My opinion after a couple of weeks: really no detectable difference in pressure exerted, and the only result was that the guitar sounded "deader".
So, back to the D'Addario Pro-Arte Normals!

More on the physio in a few weeks ...

Tom4103
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by Tom4103 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:59 am

Update on my physio...
Halfway through the course: sorry to say, no detectable improvement so far.
More in a couple of weeks!

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mikfik
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by mikfik » Sat May 04, 2013 12:26 am

Are you certain that your guitar's action is set up correctly so the guitar will play as easily as possible? If the action is much higher than 3mm it requires much greater left hand force to get a good solid tone from each note. When barring with my 1st finger I use the weight of my shoulder for much of the force needed to depress the strings, only a minimal force is required from my left hand and fingers and wrist.
A well set up guitar almost plays itself if given the chance. Try positioning the guitar so the headstock is sitting higher- and you will notice that your left wrist will be straighter while you play.
Good action and a straight wrist will help a great deal in solving your problem.

Tom4103
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by Tom4103 » Wed May 08, 2013 11:37 am

Hi Mikfik,

Many thanks that you took the trouble to reply; much appreciated!
Your advice is exactly what my teacher is telling me, and I am trying to follow. Yes, you are right, when I raise the headstock and try to keep a straight wrist, it helps quite a bit.
With regard to the guitar's action, I measured the gap between the strings and the 12th fret; it is exactly 3mm for the first string, and 4mm for the sixth. I'm hesitant to shave the bridge, though, I'll talk to my teacher next time we meet.

Many thanks again!

Tom

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robin loops
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by robin loops » Wed May 08, 2013 3:40 pm

Tom4103 wrote:Hi Mikfik,

Many thanks that you took the trouble to reply; much appreciated!
Your advice is exactly what my teacher is telling me, and I am trying to follow. Yes, you are right, when I raise the headstock and try to keep a straight wrist, it helps quite a bit.
With regard to the guitar's action, I measured the gap between the strings and the 12th fret; it is exactly 3mm for the first string, and 4mm for the sixth. I'm hesitant to shave the bridge, though, I'll talk to my teacher next time we meet.

Many thanks again!

Tom
3/4mm is pretty standard. Just remember if you do decide to lower the action, not to modify the original saddle but instead make a copy first and modify it (or if having the work done by a luthier, have them make a new saddle). Then if you decide you don't like lower action you can swap back to the original. Lower action (even action a little too low) can sometimes help with hand issues and lower saddles can even be swapped back in anytime you are feeling stress injuries to the hands. One thing you have to be aware of is that sometimes lowering the action too much can lower the overall volume and dynamic range of the guitar as well as it's responsiveness. On my guitar for example it is enough louder and crisper sounding with normal action that I am capable of playing with a much lighter touch than when the action is lower. So action is a very delicate balance, which is yet another reason not to mess with the original saddle. No bigger bummer than shaving off some of the orignal saddle only to find that the guitar doesn't work with lower action (due to buzzes or other issues for example).
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

Tom4103
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Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by Tom4103 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:39 pm

A final report on my physiotherapy course: nine sessions, a mix of massage, ultrasound, and Matrix-Rhythm vibrational therapy. Sad to say, only minimum improvement detectable. As suggested by Mikfik, I am working on keeping the headstck up and my wrist straight. That helps more than the physio!

Chrisss

Re: Minor wrist issue

Post by Chrisss » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:42 am

It took forever but finally, my wrists have become better! Not perfect, but so much better, I can even play guitar without any pain. I started resting from everything repetitive, and I also bought wrist-supporters, which seem to have helped a lot.

:bye:

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