Pain in left arm normal?

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

Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by Dante » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:37 am

Gus - Thanks for taking the time to describe these in such detail. They are great stretches. I will stay with them, and try to follow Geo's advise, as I am sure tension is the main culprit here!

Thank again...


Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by Spektrograf » Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:30 am

I just wanted to drop a thanks to Angus for the stretches. They're quite helpful, especially the one that stretches everything from shoulder through the forearm. Very nice! Also, fretboardmusic pointed out quite accurately that marathon practice sessions are definitely for the young. I dove back into guitar with a couple of weekends doing 2-3 hour bursts occasionally twice in one day without factoring in the fact that I haven't touched guitar in 3-4 years. :P Bad move... as I'm nursing a mild RSI strain in my left arm that has my grip strength down. It's coming back with time-off, but the time away is testing my patience in wanting to keep progress going. Definitely need to heed that advice of pacing and breaks in practice. :)


Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by andyp13 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:42 am

I have been suffering with a pain in my right arm and wrist, told by a friend that is will be repetitive Strain, I am a right handed player and would assume if I were to suffer from this it would be in my left arm etc....anyone else get this in right arm? any help

Regards to all


Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by andyp13 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:47 am

Done some research on RSI, it seems this is what I have.
Very painful continuous ach in my right arm including the wrist etc.... conflicting results when researching, some say rest, others say exercise....
Has anyone taken professional advice? if so what was it and did it work?



Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by gtrgabriel » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:14 pm

I have personally noticed that when I am learning a new piece without first properly warming up, I feel tense and stiff.
I think because I am concentrating too much, so I get rigid in my playing, and as a result, I start getting wrist pain on my picking hand and numbness on
my other one. So, being relaxed is the way to be pain-free for me. And properly warming up helps me to be relaxed. :)


Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by ducktape8969 » Tue May 05, 2009 2:41 am

AsturiasFan wrote:It looks like the issue is resolved, but I need to get a post in which is now only partially relevant. It is my understanding that if one is practicing a lot of bar chords correctly, one may very well feel the effects in the forearm. This is Douglass Niedt's opinion which turned out to be be the case for me.
i am having this problem as well, except no pain, the vein/nerve/tendon under my forearm twitches when i move my pinky.

is this normal?


Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by b0908 » Wed May 06, 2009 10:43 pm

I increased my scale time and had regular pain in my left wrist but the problem was totally unrelated to the guitar. At work I positioned myself at the midpoint between my keyboard and mouse. That caused me to have to turn my left wrist out a little. I moved a little to the left so that I was centered on the keyboard and my pain went away from then on. Yea!


Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by Martbarr » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:00 am

Gus C wrote:Hi,

2) Stand or sit up straight head facing forward chin up as if standing to attention. Keep your head level during this exercise. Fix your eyes on a point level with them don't look down or tilt your head and now move your head backward forcing a double chin. You should feel this stretching at the back of your neck and you might feel a choking sensation too.
Hold this for the count of 10 and repeat this 10 times.
hi Angus,

Just came across this old post as you do - I was while looking for solutions to shoulder tiredness.

What do you mean by "backwards" in your exercise 2?
I can see this helping either way but to force a double chin I nomally push my chin downward so looking more toward the floor.
Just dont want to break anything :)

Many thanks

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Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:13 am

Try these:

Don't forget the lower back:

They all should be done several times per day, spread throughout the day. After a few months it might be possible to just do them a couple of times per day, maintenance. They have certainly helped me to combat some pretty severe problems. Working at a bench all day and playing guitar meant I was receiving twice the dose of bad posture inducing activities. The symptoms were frequent and many. I was having to quit playing 6 to 8 months at a time, which happened many times over many years. It was also painful and depressing.
Guitarists tend to wrap themselves around the instrument, shoulders tend to move forward, a closed in chest, upper back can become rounded. Once that happens the whole balance of the body is affected, losing the efficient nature of a correct posture. Most people aren't even aware that they are in a poor posture position, they just become aware of painful symptoms.


Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by Clovingo » Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:13 pm

Interesting reading all the posts and everybody's advice. I'm suffering the same problem, dull pain radiating on my left for arm. Tried stretch and took a few days off playing. I usually play 3 hours a day now I'm down to an hour. I'm frustrated to tell you the truth. Taking pain medication is not the route I want to take.

One of the posts mentioned playing with tension as a cause of fore arm pain. I think I'm squeezing the fret board too hard. Anyways I'm still debating if I should go see a doctor.

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Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by lagartija » Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:46 pm

Are you working with a teacher? Sometimes we are so busy trying to play, that we are unaware of how tense we are. This is something that a teacher can help you become aware of.
One way to diagnose excessive tension in the fretting hand is to play slow scales using "place then play" as two steps. When you place your finger to play the next note in the sequence put absolutely no pressure on the string. Check that the other fingers are not tense and exerting no pressure on the string, even though they may be resting on the string. Then play the note, pressing only enough for the note to sound. You can practice "buzzing" the notes on the first time through if you think that you might be using excessive force. After playing, release all pressure on the string, playing the note staccato (but don't lift the finger off the string- just release the pressure). After becoming comfortable with staccato, you can try playing more legato, still being aware of releasing the pressure in the other fingers when the are not playing.
This exercise can also work on synchronicity; the right hand finger prepares (places) the finger at exactly the same moment as the left places the finger on the string.
When I first started to do this exercise, my left and right hands did not prepare at the same time and the fingers of my left hand were still pressing even though they weren't playing. This causes extra tension in the hand and that leads to more tension in the forearm.
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Re: Pain in left arm normal?

Post by bzel » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:00 pm

Some aikido and Taichi chuan stretches for the arms can be very helpful.
If possible ask an actual instructor to show you. Failing that this and other videos may help.

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