Left shoulder bursitis

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

Left shoulder bursitis

Post by Nylonstringer » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:47 pm

Hi all
I recently had an ultrasound that showed a swollen bursa in my left shoulder. I am so disappointed. Basically i have to stop playing for it to heal. I guess i can concerntrate on right hand issues. Why i am so annoyed at this is because i thought i had my posture correct. This injury takes months to surface so when it does it means i have been doing something wrong for the past 6 to 7 months. In that time i practiced allegro solemne constantly. I put the question to everyone. Where does your shoulder and arm sit when you play at the low end of the fretboard? Does your upper arm stay tucked in and you pivot from your elbow? Does your upper arm stay in line with your forearm which causes you to use your shoulder? I need re evaluate my whole posture and left side especially.
Some help on this would be greatly appreciated
Thanks

FHC
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Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by FHC » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:16 am

Truly sorry. I do look forward to some responses as I have had some shoulder pain too.

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David Norton
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Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by David Norton » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:09 am

I've had the exact same problem. In my case, it came from keeping my upper left arm angled out at about 45*. The prime culprit was playing pieces almost entirely in root position (Giuliani exercises). The only cure was to alter my sitting position so that my elbow was closer-in to my body, and/or play works which use a wider range on the fretboard.

I was doing OK in warmer weather, but now that it has cooled down the pain is returning.

Allegro solemne moves around quite a bit, could be that you've got too much motion happening??
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

Nylonstringer

Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by Nylonstringer » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:01 am

David_Norton wrote:I've had the exact same problem. In my case, it came from keeping my upper left arm angled out at about 45*. The prime culprit was playing pieces almost entirely in root position (Giuliani exercises). The only cure was to alter my sitting position so that my elbow was closer-in to my body, and/or play works which use a wider range on the fretboard.

I was doing OK in warmer weather, but now that it has cooled down the pain is returning.

Allegro solemne moves around quite a bit, could be that you've got too much motion happening??

It could be the case. I'm hoping for more responses and maybe solutions. I think once i have recovered i will be doing ice treatment followed by heat pack after everytime i play. Its quite depressing at the moment and frustrating too. I was making good progression with that piece of music. I agree that its definitely about hand positioning. I have no trouble with phrases that are more mid and high end of the guitar.

Nylonstringer

Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by Nylonstringer » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:03 am

Surely there are some advanced guitarists on this forum who can give some of their advice and knowledge on this matter..

kervoas
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Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by kervoas » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:31 am

I'm not medically literate but several years ago had an ultrasound of left shoulder, diagnosis acute calcific tendonitis, which i think is similar to bursitis. Agonising !
Specialist said operation required.
I did nothing, and apart from occasional pain, it seems the more I use it, the better it gets. I practice/play CG at least 1 hour a day, often 2-3 in winter.
Maybe some Yoga or other gentle exercise will help.
Hope this is encouraging.....
“The only escapes from the miseries of life are music and cats”
Albert Schweitzer

Nylonstringer

Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by Nylonstringer » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:59 am

Thanks kervoas
I am looking at a few exercises which are suppose to help and i'm also considering a cortisone injection. I'll see my gp in a few days to see if i should just get the shot or not. One thing i did today was to not look at the fretboard as i play and i noticed pain wasnt as intense. Problem is for now i need to rest it so anything i do thats different at the moment is still gonna hurt a bit .
Thanks again

Nylonstringer

Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by Nylonstringer » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:11 am

kervoas wrote:I'm not medically literate but several years ago had an ultrasound of left shoulder, diagnosis acute calcific tendonitis, which i think is similar to bursitis. Agonising !
Specialist said operation required.
I did nothing, and apart from occasional pain, it seems the more I use it, the better it gets. I practice/play CG at least 1 hour a day, often 2-3 in winter.
Maybe some Yoga or other gentle exercise will help.
Hope this is encouraging.....

By the way kervoas
How did you go about playing? Did you modify your technique to compensate for your shoulder injury?
This is my question to the forum
Do you keep your left upper arm tucked in or do allow it to align with your forarm which results in your shoulder having to adjust?
I'm talking about when playing at frets 1 to 4

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David Norton
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Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by David Norton » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:53 pm

Another option is to rest the guitar on the right leg, semi-flamenco style. This helps the left shoulder, though it will raise the right one and that takes some getting accustomed to.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

Kenbobpdx
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Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by Kenbobpdx » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:06 pm

David_Norton wrote:Another option is to rest the guitar on the right leg, semi-flamenco style. This helps the left shoulder, though it will raise the right one and that takes some getting accustomed to.
After injuring my left shoulder many years ago I have had to move to this position. Although it poses a few problems with some pieces it really does not hamper much. I have tried to go back to the classical position but my shoulder just starts hurting and I find myself focusing on the discomfort and not on the music. Since I play mostly for my own pleasure moving to right leg works for me.
"If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe."
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sphinx
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Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by sphinx » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:16 pm

Use a guitar support that allows you to position the guitar further to the right. Also play for a while with a capo on the first fret, if the pain eases then consider switching to a shorter scale guitar.

Nylonstringer

Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by Nylonstringer » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:32 am

David_Norton wrote:Another option is to rest the guitar on the right leg, semi-flamenco style. This helps the left shoulder, though it will raise the right one and that takes some getting accustomed to.

Thanks for all responses. Over the last few days i have used the right leg instead of left. I had it raised but not too high and yes my left shoulder felt so much better. Its only when playing pieces that are predominantly in the first four fret positions that are lengthy in duration that poses the most problems.

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tuk
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Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by tuk » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:02 am

Have a look into Alexander Technique, rather than attempting to force your body in this posture or that position, it teaches you instead to completely relax so that your body can adopt it's natural position or perfect posture while engaged in any kind of physical activity.

Reading up will only give you so much of an idea, AT is something you need to experience/feel, but once you have, you will use it for the rest of your life in all that you do.
"To make the figure more understandable, IBM said Sequoia was capable of calculating in one hour what otherwise would have taken 6.7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years to complete if they had worked non-stop."

MMC

Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by MMC » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Am experiencing similar issues. While I won't rule out a physical, age related impairment to the shoulder, I believe it's mostly related to tension in my case (usually starts after I've been practicing for 1.5 hrs or so). I try to stop as soon as I feel any pain and deliberately relax and or stop and do shoulder stretches before beginning again. Invariably I find that the pain is caused by tension which, when released, eases or eliminates the pain. Thus, I believe tuk's advice is well founded, even tho I haven't taken any Alexandre Technique classes personally. I have researched it and it makes good sense to me and so far, my DYI attempts at relaxation are yielding good results. Regarding the Giuliani (arpeggio) exercises, I've found that practicing them with open strings, right hand only, until I get them up to speed and then bringing the left hand into play for only the last few runs saves a lot of left hand (left shoulder) strain. They are, after all, right hand exercises. Per sphynx's advice, I am also switching to a 640 scale guitar, which I expect will also help.

artist55

Re: Left shoulder bursitis

Post by artist55 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:12 pm

I recently had pain in my shoulder and upper arm. I switch to putting my guitar on the right leg and I feel no pain at all. I am an intermediate player and found no problems playing the pieces I enjoy.

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