Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

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

Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by Tulo » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:43 pm

First of all, im terribely sorry if this is doubled topic, but i didnt find any specific topic about this problem.

So here it is, im guitar student and im preparing this year for guitar competition and the problem with pain in left hand is curious, because this is happening when i play certain pieces. For example when i play relatively easy song, Bachs Prelude BWV 997, my hand (thumb, some fingers) starts to hurt really bad, lets say, nearly at the end of the song. I tried to practice it without thumb, to make the practice harded and to gain more stamina, but it didnt help that much. At the other side, I also play piece by Maximo Diego Pujol - Sonatine, and throughout all 3 parts of it, i didnt feel any problem with left hand. Thanks for all responses and sorry if bad english, not my language. :cry:

Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Re: Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:31 pm

Hi Tulo, and welcome!

I've moved your thread to the "pain" sub-forum. :wink:

I'm sure some members will be along soon to make suggestions and probably ask you some questions.

In the meantime, may I invite you to tell us a bit more about yourself in the "Introduce yourself" section here? In an effort to help thwart spammers, Mr. Delcamp now requires an introduction from newly registered members:
The accounts of new users who have not introduced themselves within a few hours of registering are deleted, and they will need to register again.
You will get a proper welcome and some tips on how to get the most out of the Forum.

Have fun!


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Re: Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by tom2977 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:01 pm

This helped me...stretching the thumb tendons to oppose the effects of compression.

http://www.mhwb.co.uk/downloads/DeQuerv ... ovitis.pdf

Good luck.

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Re: Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by twang » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:18 pm

Patient: "Hey Doc, it hurts when I do this"
Doctor: "Then don't do that"

Diagnosis it. Stop playing if you have to let it heal. Examine technique, resume slowly. Difficult, I know.
"An amateur is he who takes up the study of an instrument as a relaxation from his serious occupations." -- Sor

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Re: Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by woodenhand » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:17 am

There is an expression "no pain, no gain," but it does not apply here! You should not be experiencing any pain. The suggested stretching exercises might help, but if not, you should see a specialist about the pain, and also — assuming you have a teacher — get advice on correct posture. Another thing is to consider your instrument. Is it hard to play? If you have small hands as I do, then a guitar with a long scale length is too taxing on the left hand. If you have small hands and a long scale length, try a guitar with a shorter scale length. I can tell you from experience that this makes a big difference.

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Re: Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by Lawler » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:18 am

If you experience pain while playing you should immediately stop. For 20 minutes. Pain after that? Stop for a few hours. Pain after that? stop for a few days. Reassess how you're working, make changes and try again. And again... and again. The changes you make might be small or they might be big. If after a few weeks you still have pain get medical help.

Tulo, you mentioned you're a guitar student and preparing for a competition. If you don't mind saying, how long have you been studying classical guitar?

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:35 am

While I haven't played the Pujol piece, I'd say that the Bach is probably more demanding for the left hand. It's hard to diagnose the issue without watching you play. With that said, if a student came to me in their lesson complaining of the issue you are explaining, the first thing I'd do is take a look at how they are using their left hand. You are probably muscling through the Bach and therefore using a lot of left hand pressure, especially with the thumb.

I'd bring up this issue with your teacher (I assume you have one since you are preparing for a competition and have described yourself as a student), have them look at what you are doing and see if they can give you some advice about how to work out the issue. I have several different exercises to develop correct left hand technique that I give to students regularly to develop their left hand technique.

If the pain continues, obviously see a doctor. Whenever I send a student to a doctor, I tell them to make sure to tell the doctor that you're a musician, and also to find a doctor who specializes in musician injuries.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor


Re: Unbearable pain in left hand while playing

Post by dolceponticello » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:21 am

YOu can try keeping your wrist in a "proper" position. Make a fist and then relax the hand with changing the angle of the wrist. THen slip the neck of the guitar into your hand while maintaining that position.

It is good to notice whenever you feel pain in your wrist when playing. Maybe you could practice with a mirror and notice if your posture is compromised.

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