"picking hand" pain

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

"picking hand" pain

Post by minriv » Thu May 29, 2014 1:55 am

Hi guys. I thought i could use some help here. Ive just bought my first ever guitar, a yamaha c40, and ive been practicing for about 5 days now. What disturbs me is that my right hand (the one that strkes the strings) is already in pain. That is, when i make a fist or extend my fingers, the part in my palm, just right below my 1st and 2nd knuckles, feel a bit swollen. Ive also noticed that when i form "scissors" with my hand (like rock paper scissors) then bend the middle (the "knee" of the finger), and proceed to open the "scissors", its is also painful in the same area. Which doesnt happen when i do it in my other hand.

Ive kept my right wrist fairly straight, with a slight arch, just like how Tennant does it in pumping nylon video. Fingers, make a fist, then relax. I dont know what could be wrong, and i dont have a teacher to help me. Or is it just normal? Even though ive been with it for only a few days? For about 1 hour each day, 30 minutes x 2 with breaks? Or is there something problematic with my guitar perhaps?

Id appreciate any help guys.

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lagartija
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Re: Pain in picking hand

Post by lagartija » Thu May 29, 2014 2:34 am

:( This does not sound at all normal. Have you ever injured that hand? If not, then I would guess (because I have no way of knowing without seeing you play) that you have some serious dysfunctional tension. Are you sure you can't take a few lessons with a qualified teacher? It is worth the investment not to hurt yourself. Your hand should not hurt if you are playing properly. Pain is a signal that something is wrong and you are wise to listen to your body.

If you cannot possibly do that, perhaps if you post a picture or short video of your hand position when you play and some of the teachers here could possibly help.
When you play, are your middle knuckles pulled back past the plane of the back of your hand? That is the main way I can imagine pain in the palm where you describe.
Or.... you are holding your fingers in a curved shape with too much tension.
Or....you are spreading your fingers wider than you ever have in your entire life (hard to believe, but it could be true...)
Or... you are holding your fingers apart with too much tension.

Are you playing ima on adjacent strings?
Do you have the pain if you are alternating im on the same string?
What exactly are you "practicing"? Not everything in Pumping Nylon is intended for beginners.
1 hour /day is a lot of time for someone just starting and 30 minutes is a long practice session in the beginning if you are having physical difficulties because you lack flexibility.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

minriv

Re:

Post by minriv » Thu May 29, 2014 2:56 am

thanks for that maam lagartija :) Im doing Shearer, basic alternation of im, ma. It doesnt hurt when i am playing, (at least im not noticing it) but it does after. I started 9pm last night, ended 11pm, total of about 1hr, 2x 30 minutes, with breaks. And its already 11am here the next morning. It still hurts. Although i can only feel it when i flex and extend my hand as described above. Not really affecting the use of my hand, but there should be no pain, right?

anyway, ill try to check, but id post a picture later so it would be easier. :)

minriv

Re:

Post by minriv » Thu May 29, 2014 2:56 am

and i have never injured my hand, btw :D

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mverive
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Re:

Post by mverive » Thu May 29, 2014 2:58 am

Back off on playing, and only resume when you are pain-free at rest. An hour a day, as previously mentioned, is a lot for a beginner, whether it be guitar, tennis, or any other new activity. When you resume, start slowly. If the pain returns quickly, or is associated with numbness or tingling, see a physician.

Although the pain is in your hand, you may be having pain secondary to nerve compression at the wrist, where your forearm rests on the edge of the guitar, or from nerves in the armpit or neck. Nerve injuries can be permanent, so get a medical evaluation if the symptoms do not resolve completely, or resume when playing.

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

minriv

Re:

Post by minriv » Thu May 29, 2014 7:30 am

thanks doc michael. i think i'll have to rest until my hand feels okay again. and taking a few minutes off would definitely better than ending up with permanent damage this early :)

btw, here are some pictures. i hope it helps (and works; i didnt know how to post images) :lol:

http://imgur.com/a/6jzLl

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Michael.N.
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Re:

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:50 pm

It doesn't look too bad but it would be more revealing if you could post a short video of you actually playing, camera face on to the right hand.
In the pics you look to be playing quite close to the bridge, which is even harder on the fingers. It's easier for a beginner to play nearer to the soundhole. The strings have a bit more 'give' over the soundhole.
Practice in much smaller sessions with frequent breaks. 5 or 10 minutes at any one time. This can be increased slowly but over a period of weeks and months.
Historicalguitars.

LFP

Re:

Post by LFP » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:57 pm

minriv A couple of thoughts:

The musician's Bible says "Any pain no gain". Stop and sort.

All the photos are different: different wrist angle, different finger attack, different approach finger angle to string,
different thumb angle both from hand and approach to string, is this deliberate? That variability makes advice difficult.

If you completely relax your right arm (jelly all your joints) where does your right hand end up? Looking at the pictures I'd conclude that
your right hand would flop upwards because your arm weight on balance is behind the contact point on the guitar.
Shoulder and upper arm should have nil tension at any time, find that balance point.

If you are "holding" your Right arm/wrist in position then jelly the joints and adjust. There should be no need to hold/tension any muscles in the right arm/wrist.

Does your right arm/wrist indeed your whole body feel the same on the guitar as when you walk? Walking is your reference. LFP

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mverive
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Re:

Post by mverive » Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:34 pm

In all of your pictures you are playing very close to the bridge. In doing so, the contact area for your right forearm is relatively small. The amount of force being applied to the forearm is indirectly proportional to the size of the contact area (the larger the area, the more the force gets spread out). This may be causing a lot of pressure to the median nerve, which is responsible for signals to and from the part of your right hand that's bothering you. Couple that with the fact that you've been practicing a lot in a short time, and you are probably causing repetitive nerve injury.

Stop playing until you re completely symptom free at rest. Then, when you resume playing, do so in short intervals (15 minutes at a time, to begin with). You might also want to change the way you play to either pluck the strings closer to the soundhole, or vary your right hand position so that you're not placing so much pressure on such a small area. A small towel or other cushion may help under the right forearm, but may be counter-productive if you have less control over the guitar and end up applying even more pressure.

In any case, if you can't play without pain, stop playing, and see a physician. Try to get personal instruction as well, even if only via online lessons (especially if you can do video lessons with a teacher who can evaluate your posture and playing position.

My advice, by the way, is not intended to replace the advice of a physician who can physically examine you, but is intended to give you some help in determining what may be the cause of your pain.

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

Stringlover
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Re:

Post by Stringlover » Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:09 am

You must have tension in the wrist and hand while striking the strings. Don't persist against pain, the problem will get worse. I think few instructional sessions with an experienced teacher will help you. Based on the pictures, I don't think that your position has anything to do with your complaint.

minriv

Re:

Post by minriv » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:22 pm

thanks everyone! :) i havent felt the pain for about 2 weeks now, since I have started doing stretches. I'll still be mindful of my hands though -- i dont want the pain ever going back again :) my left index however.. :D i guess i should work with my left hand next. :)

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