Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

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

Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by RonC » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:21 am

Hi all, Over the last six months Ive developed tension between my i an p. My i finger wants to curl up into my palm. Everyone is quite sure its dysfunctional tension. Im doing the Sherer stretching exercises for both hands but I dont see any changes yet, maybe its too early. Does anyone know what I can do to get rid of DT? Any help is appreciated. Thanks

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Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by randalljazz » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:40 pm

edit
Last edited by randalljazz on Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lagartija
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Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by lagartija » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:49 pm

Under what conditions does i want to curl into your palm? When you use p? When you use m or a?
When you try to play something fast? When you play forte?

You might consider seeing a professional in Alexander Technique for an evaluation as the problem may be in your shoulder or somewhere else in your body but manifesting itself in p and i.

Playing v e r y slowly with great awareness of the release of tension after plucking would not hurt.....
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Tomzooki
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Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by Tomzooki » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:15 pm

Do you mean that your i culrs into your palm unintentionnally and you have no control on it? If so I think you should talk about it to a doctor
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granadina
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Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by granadina » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:38 pm

Another senior member , Malcolm , has a similar problem -

viewtopic.php?f=71&t=84855

He has mentioned this repeatedly , and may have some insights .

RonC

Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by RonC » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:50 am

Yes, the i curls into the palm unintentioally and at any speed, but mostly when I use p. M and a work normally. There is no pain, fortunately. Its like Ive lost control of i. When I use i and m repeatedly on the same string i doesnt want to descend to the string. Im stretching a lot and doing rasguedo techniques to work the tendons on the outside of the hand to help open it up, no noticable difference yet--its been a month since I started.

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lagartija
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Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by lagartija » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:28 pm

If this problem started with your guitar playing and it has never happened before, perhaps it would be wise as Tomzooki recommends to see a hand doctor first to make sure there is no functional problem with your tendons or nerves from compression or pinching. If the doctor says there is no physical defect, then see a specialist in physical movement (like an Alexander Technique person) to deal with this. IMO, it really sounds like a serious problem that you may not be able to fix on your own. The way you do rasgueados may even exacerbate the problem if the source is from your shoulder or forearm. :? "Losing control" of the movement of a digit is not only disquieting, but may indicate something more serious and that is why I think you should get professional help in evaluating the problem.
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

RonC

Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by RonC » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:25 am

I studied guitar when I was much younger, left it, then picked it up again three years ago at the age of 50. Thanks for all the advice.

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Blondie
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Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by Blondie » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:35 am

Last time you posted we seem to have got off on the wrong foot. i'll try again.

So would the following summarise your problem?

-I is flexing uncontrollably into your palm when you are using other finger(s)
-the problem did not appear until you started to play guitar again
- the problem is painless
-the problem is task specific - you do not see it when doing things other than playing guitar, even though you might be using the same fingers

Please say if I have any of that wrong. It would also help me to know how long usually in each session you were practicing for when the problem arose and what you were doing in the months prior to the problem appearing ( eg a set regime? certain exercises?). If you get back to me about the above I can provide some further info/advice.

A video would help enormously as we said last time, but I recall then you said you didn't have time. Might i suggest, politely, that you have just spent a month on exercises that are not doing anything when you could have uploaded a video and got more specific advice in a fraction of the time?

I am not trying to score points or be rude, just trying to point out that how you prioritise your time is important if you want to resolve this. Often people's assessment and description of things like this are highly subjective. So again, I am suggesting a video would help.

RonC

Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by RonC » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:44 pm

Hi Blondie;

You are correct on all points but the first since a and m seem to be normal when working together. But once I even think about using i with them it starts curling up. P and i are the big problmes, lots of tension when used together.

The all probably came about from practicing too much, trying to make up for lost time. I was practicing 4 to 6 hours a day (2 to 3 sessions) taking one day off a week to recover.

Needless to say Ive backed off a lot. I stopped playing for one week then restarted very slowly and now Im doing max 2 hours 3 to 5 days a week. I canned my old repetoire to start fresh. I started by play one finger at a time very slowly, not going to the next finger until there is complete relaxation and I am in full control. Its been slow going but just recently Ive begun to see some seperation between the p and i.

Im not too good with gadgets but Ill see about a video.

Thanks

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Blondie
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Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by Blondie » Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:41 pm

Hi Ron
RonC wrote: You are correct on all points but the first since a and m seem to be normal when working together. But once I even think about using i with them it starts curling up.
Ok that last point is even more revealing and so is this:
RonC wrote:The all probably came about from practicing too much, trying to make up for lost time. I was practicing 4 to 6 hours a day (2 to 3 sessions) taking one day off a week to recover.
Yep, you have pushed your system too far too fast. When I say system I mean the nervous system, what you are describing is a sensory motor problem, not one of muscle tone, so stretching and rasgueados are not going to have much, if any, affect. whether you have focal dystonia or are approaching it is a question for a medical specialist, but we are in that territory (and actually even for them it is a matter of opinion, but you are ticking several boxes)
RonC wrote:Needless to say Ive backed off a lot. I stopped playing for one week then restarted very slowly and now Im doing max 2 hours 3 to 5 days a week. I canned my old repetoire to start fresh. I started by play one finger at a time very slowly, not going to the next finger until there is complete relaxation and I am in full control. Its been slow going but just recently Ive begun to see some seperation between the p and i.
Ok this is a much better approach, pretty much what I would have suggested. Shelving previous repertoire is important as unwanted movements become ingrained and part of the 'programme' that makes up a sequence of motor movements. Slowing down, concentrating on very simple combinations, allowing each finger to totally and utterly relax before flexing the next - this is exactly what you need to do to 'unlearn' the problem and rebuild your technique. Its painstaking work and it takes a lot of patience.

You might find it helpful to work with a metronome when you do this, setting it at a tempo underneath the threshold at which you experience a problem, for any particular finger combination (eg P-I), then working with that for a week or two before raising a few notches.

RonC

Re: Dysfunctional Tension, HELP!

Post by RonC » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:59 am

Hi Blondie,

Thanks for the response. Your comments have reinforced what Ive begun to see in my recovery. The metronome is a good idea at this point as well. And, yea, it seems it will be a long process but what Ive been told will make me a better player than before I had the problem, I just hope my patience last!


Thanks again for all the help!

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