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Thread: Advice on Tendonitis

  1. #1
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    Advice on Tendonitis

    Hiya Guys,

    About a year ago now, I started to experience stiffness and discomfort when playing guitar. At the time another member of my family was seeing a chiropractor for treatment on their back, so I went along, got myself checked, and I apparently have tendonitis in my 'rotator cuff' (spelling here is purely as a guide). So I've been paying for chiropractic treatment for a few months, and it seems to have made no discernable difference. Should I stick with it? Is there anything else I can try?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    C

  2. #2
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    Which shoulder do you have the pain or discomfort in? Is it possible that you injured your shoulder in an accident or other activity, and aggravated it with guitar playing? Usually tendonitis from playing guitar ends up being in the hands or wrists, although anything is possible. If the chiropractor is not helping, tell him that you are not feeling better so he has some feedback. He may try another type of treatment until you experience some improvement. Don't be afraid to ask if there are any exercises or stretches you can do on your own to help your recovery. Also pay particular attention when you play guitar that you are not tensing your shoulders, relaxation is important for injury prevention. You may need to adjust your posture to get your guitar in a better biomechanical position. Let us know how thing turn out.

  3. #3
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    Len....

    Thanks for the advice...so you know, it's the shoulder of my picking arm that's the trouble (that's my left arm....cuz I'm cackhanded lol)

    I'll certainly get onto the chiropractor again then. Although I'm aware of being way too tense when playing....it's hard to do anything about it, I just can't seem to get the muscles to relax...I've read some stuff about this thing called "muscle memory", but haven't found anything practical on "re-teaching" the muscles so they don't tense up. Doesn't half affect your playing speed too....learning "Cliffs of Dover" is a real problem.

    Also it is possible that my work aggravates it as I do alot of lifting, fetching and carrying.

    I'll get onto my chiropractor and my doctor ASAP then, as I want to apply for a place at GIT, and I wanna get the most out of that that I can should I be accepted.


    Thanks again

    C

  4. #4
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    I tried the whole massage and chiropractor method but found that there was a lengthy period where the person has to get to know your body and injury before you start seeing results and I really didn't have the time or money to continue. You say you do a lot of heavy lifting...so I'm not sure how much of this you could do...but when I had tendonitis (after I ran out of cash to throw at doctors) I started lifting weights that targeted the specific areas that hurt under the advice that apparently doing so would help to lift the tendons off of the bones, which is often one of the problems. And it worked quite well. I find, now that I'm back in decent shape, if I work out 2 times a week it keeps the pain away.

    I also found just generally trying to stay in shape was a big factor in getting over tendonitis. Going for runs just to get blood flowing to the areas helps. Also hot/cold showers are the most painful yet usually most effective way to releave pain. 2 minutes as hot as you can tolerate. Then 30 seconds of only cold water. Do this as many times as necessary.

  5. #5
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    Silent Storm,

    Thanks for your suggestions....strangely, hot showers are one of the things my chiropractor told me to avoid. Seems to me you had the same problem as me....I too have run out of cash to throw at these people.

    I certainly didn't realise what effect just generally being in shape could have.
    I've suffered from depression recently and am extremely underweight....so I guess that could be a factor as well???

    Thanks again

    C

  6. #6
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    I forgot to mention as well that a lot of it is going to be mental. I usually feel little pains near the end of simester and have come to realize that I can work through this because most of it is just stress. I'm sure you have experienced this. You feel a little pain and you start thinking about it and noticing that it hurts more often then you realized...then that just builds to the point where it hurts all the time and it's really all you think about.

    Most everything has an effect on how your body functions and tendonitis is no different.

  7. #7
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    hmmmmm....that sounds logical....good advice....


    thanks

    C

  8. #8
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    i'm no expert but heres my take but i have never been tense on gtr (at least - when i started to want to play fast anyway).


    1.is it when you play gtr normally (say 3 open chords) that you tense up.

    or

    2.when you PUSH for more speed or play something complex?.

    because if it is the latter then you will need to work on technique. the faster i go the more relaxed i become because if you tense up, your muscles with 'freeze' and you wont survive on brute force for long (seconds at best -then later cause tendonitis). you will have to develop the muscles at a relaxed pace s-l-o-w-l-y working up with the metronome always pushing for more but just a few bpm behind where you begin to tense up.

    if it is the first reason that i mentioned that you are getting tense. then would you not be tensing up doing 'average' tasks such as eating a sandwich etc.
    i really don't know anything about this condition but i do play fast and i stress a 'tension-free' approach to speed as it is the only way to get there other wise = tendonitis .

  9. #9
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    Arpetude,

    the tension does tend to happen when I'm looking to develop picking speed, although playing chords will start to aggravate it after a while. I've read lots about building up slowly with the metronome and have tried to put this into practice starting at about 60 bpm with anything I try to play and going up in increments of 5bpm each time. However I can still feel excessive tension even at those speeds.

    I read a Jimmy Andreas article on the problem, but it seemed to be talking alot more about WHY it happens as opposed to how to combat it...strangely it seems to get alot worse when I'm standing up playing as opposed to sitting down...

    C

  10. #10
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    wow, sorry dude it looks like this is something that sort of naturally developed.

    especially if your playing chords and getting tense, you must have it really bad.

    i suggest not playing guitar (i would ONLY do this in extreme circumstances) and read up on theory instead. do this for about a month and return to the guitar and see if the problem goes away. if it doesn't then cry.

    this is truly my worst nightmare

  11. #11
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    well...I've got the doctor to see yet....I imagine it has alot to do with being self taught....all the bad habits tend to go unchecked with me

    C

  12. #12
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    i am self-taught (don't let it get you down).

    so is john petrucci + joe satriani + yngwie malmsteen AND LOOK AT THEIR TECHNIQUE .

    i constantly watched my RH when i started getting into it.

    buy this

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/reviews/article/8

    technique driven instructional + has warmups.

    just as a bit of advice (my opinion of course), if you tensing up at anything beyond 60bpm then this has nothing to do with technique (not unless your playing on a different planet with different gravity pressure).

    just a thought .

  13. #13
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    ahhh....that explains why it's so cold in here


    Thanks for the link....I'll be splurging on that methinks.....

    C
    Last edited by ChrisD; 03-02-2005 at 06:50 PM.

  14. #14
    You have tendonitis and still play the guitar and lift heavy weights at work? I don't know anything about tendonitis but I would rekon that playing the guitar and lifting heavy weights would never allow it to heal. I know nothing. Anyway, I think I have something like tendonitis in my left arm somewhere, but maybe not. I have had a slight pain in my arm for a month and a half now and it got a little better with some tablets the doc gave me but it has not gone completely. It affects my playing the guitar very little if nothing right now but I have been afraid to play anything because I still don't know what it is. What I am wondering is if it is still possible to play the guitar (to a certain extent) and work a full time job while you have this tendonitis.

  15. #15
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    Rizla,

    I seem to be managing to work and play guitar with it...but you need to be so careful with pills...mainly because they will get rid of the pain, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a problem still there....and it's easy to get sucked into thinking everything's OK because the discomfort has gone....and you end up doing more damage than good.....perhaps an appointment with a good chiropractor is a good idea....if you have the money to throw at them


    C

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