Chronic right arm pain when playing fast

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by lurè, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. lurè

    lurè Fake Shredder

    Messages:
    1,255
    Likes Received:
    1,707
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    Location:
    Italy
    When i play solos or some relatively fast lines I feel a pain on my right arm.
    More precisely it's around the brachialis m.
    a.jpg
    This happens both when i play standing or sitting. In the latter case, changing position from standard (guitar sitting on the right leg) to classical position helps mitigating the pain.
    I don't know if a poor picking technique can justify the pain; maybe my right arm is too much tight when I play.
    Don't know if you have experienced this or have some tips to fix the pain/playing.
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    16,193
    Likes Received:
    4,779
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    See a doctor.
     
    USMarine75 likes this.
  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Stage IV GAS

    Messages:
    15,506
    Likes Received:
    16,014
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Location:
    Minnesota
    1. How do you pick? all elbow, all wrist, a little of both, etc
    2. How often do you play? Do you warm up?
    3. Do you only get this pain while playing guitar or while doing other repetitive motions with that arm?
    4. Do you feel pain or soreness anywhere else after playing? Is the pain dull and throbbing or sharp and stabbing?
    5. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being no pain and 10 being excruciating pain where you can barely stay conscious)

    You mentioned that playing classical style mitigates the pain to an extent, then I would recommend only playing like that, and warming up regularly (ie work up to fast riffs with your right hand, don't just start trem picking the second you pick up the guitar). If neither of those help alleviate the pain then quit playing guitar for a couple of weeks and take some ibuprofen if it flares up. If it's still an issue then see a doctor.
    Most people I know with pain while playing guitar tend to have it down near the elbow (basically tennis elbow) or at the wrist. yours is in a weird spot -provided it's not referred pain, it could be due to playing with the guitar resting on your right leg. I know a lot of people are comfortable with that position but speaking from a body mechanics/ergonomic standpoint it's generally not a good position as it puts more strain on the muscles compared to the classical position. A lot of guitars will cant your arm out from your core, instead of letting it hang naturally like in the classical position.
     
  4. lurè

    lurè Fake Shredder

    Messages:
    1,255
    Likes Received:
    1,707
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    Location:
    Italy
    1. A little of both: on lower strings elbow picking is probably more pronounced, on higher strings mainly wrist.
    2. I play regularly every day 1h-2h. I do not stretch properly before playing ( finger and wrist stretching etc..) but I usually start with playing slow stuff.
    3. Only when playing guitar, I also do workout regularly wthout any problem.
    4. The rest of the body is totally fine, just a little bit of rigidity on the right shoulder but nothing fancy. Dull and thrubbing; it goes away with 10-15 minutes of rest.
    5. I would say 6: it's not invalidating but it's annoying.

    Yes, playing in classical position is totally necessary and that's something I've done in the past but the problem is still present even in standing position, that's why I was thinking of poor picking technique.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  5. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Stage IV GAS

    Messages:
    15,506
    Likes Received:
    16,014
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2015
    Location:
    Minnesota
    best thing to do is to take a break from playing for couple of weeks. It's likely a repetitive use injury. Take some ibuprofen to mitigate the pain if need be.
     
    lurè likes this.
  6. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer

    Messages:
    1,171
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    That's an unusual spot to experience pain from guitar playing. Try focusing on your breathing next time you play guitar. You want to deliberately focus on slow, deep and consistent breaths. It's tough at first and easy to forget about once you play difficult passages, but over time, this will greatly help your entire body relax while playing.
     
    lurè likes this.
  7. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    300
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I think I get similar aches and soreness when playing in campfire position that completely go away in classical position. I think it's a posture thing. My should just gets tired from holding myself that way but it doesn't get worse when playing fast, as far as I can tell.

    Something to try:

    Sit in your normal posture and kick into something that you can easily play without thinking too much. Anything. Shift your focus to the rest of your body--where is the tension? Why is it there? Do you need it there? Could you play the same thing without that tension? Try focusing on individual parts of your body, releasing unneeded tension where you find it while trying to keep the playing consistent. Focus on your breathing. Take a break. Repeat process, maybe playing something a little trickier or more strenuous.

    If this doesn't seem to work for you and your arm is otherwise fine and you're working out, consider seeing a doctor or sports injury specialist. Also look into adding more Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet and looking into other anti-inflammatory foods.
     
    JoshuaCamerondLB and lurè like this.
  8. lurè

    lurè Fake Shredder

    Messages:
    1,255
    Likes Received:
    1,707
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    Location:
    Italy
    I've tried to focus attention to other parts of the body and see if there's something wrong with them while I'm playing.
    The right shoulder is usually very tight even when I'm playing slow and gets, of course, tighter during difficult passages.
    This is probably (but I'm not completely sure) caused by pushing the forearm too much against the body of the guitar.
    I've recently learned to reduce tension on the fretting hand but working on the picking hand is a big challenge for me.
     
    JoshuaCamerondLB likes this.
  9. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer

    Messages:
    1,171
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    I'm tellin ya man, work on your breathing. It's the first source of your tension. You can try focusing on relaxing various limbs and such, but you will inadvertently be ignoring other tension points. Breath control will really go a long way.

    Believe me, I know this sounds very new-agey, but I started doing it after Guthrie Govan spoke about it at some clinic (or interview? don't remember anymore), and my body and playing have benefited greatly. I was diagnosed with tendonitis and carpal tunnel when I was 19, and I haven't really felt any of the effects in years.
     
    JoshuaCamerondLB and lurè like this.
  10. JoshuaCamerondLB

    JoshuaCamerondLB SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2020
    I think it would be best to register for a consultation with a traumatologist.
    Health is above all! Don't stretch your time!
     
    BrandonDyer likes this.
  11. JoshuaCamerondLB

    JoshuaCamerondLB SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2020
    If the pain in your right arm is benign, it can be alleviated with rest and painkillers. If you have tendonitis, your doctor will prescribe rest for your arm along with anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. If the pain is due to a nerve problem, treating this underlying cause will help to relieve the pain. Finally, if the cause of the pain is a fractured bone in your arm, you will need to have a plaster cast and follow this up with a course of physiotherapy.

    There are also some solutions which offer drug-free relief from certain types of arm pain. This is a key feature of the OMRON HeatTens range of pain relievers — using a combination of soothing heat and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation(TENS), these devices can give you effective relief from joint and muscle pain.
    ___________________________________________________
     

Share This Page