Wrist pain issues.

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Xaeldaren, Jul 30, 2020 at 4:03 AM.

  1. Xaeldaren

    Xaeldaren SS.org Regular

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    Hey everyone, I'm curious how many of you have dealt with wrist pain in relation to playing guitar and if you have any tips for managing it. This has been plaguing me in my left wrist for years. I've been to doctors with it, and I've had x-rays, and I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome or any obvious cause. It seems to be in the realm of repetitive strain injury.

    I recently got laid off, and I was looking forward to spending more time practicing. After about three days of practicing between 2 and 4 hours a day, I've had to stop completely, as my wrist is in agony. It's exacerbated by any slides, stretches, and sweep picking.

    What I'll try right now is limiting practice to two hours a day tops, but I'm not sure what to do long term. Any help with this will be so welcome!
     
  2. Corporial Bodies

    Corporial Bodies SS.org Regular

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    Does your thumb move around alot? Or does it stay in the center of the neck most of the time? If it does try changing your technique to keep your thumb in the center if that makes sense
     
  3. Xaeldaren

    Xaeldaren SS.org Regular

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    I think my thumb does move quite a bit! I'll pay attention next time I have the guitar in my hands and focus on keeping it centered.
     
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  4. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    Yeah ideally your wrist should be parallel with your arm and your fingers should be doing nearly all the work, since that's the position that puts the least strain on the wrist. It should be like someone has duct taped or splinted your wrist and only your fingers can move. The less wrist flexion you have, the better.
     
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  5. Merrekof

    Merrekof SS.org Regular

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    Good tips, I sometimes have similar complaints but that has mainly to do with overstressing my wrist (and a bunch of other body parts) at work. Aging doesn't make it better either. Maybe I should check up on that technique then
     
  6. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    It's mostly likely posture, hand position and technique. Something you need to make a video for so people can assess what the problem is. Also depends on what you are playing, if you are warming up properly, what guitar, are you taking little breaks while playing etc
     
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  7. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    There are basic posture and form corrections one could make by seeing you play, but if you want to treat your specific problem, then I suggest seeing a physio specializing in musicians (if you can find one) or just a regular physio.

    Bring your instrument, play stuff you routinely play and that person will be able to analyse your form.

    They’ll also be able to suggest warmup, stretching and reinforcing exercises (if required) as well as give you a recovery timeline.

    If Covid is an issue, I’m sure you can find physios who can do all this via Skype (all clinics in my area do so).
     
  8. mastapimp

    mastapimp SS.org Regular

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    You could be aggravating an issue that's rooted outside of guitar playing. One time i was playing guitar and had some wrist discomfort that was completely out of the ordinary and i couldn't figure out what was wrong. It took a while to realize, but i had recently been going on long bike rides on an improperly set up bicycle. I was leaning too far forward on the handlebars and causing some strain on the tendons in my wrists. It wasn't really noticeable when riding, but definitely hurt when i'd curl my hand around a guitar neck (right hand picking was unaffected). Fixed the handlebars and haven't had the issue come up again.

    Think about your daily routine outside of playing and see if there's any times you're putting a lot of strain or force on those tendons/areas.

    Good luck!
     
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  9. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    If I have my 8 string sitting too low on my body, my wrist gets a bit swollen and really sore. I move the guitar higher up, and angle the head stock higher up and my wrist calms down.
     
  10. erdiablo666

    erdiablo666 I'm from Canada...and they think I'm slow...eh

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    It's key to control your wrist flexion. I've had a number of issues in the past. Anytime my fretting wrist flares up I wear a brace that restricts flexion and I practice with that. It's extremely uncomfortable because playing guitar will require some flexion of the wrist, but it's a good way to train yourself to minimize it.
     
  11. transyldavianhunger

    transyldavianhunger SS.org Regular

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    There are plenty of actually helpful things advised above, so I’ll throw in my dubious and unpopular opinion: if all else fails, maybe try a lighter set of strings? I only say that because I found some relief in dropping from 11’s and 10’s down to 9’s on my standard 6 string guitars. I even tried 8’s but I think I’ll be going back to 9’s as they are a good balance for me personally. I don’t do a ton of complex lead work, mostly barred chord shapes for more melodic rhythm work, so your playing style may require different considerations.
    Take it with a grain of salt, and your mileage may vary.
     

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