View Full Version : My hand hurts!

06-17-2003, 08:53 AM

Whenever I practise stretches or speed my left hand cramps up and starts to hurt somewhere in the middle of the palm. The muscle (or the flesh o' the palm) hurts for a few days afterwards. It's been like this for years, and the only thing I've come up with is to play less 'straineous' (is that a word? ;) ) , which means that my physical playing abilities don't really improve much. I'm a big fan of playing relaxed (and try to always start slow and warm up to it), but sometimes i need that extra stretch to move forward. Unfortunately I have to restrain myself not to do that, and that's pretty frustrating.

I live in Sweden, where our taxes (highest in the world, so they say) cover medical care. I've been to the doctor's some time with this kind of minor injury, so I know that the chances of receiving medical treatment for this thing is nil. So I wonder if any of you guys out there have any tips for me and my poor hand.

/Stefan (a.k.a. Cuno)

06-17-2003, 01:20 PM
I used to have trouble with tendonitis. I tried many cures, and each of them had different degrees of effect. The most effective were 1. an anti-inflammatory diet, and 2. some changes to my technique.

Anti-inflammatory diet - lots of vegies (organic where possible), less meat (I'm vegetarian now), less of foods like chocolate and yoghurt. I think that was it - it took some experimentation to find out how extremely into the diet I wanted to get (the above diet is my simplified version). I also took flax seed oil, and I took cod liver oil before I turned veggie. I found that I preferred eating that way anyway, so I more or less still adhere to the diet.

Technique-wise, I always took my time to warm up, ensuring that there was nothing but relaxation in my body. I also spent some time training my muscles to play as lightly as possible. I adopted the classical left hand posture. I made sure to refrain from stretching further than four frets (I do occasionally now, but this method has its more positives than just reduced hand strain). If it hurt at all, I would stop playing. I would stretch the muscles and tendons after warming up.

Thats all that comes to mind.

Good luck,


06-17-2003, 03:03 PM
The web site, "Musicians Health" has alot of info. It's worth checking out...


06-17-2003, 06:03 PM
Go Sweden!! :D

Keep in mind that your hands are full of muscles that need training just like the rest of the body (mostly). Would you jog on the spot and suddenly dive into a split Bruce Lee style? Not if you plan on having kids... The same goes for the fingers, you have to gradually work your way to those stretches. When doing different stretches higher up on the neck (I recommend the classical sitting position), move down a couple of frets after a week or two, so the finger have time to adjust. Remember to stay relaxed in your whole body, not just the hands/arms, but the abdomen, legs etc. If your feet starts to tense up, it's only a matter of time before that tension spreads to the hands.

There are some good articles on this site about different stretches, so do a search on this site and check them out.

Hope this helps...

08-17-2003, 11:45 AM
I never did say proper thanks. Thank for your replies! That musicians health site was especially informative. You really helped me gain both understanding to my own illnes, and the 'comfort' that its nothing permanent or uncommon.

Just a short update: Since this heightened awareness (:)), i always strech before even touching my guitar, and that really helps. So easy...but, ive nailed down the source of pain now, and it aint the guitar playing, its the coding. I work as a programmer, and all that keytyping strains my left hand. Bummer, i need the money ;) Im looking into other jobs now, not just for the hand thing, but also since working with computers like that is mind-exhausting and generally unhealthy work. I once was industry electrician, i think ill go back there :)

Thanks again guys!

08-17-2003, 04:46 PM
Ice it Cuno Ice it!

08-18-2003, 06:28 AM
Originally posted by Koala
Ice it Cuno Ice it!
LOL! ok ok, i'll ice it. Just for you ;)

08-18-2003, 11:05 AM