View Full Version : weird pain

10-28-2002, 05:40 AM
Hello, my name is Ben, I'm 17 and i've been playing guitar for 2 years now. I have a concern which is making me feel uneasy. Recently I started to learn to tremolo pick, and i'm learning to fret a lot faster and pick a lot faster than before. Yet i get little shocks in my right arm, very tiny ones, mostly around my shoulder blade and deltoid. I am wondering if this is a real problem, or if this is just pain associated with "pushing the threshold" of my ability, or getting used to something new. Or possibly are there a couple of twitch nerves that need to be freed up through muscular development. The best way i can describe the pain is like this. When you workout, and you start curling, you get little sharp pains in your elbow joint when you curl heavy dumbells. After I curled for a while, the pain went away and obviously that was just painful because it was new. So is it the same issue here with the guitar, that its just a new movement getting used to, or am i doing something seriously wrong and injurious? If so, how long should i put the guitar down and rest for until its safe to pick it up again, because i don't wanna develop anything chronic or further hurt myself. Thanks a lot


10-28-2002, 05:54 AM
well the rule of thumb that i always use that is if it is dull keep going. But if it is sharp wait awhile and if it is sharp next time wait awhile and repeat.

N.P Ozzy Osbourne Live at the BUdokan :p

10-28-2002, 08:59 AM
Hi Ben,

In my experience most problems arise from the back. I once had serious problems too. To overcome this I analyzed what I was doing with / to my body while playing, actually while practicing (a mirror really helped me with this)

I realized that I slightly lifted my right shoulder while playing. This resulted in a constant tension which limited the blood flow through the right arm, which led to pain in my forearm. Well, I'm not a doctor so I can't describe the how and why.

What I did then was:
- adjusted my practicing position
- daily check of this position until I became used to it (got some decent chair that supported this position)
- daily exercises for the back and shoulders
- I started to include scheduled breaks focusing on 'how does it feel?'

There are many many reasons why something can hurt. One Example: A friend of mine played a Gibson Les Paul. Now this guitar is pretty heavy and he was using a rather thin guitar strap. The strap was limiting his blood flow in his shoulder, which again led to pain.

The moral: examine and analyze what you are doing. Watch yourself and look for solutions if something ' doesn't feel ok'.


10-28-2002, 10:55 PM
yea what he said too

11-15-2002, 04:14 PM
well guys it turned out that i gave myself tendinitis. a tendon in my shoulder was being pinched by two joints moving past each other when i was really tensed up and aggravating my muscles during the tremolo picking. i now know to do it relaxed, and the healing is gonna take a few weeks, but it'll be fine. tendinitis seems to be a common problem for some guitar players. it has to do with the fact that you repeat the same hand movements over and over, which is the same case with some sports as well.

11-15-2002, 05:01 PM
Hey there,

I know what you mean. I used to be way too tense when picking, all cramped up. I later learned how to relax the right hand when picking.
I also warm up a lot, which is something that you should never forget about. Earlier this week, I had some trouble with my left wrist, I guess I didnīt warm up enough the day before...

So... if it ever hurts again, stop. Find the problem, the cause of the pain.
And once again: I agree to what Guni said about sitting. The chair I sit on when I practise is pretty high, almost like a stool. That way, the guitar is pretty much in the same position that it is in when I play live ( standing up ).
And : I always sit on the very edge of the chair. That way, my back automatically is straightened. I used to hunch over the guitar, which wasnīt good.
Get well soon :)

11-15-2002, 10:36 PM
Originally posted by foofighter7447
tendinitis seems to be a common problem for some guitar players Yes, this is a very common problem, not only for guitar players. Search on google for 'PERFORMING ARTS MEDICINE' and you will be amazed how many resources there are out there, even clinics for performers .... This is a topic noone really talks about unless someone is confronted with it.

Here's quite an interesting page outlining the different instrumental injuries: http://www.engr.unl.edu/ee/eeshop/music.html

All the best,


11-17-2002, 12:53 AM
this site is great. thanks a lot i appreciate the help :)

11-17-2002, 10:53 AM
your welcome. Thing is, as mentioned above I know how this feels and I remember only too well when I had problems. Being at Berklee under the pressure of pushing things forward, not being able to practice for weeks.... I felt like a handicapped and was ashamed of having to just sit in the lessons repeating over and over the sentence 'Sorry, can't play - it hurts'. And I also got the impression that noone believed me, until I started to look for people in a similar situation, which wasn't easy, as everybody tries to hide it. But talking to others really helped ....

hehe - felt like a Alcoholics Anonymous Club :-)

Anyway, now I think that it was an important time for me and my playing as I became aware of a lot of things I wouldn't even have thought about b4. Someone's gotta make the best out of this situation.

Enough of my ramblings ....


11-17-2002, 05:08 PM
now that i think about it, it wasn't my tenseness so much that caused the problem , but the fact that i never rested. i would (excited as i was that i could now finally pick super fast) play for four hours nonstop, without taking a single moments rest. i can't believe how stupid that was, had i rested in between i prolly would've never had the problem. oh well, live and learn......the hard way sometimes lol

11-21-2002, 05:12 PM
I've realised I have some pain sometimes. Always on my left shoulder, by the side of the shoulder blade. I get a bit swollen, I talked to my guitar teacher about this and he said that it was either that my shoulder got this from my guitars weight when I was standing or that or unknowingly tensed my shoulder when I was playing, or both. I don't know how to fix this except by working out and strengthen my muscles. This should fix it if it's the guitar itself that puts the weight on my shoulder. I usually get this pain when I'm standing up.

11-22-2002, 12:44 AM
continuing to play when feeling pain is disastrous for musicians. in some activities, pain is often just a symptom of a physical limit about to be pushed even farther, and an endurance thats gonna be enhanced, but in musicians its serious, and it can end careers. i would reccommend taking a rest from the guitar and working out slowly at first, then building up considerable muscle strength, while playing moderately at the guitar. don't overdo it.

feel well