THE DREADED TENDONITIS

A few years ago I waged a 3 month battle with Tendonitis. It started out as a nagging ache in the tendon that joins the thumb to the wrist. I have always believed that 'no pain = no gain' so naturally I ignored this, but sure enough it became steadily worse... I only started to take notice when my picking & fingerstyle started to suffer and the pain increased.

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I went to the local Doc only to be fobbed off with suggestions to "lay-off and take it easy" etc - which are not much good to a fulltime guitar teacher!

Three more visits to different Docs without success and I became desperate. By this time I couldn't lift my thumb very much without inducing agony. The wrist guard that I had found useful no longer helped. Six weeks in and my picking technique was reduced to tatters ( my Sweeping and legato benefited from this grim period though, as the sweep technique was the least painful to perform and the my good hand was on the board, left to its own devices).

It was then that I decided to contact a Chiropractor/acupuncturist (having heard from a Carpel Tunnel Syndrome sufferer) called David Gutteridge (Blackburn, Lancs, England) and it was this man who saved the day. Two session of acupuncture and bone-manipulation etc and my wrist started to improve. A couple more and I was alternate picking again....

I then went back to the local Docs who then agreed to organize me physio to strengthen the tendons up etc. A month of ultrasound & massage later and my wrist was back to normal albeit a little weaker.... David also turned around a drummer friends long-time back problem.

The moral of this story ? Don't ignore the little aches & pains if they persist.... also, try and warm-up the hands a little before you play. Crack the knuckles, shake the hands, roll the fingers etc these all help to keep the numerous bits & pieces in your hands in good shape.

Also see: Health & Safety for Guitarists & other Musicians

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