Hey guys, I've been playing guitar for a little over four years now and it's become evident there's a problem with my left wrist. I can safely say it started on a much smaller scale around two years ago when just playing six string barre chords but has mutated into something that makes playing any type of chords for a minute or two really unbearable.

I use light strings, I have taken short breaks from guitar (which have helped for short periods of time), as well as tried using more power from my elbow/shoulder (which helps slightly) but the pain still reappears.

Also, when I shake my wrist I can hear something moving around, which is definitely not good. I'm going to see a doctor, but I would just like to know if anyone can steer me in the right direction with what is wrong with me.

Thank you.
I'm a nurse. Pain is the way that our body uses to tell us "hey, there is something wrong here!", so when you feel pain definitely stop and relax. It could be either a problem with your technique or with your body, so yeah, going to see a doctor is the best you can do.
I started having a similar problem, espeically when I was playing bass. One morning I woke up, and my wrist felt like it had been sprained. I realized I could play guitar and bass just fine on the frets below 3, but anything above the third fret was painful, especially chord shapes.

I couldn't simply tell the band that I could not practice, so I decided to push through it. I took some advice from a friend and bought a wrist support strap from the dollar store. I found that playing with the wrist strap made things considerably more comfortable, and even now after my wrist has healed i perfer to wear it when I play. For some reason, having the slight tightness around my wrist helps out a whole lot.

Above all listen to your doctor, but I hope this helps.
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Yeah the thing with barre chords is your wrist should NEVER hurt. The only thing that should hurt (for a while at least) is the muscle between your thumb and your index.

If your wrist hurts, it's because of bad technique. At this point though, the damage is done and you should probably see a doctor.

Good luck.
G(g)od was like: "Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch."

And i was like: "What's gopher wood?"
My first recommendation would be to stop playing immediately, until you resolve the issue. As soon as you have pain it is possible to cause serious, long term issues that you may have to deal with for years to come.

Assuming you aren't doing this already, you might want to pay for a few lessons with an accomplished guitarist, asking them to work with you on technique exclusively. I had similar wrist pain problems when starting out on bass. I paid for three lessons, found out that my technique was causing the pain and was taught a proper way to fret.

I had to take a break for a couple weeks, but when I came back and played with good technique the pain was gone. I haven't dealt with pain issues ever since.
Last edited by XylemBassGuitar at Sep 4, 2011,