#1
Hello,

I am 18 years old. I have been playing guitar for 6 years. I am male.

In the past month, I have developed a very noticeable pain in my left thumb. My left thumb feels weak, and it hurts especially when I play guitar.

I took a 5 day break from playing guitar and when I started again the pain had not diminished at all.

I am worried.

Music is my passion, and guitar is my love. I've spent so much time playing and learning the guitar, and now I am entering a crisis! Will I have to give up the guitar?? This is my nightmare..

I wish my thumb would just heal and I could play like I used to. Will my thumb heal? What can I do in this situation?? Should I see a doctor?
#4
Well, some semi-educated guesses would be: Cartilage damage, tendonitis, a bone spur.

None of these will cure themselves in a few days, and a bone spur is likely a surgical issue.

One thing is certain, nobody in UG will be able to talk the issue away. In fact, we're not really allowed to try.

So, get on that horse named, "Obama Care", and gallop to a doctor, ASAP.

One point, sometimes our bodies aren't up to the task of making us a famous as we'd hope to be. Some people can play for hours and hours a day, for others one or two is too many.

I will say that how well your guitar is setup, and the gauge of the strings can be an aggravating factor.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 16, 2013,
#5
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, some semi-educated guesses would be: Cartilage damage, tendonitis, a bone spur.

None of these will cure themselves in a few days, and a bone spur is likely a surgical issue.

One thing is certain, nobody in UG will be able to talk the issue away. In fact, we're not really allowed to try.

So, get on that horse named, "Obama Care", and gallop to a doctor, ASAP.

One point, sometimes our bodies aren't up to the task of making us a famous as we'd hope to be. Some people can play for hours and hours a day, for others one or two is too many.

I will say that how well your guitar is setup, and the gauge of the strings can be an aggravating factor.



thanks for the response. I will make an appointment with a doctor on Monday.

I am taking a break from guitar and hopefully I can heal naturally. my fingers are crossed.

The difficult thing will be finding other things to occupy my time.

In a certain sense, I feel it is a blessing in disguise. Now I can search for another activity that will also bring me enjoyment..
#6
You're quite welcome.

Sometimes things like this happen. It should be a learning experience. You're young, and I'm sure you'll bounce back. It may not be as fast as you like. Next time, I'm sure you'll get out ahead of the issue, and know when to ease up.

Best of luck.

Edit: Try and find and instructor to help you take stock of your posture, hand position, guitar height, etc. Eliminate any possibility of pilot "error", before you move on.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 16, 2013,
#7
You could use this enforced break to work on the aspects of playing the guitar that don't actually require a guitar - things like theory and ear training if your skills are lacking in those departments.
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#8
I´m guessing your over doing it...playing to long, pressing to hard and probably not stretching after....inflammations take about 3 weeks to subside so your going to need some patience. I´m guessing you may also be a sloucher...you need to sit straight and work on posture and have a look at how your holding your guitar....do not over extend/bend your wrist or elbow.

At your age I find it hard to Believe you´d be suffering from carpal, bone spurs or atros but basically you either have just tired out one of the tendants around your thumb which have led to an inflamation or you have a pinched nerve somewhere. Basically your built like a marionette, nerves goe via your neck, round your shoulder, across your elbow through your wrist and finally out to your thumb, this is why correct posture is really important when it comes to doing monotonal movements like guitar playing....

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0115/p147.html

why I know this.....cause 6 months ago I basically loss 75% strength in both of my hands due to a pinched nerve in my neck because of damage to one of the discs in C4-5....it all started by having problems with what I call "thumb-gripping"

try some anti-inflamatory cream (something with diklofenak in it) and switching between hot and Cold packs on the affected area....mabye even neck, shoulder and elbow if your having any pains there too.

I would also recommend contacting a physician because "internet-diagnoses" are not really that reliable

....and remember don´t go haywire thinking you´ll have the same issues like me....I´m 37 and continued going to work where I lift around 150-200kg of ingredients in 5-10kg packets about 5-6 times ....just in the morning. I was dumb and hoped this would go over on it´s own and just worsened the whole situation.
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#9
...and have a look at the diagrams on the link I posted......have a look where your guitar strap goes over your shoulder and compare it too that.....If you´ve recently started standing and playing more than uaual you might just need too look into a thicker strap that will dispurs the weight of your guitar across the length of your shoulder.....and mabye even adjust your guitar height leaving you with a better way too position your wrist/elbow
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#10
and just so you didn´t miss this part..


GO SEE A PHYSICIAN!!!!!.....internet diagnoses aren´t that reliable!!!!!
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#11
i saw my doctor and she recommended I wear a wrist splint and avoid using my left arm entirely.

based on how I am feeling id guess it could be anywhere between 2 and 6 months before I recover.

I really was wearing down my arm by playing too long.
#12
Quote by Blackst4r
I´m guessing your over doing it...playing to long, pressing to hard and probably not stretching after....inflammations take about 3 weeks to subside so your going to need some patience. I´m guessing you may also be a sloucher...you need to sit straight and work on posture and have a look at how your holding your guitar....do not over extend/bend your wrist or elbow.


yes I think I was overdoing it a bit, I was playing for like over 3 hours a day

these are all great tips that I will use, thank you.


Quote by Blackst4r


At your age I find it hard to Believe you´d be suffering from carpal, bone spurs or atros but basically you either have just tired out one of the tendants around your thumb which have led to an inflamation or you have a pinched nerve somewhere. Basically your built like a marionette, nerves goe via your neck, round your shoulder, across your elbow through your wrist and finally out to your thumb, this is why correct posture is really important when it comes to doing monotonal movements like guitar playing....

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0115/p147.html

why I know this.....cause 6 months ago I basically loss 75% strength in both of my hands due to a pinched nerve in my neck because of damage to one of the discs in C4-5....it all started by having problems with what I call "thumb-gripping"

try some anti-inflamatory cream (something with diklofenak in it) and switching between hot and Cold packs on the affected area....mabye even neck, shoulder and elbow if your having any pains there too.

I would also recommend contacting a physician because "internet-diagnoses" are not really that reliable

....and remember don´t go haywire thinking you´ll have the same issues like me....I´m 37 and continued going to work where I lift around 150-200kg of ingredients in 5-10kg packets about 5-6 times ....just in the morning. I was dumb and hoped this would go over on it´s own and just worsened the whole situation.


im sorry to hear that you are having wrist problems too. hopefully both of us will heal!

in the meantime: im going to take up a bassfishing hobby
#13
Quote by Panteraboner
yes I think I was overdoing it a bit, I was playing for like over 3 hours a day


Doesn't matter if you do it right; for at least a year at one point I was playing for well in excess of 8 hours a day, every day.
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#14
Fingers crossed, you'll be okay in time. Literally countless musicians experience problems like this - some of the best teachers I've ever had have in the past had seriously bad problems which they have since overcome. Regular resting, icing and contrast bathing of the whole lower arm are all good ways to keep monitoring the state of your hands.

Once things improve, still be conscious of all this - never ignore pain, and though long periods of playing and practice are fine, don't spend all that time on advanced physical technique like shredding. Also make sure you're warmed up before practicing, especially in these winter months.

Best of luck mate, hope you're back in the saddle asap!
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