#1
 Hi. Recently, I got myself a Gibson Tribute, which has narrower and  smaller frets than my other guitars, especially my tele. It was sort of  imapiring my ability to play fast, I was using more force against the  fretboard. So I decided that I should get used to it. I started to play  more than I was used to, but it wasn't helping. First my pinky would start trembling for some  minutes after practicing, then it got harder and harder to play fast...  Then one day I ended up going past the  point of muscle stress, but still I kept playing until my left  hand got weak  and soft, as if I had lifted weights with it, so I was forced to stop.  Next day, my hand woke up feeling stiff. Then I took a break... After one week without playing, I  picked it up for half an hour, did some stretches before and started to  play whatever, just to check if I had improved... my hand was still in pain and fatigue - especially the back of the hand and thumb.. I went to see a  doctor, but  the ultrassound showed  NO damage to the tendons, so he  discarded tendonitis and suggested that I took a break for a couple more  weeks. So I did, I rested almost completely for another week. The thing  is, now, after almost 2 weeks without playing, whenever I play for more than 20 minutes, my hands get really  tired, really fatigued, to the point I have to stop playing - it's  really frustrating. There's little pain in my thumb basis, but it's mostly fatigue. I've been playing blues only, nothing like rock as I've always done. This happens specially  on faster scales, SRV style (I'm ok with bending). Anyways, how longer  should I stay away from the guitar? Is there anything else I could do?  Has it happened to anyone of you? I really need some advice.                  
Last edited by mucky.fingers at May 23, 2017,
#2
 I was using more force against the fretboard.

Stop doing that. You never have to play hard, tight, or tense and you shouldn't.

Other things you should check:

- thumb behind the neck, not over the top edge
- only fingers and thumb touching the neck, not the hand
- wrist straight
- guitar slung high and positioned to your left
- neck positioned upward
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#4
Quote by mucky.fingers
I'll check those things. Any solutions for fast healing?

Rest, same as always.
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#5
Thanks! I've heard some people saying that stretching might be a good idea during the recovery process, but I'm not so sure. What do you guys think?
Last edited by mucky.fingers at May 23, 2017,
#6
Stretching and massage. Where is the fatigue? The muscles in the arm control the fingers, so the only muscle fatigue in the hand is really the thumb muscle and the muscle that runs down the opposite side and attaches to the pinky (see here). Loss of hand strength in the fingers can often be due to pinched nerves rather than muscle fatigue. CTS, for example, can result in loss of strength and muscle deterioration.

You might be better seeking advice from a physiotherapist rather than a doctor.

For now, I would also be stretching and massaging the forearm and perhaps doing some nerve flossing. But I would definitely look to get some expert advice.
#7
Man, I was trying to avoid the word carpal tunnel.... ugh! I'd better see the physio....  or a neurologist maybe?
Althought I only feel weakness while playing, really... the other symptoms related to CTS aren't there - which include numbness and tingling. But it could be something related to nerve compression, 'cause I also had bad posture. Thanks for the advices, people, and keep posting, please! Any help is welcome!
Last edited by mucky.fingers at May 23, 2017,
#8
Quote by mucky.fingers
Man, I was trying to avoid the word carpal tunnel.... ugh! I'd better see the physio....  or a neurologist maybe?
Althought I only feel weakness while playing, really... the other symptoms related to CTS aren't there - which include numbness and tingling. But it could be something related to nerve compression, 'cause I also had bad posture. Thanks for the advices, people, and keep posting, please! Any help is welcome!

Yeah, I highly doubt you have CTS. CTS takes quite a while to develop normally, but then I don't know how much pain you were playing through. The lack of tingling suggests to me that you don't have it. I would agree that it's more likely nerve compression. This is why massage and stretching the forearm will help, along with nerve flossing. You've probably built up a lot of residual tension in the arm that is refusing to go away (damn muscle memory).

You really need to probably go to the physio and they can advise you from there. I doubt you'll need a neurologist unless you'd done some serious damage - and you'd know cus it'd hurt like hell.
#9
gweddle.nz 
Quote by gweddle.nz
Yeah, I highly doubt you have CTS. CTS takes quite a while to develop normally, but then I don't know how much pain you were playing through. The lack of tingling suggests to me that you don't have it. I would agree that it's more likely nerve compression. This is why massage and stretching the forearm will help, along with nerve flossing. You've probably built up a lot of residual tension in the arm that is refusing to go away (damn muscle memory).

You really need to probably go to the physio and they can advise you from there. I doubt you'll need a neurologist unless you'd done some serious damage - and you'd know cus it'd hurt like hell.

No, it really doesn't hurt that much. It's more like pure fatigue. My thumb hurts eventually, but it's a mild pain, nothing really bad. One thing I've noticed, I tried the nerve floss video, but I couldn't go past the second exercise, not because of pain, but because my left hand felt extremely weak and trembly, as if I had already done 10 movements, but I only did three. I was able to do it with the right hand without problems. I'll see a physiotherapist! You've been extremely helpful, gweddle!
#10
Quote by mucky.fingers
gweddle.nz 

No, it really doesn't hurt that much. It's more like pure fatigue. My thumb hurts eventually, but it's a mild pain, nothing really bad. One thing I've noticed, I tried the nerve floss video, but I couldn't go past the second exercise, not because of pain, but because my left hand felt extremely weak and trembly, as if I had already done 10 movements, but I only did three. I was able to do it with the right hand without problems. I'll see a physiotherapist! You've been extremely helpful, gweddle!


Hmm, sounds like something to do with the nerves to me. Not getting the full signal = poor strength. But I'm certainly no expert. Best of luck.
#11
Is this happening while standing or sitting?  My first recommendation would be to try a different height of strap - try lower and try higher - I lowered my strap after having hand issues and it really helped a lot, my hand doesn't lock up while gigging anymore. 

If it's happening while sitting, try playing in the classical position - that's the best position to ease hand tension. 

The other suggestion would be to get rid of the guitar altogether - buy a guitar with a good neck for your grip and technique  - check out Musicman's.  I played an Epiphone  335 the other day and it was like playing a log with strings compared to my Musicman Silhouette Special - definitely a different world that would require a ton of practice to adapt.   I could never switch over to that type of guitar with my style of playing.    


 
#12
Quote by reverb66
Is this happening while standing or sitting?  My first recommendation would be to try a different height of strap - try lower and try higher - I lowered my strap after having hand issues and it really helped a lot, my hand doesn't lock up while gigging anymore. 
  
It happens both ways, but I play mostly sitting...

 
#13
Bad posture will definitely contributing to restricted circulation, which would cause the pain more than how much you play. Not saying to not take a break, just maybe look at your positioning.
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#14
SanDune65 Yeah, you're absolutely right. Should have checked my posture. It was pretty bad. Now I'll have to make it up for the damage, but I'll keep that in mind.