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  #1  
Old 11-13-2019, 03:29 AM
mikev0882 mikev0882 is offline
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Default How can I tell if I知 building muscle memory or doing damage and headed for carpal

Tunnel?

Today my guitar teacher warned me about this.

He said when he was my age [37] he developed really bad carpal tunnel from doing too many Barr chords.

How can I tell a 蘇ealthy muscle build vs. doing something harmful to my hand/wrist/arm?

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2019, 04:00 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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One drunken night, a couple of friends and I examined what musical instruments didn't potentially damage the human body. we couldn't think of one.

Playing guitar isn't a natural function of our arms and hands, but we will do it anyway.

I suggest that you take advice about posture, and whenever your hands, wrists or wherever start to hurt, stop and examine how you might obviate it.

On barre chords - remember that basic major and minor chords shapes duplicate up to three notes - consider playing just the three important ones.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:13 AM
JonnyBGood JonnyBGood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikev0882 View Post
Tunnel?

Today my guitar teacher warned me about this.

He said when he was my age [37] he developed really bad carpal tunnel from doing too many Barr chords.

How can I tell a 蘇ealthy muscle build vs. doing something harmful to my hand/wrist/arm?

Any suggestions?
I suggest you ask your teacher, given that he raised the issue and you are paying him for this advice.

What was the context of the warning? Did he explain/demonstrate poor technique or habits that could lead to such an injury?
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:21 AM
Lee Callicutt Lee Callicutt is offline
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Knock on wood, I could develop Carpal tunnel syndrome any day now, but the reality is that I'm 67 and I've earned my living for most of my adult life (and still) working with my hands involving repetitive motions, and other than a little bit of trigger finger in my fretting pinky I'm fine.

My wife, on the other hand, is facing Carpal tunnel surgery next month. The amount of repetitive hand work and wrist over extension she has endured over her working life is minimal compared to my own.

My takeaway is that our own personal anatomies and health conditions have far more to do with our propensity to develop the syndrome than a single aggravating factor like fretting a guitar.

Of course I am not a physician, so by all means research the condition for yourself, and go to a doctor if you experience any symptoms. Otherwise, build your muscle memory with confidence.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:37 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Exercise and warm up your hands and muscles properly before you start practise. You won't find an athlete running a 100 yard sprint and risking injury without warming up first, and our hands are no different in that regard.

https://www.guitarplayer.com/techniq...ay-even-better
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:54 AM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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I started a thread a while ago about guitar related workouts and stretches. Not sure why it got moved to open mic, but there may be some useful stuff in it for you:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...79#post6210379
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:11 AM
FLRon FLRon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikev0882 View Post
Tunnel?

Today my guitar teacher warned me about this.

He said when he was my age [37] he developed really bad carpal tunnel from doing too many Barr chords.

How can I tell a 蘇ealthy muscle build vs. doing something harmful to my hand/wrist/arm?

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
I spent several years performing ergonomic analysis of production processes in the automotive industry. In assembly line workers especially, because of the repetitive nature of the work, I would see several primary symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, with numbness and tingling sensation in the hands,wrists,and fingers being the most common. Also keep an eye out for swelling. See a Dr. sooner rather than later.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:34 AM
Tony Burns Tony Burns is offline
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Your best defense may be to check your action and see if you need to lower it .
a set up is not that exspensive and easier on the hands.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:22 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewG View Post
Exercise and warm up your hands and muscles properly before you start practise. You won't find an athlete running a 100 yard sprint and risking injury without warming up first, and our hands are no different in that regard.

https://www.guitarplayer.com/techniq...ay-even-better
Thanks for re-posting this. It doesn't belong in open mic as far as I am concerned. Maybe Play and Write or just leave it in the general acoustic discussion. It is an important topic that comes up regularly here.

Best,
Jayne
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:15 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Pain that doesn't go away soon after you stop playing is generally an indication of a level of stress or damage that your body is unable to mitigate. But even this can be repaired by taking immediate action to rest/repair.

Things like carpal issues develop after hundreds or thousands of these little injuries. It is far too easy to ignore these until they add up to a chronic problem.

If you feel pain when you're not playing, this is a red flag for an injury that is already developing and that will only become worse without corrective action.

The advice to warm up is essential. I would suggest you consider a quick cool down as well, especially after a strenuous practice session.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:42 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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A good guitar setup really saves your hands.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:45 PM
foxo foxo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
One drunken night, a couple of friends and I examined what musical instruments didn't potentially damage the human body. we couldn't think of one.
Triangle?

I suppose you could poke yourself in the eye with the stick.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:13 PM
JERZEY JERZEY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikev0882 View Post
Tunnel?

Today my guitar teacher warned me about this.

He said when he was my age [37] he developed really bad carpal tunnel from doing too many Barr chords.

How can I tell a 蘇ealthy muscle build vs. doing something harmful to my hand/wrist/arm?

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
You are born with a narrow passage you dont "get" it. If you do any physical activity you will likely know by know if you have the condition. Its not uncommon to feel pain when playing. Chronic pain is a red flag. Stretches and all that are great but people with CT dont heal like everyone else. You may need more time to recover.
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2019, 01:18 PM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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I think for the most part your body does a good job telling you when you池e overdoing it. If you start to feel soreness, stop. Carpal tunnel isn稚 the only potential problem. You can get a repetitive stress soft tissue injury in your fingers, and they can take quite a long time to heal.

Stretch your hands and fingers before playing and listen to your body.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:49 PM
Laughingboy68 Laughingboy68 is offline
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The carpal tunnel is the structure that the tendons on the flexor side of your forearm pass through. Only one nerve passes through the carpal tunnel along with the flexor tendons - the median nerve. If the anatomy of the carpal tunnel is too small and if the tendons become scarred or inflamed the space may not be enough and the nerve can become compressed. The pain and numbness (and in the worst cases muscle atrophy) that results affects the thumb, index and middle digits along with half of the ring finger. In my experience, other factors can also influence symptoms. Irritation, facilitation or compression of the median nerve anywhere along it痴 course can contribute as well as dysfunction in the mechanical structures of the neck, rotator cuff, forearm and wrist. Many simpler problems can mimic some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomics, posture, warm-up, set-up of the instrument, stretches and exercises can all help to mitigate the risk of developing problems. See a professional for help.

I致e played for 40 years. I have had occasional median nerve symptoms, but have always managed to solve them without surgery. Advances in the surgical techniques have made recovery much more straightforward than it used to be - if and when it ever comes to that.
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