So, you’ve finally decided: 2017 is the year you learn to play guitar! But before you attempt Free Bird and subsequently give up on learning guitar after 5 minutes, you should know about a little something called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – and how to prevent it.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is located along the wrist where the palm and forearm connect. The tunnel houses the transverse carpal ligament, bones, and tendons. Carpal tunnel syndrome arises when pressure is applied, which reduces space in the tunnel. This results in a pinched nerve, hand pain, and numbness.
There are certain steps you can take to help avoid it, though – for guitar players especially. These steps include:
- Stretching. Rest your hands for a few seconds. If they are feeling particularly stiff, try stretching your fingers back toward your wrist.
- Resting. Professional musicians will tell you that practicing 8 hours in a row is not required to be great – in fact, it can hinder your performance. Constant flexing of the wrist can create strain and pain. So take breaks every hour, and when you do, relax your wrist.
- Eating turmeric. Well, not by itself (unless you want to? We won’t judge). Tumeric is widely known to be a superfood high in anti-inflammatory properties that reduce that risk for arthritis, stiffness, and pain.
- Practicing “fluidity.” Fluid hand and wrist motions when playing guitar is an acquired skill that gets easier with practice. An easy way to accomplish this is to focus on what not to do – namely, flexing in between notes. Each time you lift your hand to strum, loosen your wrist!
- Keeping a regular schedule. Not only will regular playing (a golden rule is 30 minutes a day) keep your fingers adapted to the stress of motion, but you won’t have to cram by practicing 3 hours in a row (which can equal major pain!).
For information about carpal tunnel, contact any of the Healthpointe clinics, such as the Anaheim clinic near Fullerton, Placentia, Villa Park, Buena Park, Cypress, Cerritos, and Garden Grove, or call 888-719-8448.
Healthpointe offers services throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County) including La Mirada by Whittier, La Habra, Norwalk, Cerritos, Buena Park, and Santa Fe Springs. We are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, and athletes. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit Healthpointe.net.