Healing Hands Therapy

Guitarist tendonitis – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Instrumentalists, due to what their work requires of them, i.e., monotonous movements of wrists, fingers, and arms are prone to certain physical problems. And if adequate preventive measures are not taken, those physical problems can worsen and will ultimately become a hindrance in playing their instrument. 

Guitarist tendonitis is one such physical problem in which guitarists can feel pain in their joints to the extent that sometimes they find themselves unable to play. It is scary but there are symptoms, treatments, and preventions that you can practice to avoid such issues. In this article, we are going to cover all of these. 

Guitarist tendonitis; Definition, Symptoms, Treatment and More

Tendons are the structures that connect muscle to bone in our body. They are stronger and less elastic than a muscle. 

While tendonitis is described by medical specialists as simply the inflammation of tendons, it is much more than that. Inflammation is not the problem itself, instead, it’s only a symptom of the problem, thanks to which we get to know about it. The real cause is tissue damage, due to which your cells start to degenerate, resulting in inflammation of tendons. 

It must have sounded like something that should not happen to you if you are a guitarist, right? Especially if music is your life. If this is the case, we’d suggest you read on, as now we’re going, to begin with mentioning symptoms, after that we’ll move towards treatment, such as hand therapy for musicians, and then we’ll mention preventive measures. 

So, stay tuned!

Symptoms of Guitarist tendonitis 

Pain is the first symptom of guitarist tendonitis. But the intensity of that pain matters as well. A little twitch or mild pain is perhaps not a sign of any trouble. But if there is sharp, intense pain, that increases with movement accompanied by some other symptom such as swelling, and it does not go away for a long time, then definitely one needs to see the doctor. 

Other major symptoms of guitarist tendonitis include a burning sensation and redness in the affected area. There may sometimes be a cracking sensation upon moving the joint and there may at times appear a lump near the affected tendon which is a sign of serious damage. Stiffness is also one of the symptoms.  

Treatment of Guitarist tendonitis 

Usually, doctors tend to treat guitarist tendonitis as they would just any other inflammation problem. Such as they would ask you to regularly do the icing of the area, perhaps suggest you some anti-inflammatory drugs or ask you to apply topical creams. 

Well, using these methods to treat your tendonitis may reduce the pain temporarily, but in the long term, it will result in more damage. Hence research shows that if you try to deal with your pain with drugs, inflammation is guaranteed to return later. Moreover, it has also been proved that some anti-inflammatory drugs can make your tendons less elastic and even make them up to 33% weaker. This can lead to chronic illness. 

You’d ask, then how to treat guitarist tendonitis. So, we have enlisted some of the things that can help you in your healing process:

  • The first step to curing your tendonitis is to reduce the movement of the affected joint and relax it as much as you can to improve the blood flow in shortened, thickened tendons. 
  • Especially avoid repetitive movements. It is therefore suggested that if you are suffering from guitarist tendonitis or any other kind of it, stop playing your instrument altogether for some time. 
  • Your body needs to gain its strength back. Therefore, you are suggested to take nutrition-rich food. While suffering from physical conditions like tendonitis, you are advised to increase your intake of supplements with collagen, vitamin C, and Omega 3 as well to aid tissue regeneration and to reduce inflammation naturally.
  • Physical or occupational therapy can also help in this regard. So, if you want your tendonitis to go away for good so that you can practice playing your guitar for hours again, you might look into seeking professional therapy for musicians

Prevention From Guitarist Tendonitis 

To most instrumentalists, tendonitis is something really scary. The same goes for guitarists. So if you are a new guitarist and never want to suffer from it, or an old one who’s already been there so doesn’t want to cross paths with tendonitis again, the tips given below will be extremely helpful for you:

  • Keeping a good posture is important to prevent your body from breaking down in the long run. While playing the instrument, you are advised to avoid slouching as much as you can. Sit upright and don’t bend your back too much. Also, don’t lean your elbow on your thigh. It’s an unnatural position that can inflict damage. Just sit relaxed!
  • Warm up  well before you start playing. Begin with something slow and allow your blood flow to get stronger in that area since optimal blood flow is the key to prevention from injury. Don’t jump on something hard and fast immediately. 
  • Keeping your body healthy through diet and exercise is as important in preventing the injury from happening as it is in healing from it. Therefore, keep your muscles and joints stronger by exercising regularly and eating nutrition-rich food. Physical therapy for musicians is also one of the preventive measures.

Final Thoughts 

Good habits are hard to develop, but once you have them, the quality of your life improves to a great extent. To deal with physical problems like guitarist tendonitis, it’s better to consult a therapist, such as an occupational therapist, who can accompany and guide you on your journey of healing. And while we’re on the subject, it’s better to suggest someone really good at things like occupational therapy to save you from the hassle of looking here and there. 

Heather from Healing Hands Therapy Center is a certified, expert occupational therapist who’d relieve you from your pain without making you rely on drugs. Check out the website and book a consultation with her now!




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