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Gilliangirl

Arthritis.......

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I don't know for sure if that's what my problem is, but both my hands hurt some days and feel puffy. My heart and soul are both willing, but the hands are not participating in the program! I'm working on No One Needs To Know Right Now by Shania Twain, lotsa barre chords. It's taking me forever to learn because I seem to be losing strength in my hands, regardless of how much practicing I do. It's frustrating, to say the least.

 

Anyone else have this issue?

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Yes, others of us have the same experience. Some mornings I wake and my left hand is so swollen I can barely make a fist. But @ 63 yrs. young I've been lucky so far. I take Glucosamine/Condroiton daily and Aleve when the aches are strong. Sorry to hear you're experiencing this at such a young age. I started back into guitar with my 1963 Gibson B 45 12 N and after a short time had to put it down because I felt so inept compared to what I used to play like when I was younger. Then I found Tony Melendez. He was born with no arms and plays with his feet. Since then, I've plowed forward and now am now laying it down with a smile on my face and a grateful heart. Look him up. He'll be an inspiration on any of your down days. There is always a way. I figure if things get real bad, I'll have to buy a Dobro and play bottle slide. Hang in there and believe.

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Very sorry to hear that GG ! Im sure you will get a lot of good advice here from other folks who experienced this problem. I have not had it (yet) so cant recommend medicine but I was thinking perhaps try silk & steel strings as they are easy on the fingers. In particualr when you are learing a new song like this one with a lot of barre chords. Once you have it down you can switch or try out on one of the guitars strung with steel strings.

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Good luck and worry ye not....

 

A bit of internet research and self evaluation can be of help

 

As well as a visit to the doctor

 

As mentioned, some dietary considerations are valid...Omega 3 oils are the buzz thing nowadays

 

A balanced practice regime with a warm up and good posture is essential

 

I use light strings on acoustic and electric...10's and 9's....

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Methylsulfonylmethane is a very good dietary supplement. Street name MSM, horse trainers secret ingredient for years. Helps connective tissues and your joints.

 

I have taken MSM for many years now. When I take it I do not have the joint aches and pains like I do without it. I also noticed that it helped my Hay Fever in the summer time.

 

Try this and see if it does not help you out.

 

Gill

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GG, Like some of the other old farts on here, my hands sometimes hurt. When we were all kids, it never mattered what we ate or what we did, we could STILL play all night long....now....not so much!

 

I take aspirin, when needed, and try not to eat real bad stuff.

 

For the most part, I can still play for long periods of time, but I can DEFINITELY feel it at times.

 

I've talked about my friend David. He's my age, (62), and has diabetes, (self-inflicted).

 

He's now totally blind. I asked him if he missed his sight. He said, yes...but not nearly as much as he misses being able to play guitar.

 

Puts it in perspective for me..... I can play with a little pain.

 

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Yes, I have flexibility troubles that vary from day to day, month to month. I chalk it up to the slow aging of the machinery, and certainly different machines age at different rates and in different ways. I traded away my big ol' J200 Western Classic to get away from the long scale that was giving me more and more trouble as the years rolled by. That was a tough decision to make but it was the best thing to do if I wished to continue to play guitar. Just like we can't climb trees or play tackle football in the street anymore, the list of what's still possible gets shorter as we get older. It's just part of being mortal and, try as we might, we can't change that.

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Yeah, mostly pain in my arms and fingers, but not when I'm playing.

 

I take glucosamine and A-535 on a daily basis and it helps making things more bearable for me.

 

I use light strings (.011).

 

Hope this won't get too bad and make you stop playing though [sad]

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Yup - one of those I knew if I stuck around long enough something like this would happen things.

 

What I have done to deal with it is to adjust my style of playing. The way I see it - playing style is a combination of both skills and limitations and my fingers not being able to do what they once did is just another limitation to add to the already sizeable pile. Certainly the old saying that the notes you don't play are as important as the ones you do comes into play. But on the other side of the coin, while it sounds strange - sometimes it helps to actually add a note. I ended up doing this as example with a partcular run in Blind Boy Fuller's "Truckin' My Blues Away" that started giving me alot of grief. I found that adding just one note while making me play it a bit faster also made it easier. I am guessing it had something to do with hand position.

 

If it gets to the point all else fails me, I figure I will switch over to bottleneck.

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Like many others on this forum of a certain age (64 in my case), my hands don't work as well as they used to. It gets increasingly hard to maintain adequate pressure for many barre chords, in particular, and I lack the finger dexterity I used to have. I gave up on glucosamine--it works for some, but not everyone--but do take a fish oil supplement. When things hurt too much--including my hands--I rely on "vitamin I"--ibuprofen (generic Advil).

 

I do hand-stretching exercises, and hand strengthening exercises using a foam ball about the size of a tennis ball. There are plenty of these exercises on the internet if you do searches under "hand exercises for guitar players" or something similar. I also do 10 minutes of scales up and down the neck as a warm-up before every practice session, which helps free my fingers a bit.

 

All these things help, but the simple fact is that it doesn't get easier as you get older. Since I only play for myself now, it doesn't really matter that I can't do things I used to do routinely, but it can be frustrating.

 

On the plus side, I can still make music, and enjoy that as much as ever.

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Karen ,

 

Like I've stated before I'm in my 20's but I wanted to comment here because GreatWhite mentioned TONY MELENDEZ .

that guy is just so cool he can play very very well . But I also know that that he mostly sings songs as praise to God.

so I don't know if you are a believer or not but I'd say maybe praying for health in your hands will do some good too

 

take care . God can be the most efective medicine :D

 

check Tony out :

 

 

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At 63, I have mild arthritis in both hands. Alieve works well for me, but it's not a long term fix. To make matters worse I had bone graft in my right thumb. Fortunately I'm right handed so all I have to worry about is hold a pick with that thumb. I had my Gibson and Martin both set up with the absolute lowest action I could. Also I use 12-53 strings. I've tried lighter gauge strings but they rattle. Just get the lowest action set up that you can.

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There are a couple things that I would try. Ice baths for your hand at night before you go to bed at night. Water in the sink cold and add ice and put your hand in for as long as you can stand. Your hands will be much happier in the morning. Topical versions of ibuprofen several times a day. Go to a massage therapist once a week for a month and have them work your shoulders down into your hands. i think you will see a big improvement quickly.

JM

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.

I'm not having this trouble yet. When I was first learning guitar chords, I avoided barre chords. Yes, I was lazy. :rolleyes:. I would would figure out a capo placement so I could play mostly open chords, but stay in the same key. And that's what I would suggest to you - it's much easier on the hand and fingers. Another plus - the method will improve your chord transposition skills.

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Karen ,

 

Like I've stated before I'm in my 20's but I wanted to comment here because GreatWhite mentioned TONY MELENDEZ .

that guy is just so cool he can play very very well . But I also know that that he mostly sings songs as praise to God.

so I don't know if you are a believer or not but I'd say maybe praying for health in your hands will do some good too

 

take care . God can be the most efective medicine :D

 

check Tony out :

 

 

 

This is incredible. Sure the open tuning helps, but just watch his foot strum those chords! Wow!

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Like the others, my hands hurt just like the should being 64 years old .......... they've been beat up and been in too many places they shouldn't have been! I've talked to my Doc about this .... especially in terms of guitar playing .... he did not offer much encouragement. So suck it up and keep pickin' .... the joy out weighs the pain!

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Karen

 

dont know whether its artritis or a bit of Rheumy but I have the same issue.

Coupled with a stupid self inflicted accident to my left index finger involving a Karcher washer!!

 

My songwriter and Guild 12 strings have gone which is a shame but barre chords were just painful ( this who have heard me play say ALL my chords are painful)

 

But now I realise that "eight miles high" and "tambourine man" just dont sound the same on a six so I am in the market for a Seagull or similar which I will string with 9s.

 

I actually find that playing helps playing, my wrists hurt more quickly and more intensely if I havent picked a box up for a while.

 

I have had "raised eyebrows" here in the past for understringing. my J45 and 200 are strung with 10s. All I can say is that whislt I might not get the volume and "drive the top" and do all the other things I am meant to, I am still playing them with not too much discomfort.

 

I am sure that you'll find a way

 

Take care

 

John

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The only issue I have is with my left (fretting) index finger and making it curl to play C and G7 etc. Some days it is painful right to the second knuckle. I find if I think about it before I play and do some light stretching of the finger, it makes it easier. I'm starting to see that tell tale bump on the side of my index finger first knuckle that tells me I need to start taking better care of my hands.

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This is incredible. Sure the open tuning helps, but just watch his foot strum those chords! Wow!

 

he says tuning the guitar is a secret . One toe for major notes and two toes for a minor . and sometimes one toe for a seventh

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I can't say I understand yet, I wish you all the best. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be. Unfortunately that's all I can offer.

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I Hi GG ! Soory hear of your Arthis. I have not been on the Gibson forum in months. I have been diagonosed with a rare Vasciver Limfoma ! Been undergiong Chemo and pobibly a stem cell trance plant. Miss you ! Did you get G&D new album ? Jim/Suburude

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Playing in a good sitting position (back straight, guitar neck angle up, fret hand open like you are holding a ball) wont make the pain go away but may keep you from aggravating it. And why try substituting open or partial chords for the barres? That should make for easier going.

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Please don't regard any of the following as medical advice. I'm not an MD. I'm just sharing some information for you to consider that may help you decide how to proceed.

 

Hand pain can come from lots of different things, including multiple forms of arthritis. "Arthritis" is really an umbrella term for over 100 different conditions, although some forms are far more common and familiar than others. It's really helpful to know exactly what's going on "under the skin" to determine what's the best way to fix it or manage it. Seeing a rheumatologist is probably the way to go. That can be difficult, as most primary care docs will want to try treating it themselves before making a referral. Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the most common types, with OA more common by far. RA, more so than OA, occurs more often among women than men.

 

If joints are red, warm, and swollen, I'd be concerned that RA might be what's going on. That's a systemic, autoimmune disease that can do aggressive damage to your joints and may require treatment with so called DMARDs (disease modifying and reducing drugs) or so-called "biologics." These can be highly effective but can also have some really nasty side-effects because some of them suppress the immune system. On the other hand, sometimes early aggressive treatment for RA can pretty much halt the disease process. The longer the illness progresses, the less likely this is. No one really knows why RA happens to some people and not others and there is no definitive cure, although it can be managed effectively and may go into remission. In fact, it may be characterized by alternating periods flaring up and then settling down.

 

OA is more common and typically involves erosion of the cartilage in the joints, eventually resulting in bone-on-bone contact that can be very painful. If you've ever eaten a chicken leg, you've probably noticed the shiny, smooth part of the bone at the joint. that's cartilage and part of its job is to cushion the joint and provide a nice slick, low-friction surface. With OA, that cartilage can erode. This can also change the mechanical and structural status of the joint. Joints may become misaligned, with the last digit of the finger permanently bent at an angle, for example. Treatment for OA is often palliative -- aimed at reducing the pain and further mechanical damage to the joint. Not much evidence that the underlying process can be reversed. Joints' like everything else, can just wear out. Joint trauma, genetics, and other factors can make some people more susceptible than others. But treatment can slow down that process and help to manage pain.

 

Appropriate exercise can work well for both RA and OA but the important word is "appropriate." And what's appropriate for one patient in one circumstance may be harmful to another. Dietary supplements are still somewhat controversial, with some indications that they can help and some that they don't. Many (but not all) are benign for most people, so they may not entail either a great deal of risk or a great deal of promise, on average.

 

Short-term remedies like steroid injections can make your hands feel really great but they don't last long and can't just be repeated a bunch of times. But if someone had to do a recital or major performance, for example, a physician may be able to inject steroids that would make getting through that performance a good deal easier. Just don't expect to get them every weekend.

 

There are other forms of arthritis, and RA and OA can manifest in a variety of ways and can range in severity from mild to very severe. RA is likely to benefit from early diagnosis because the treatment goal will often be to modify the disease process, not just treat the symptoms. Waiting too long can make this harder and may result in less complete success. To some extent, all of us of a certain age likely have some OA somewhere, even if we don't feel any aches or pains.

 

So, although I'm not a physician and my observations don't constitute medical advice, in your situation I'd definitely see some kind of doctor and, if possible, a rheumatologist.

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Hi, I am an MD.

 

Go see a hand doctor (Orthopedic MD specializing in Hand surgery) in your area. It could be a lot of things some serious (I doubt it) but some just from overuse. Before you self treat, its worth an Xray and see if you truly do have osteoarthritis, or just simply inflammation from overuse. Hope you have a speedy recovery.

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