• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

Arthritis Exercises. Helpful Advice

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,027
Quote: "The punishment for laughing at people in the past is that eventually you become one of them."

This is not aimed at you Willie. But once I read your story that quote immediatly came to mind. Should serve as a reminder to all of us. Time takes a toll on most and the playing stuggles I have makes me no exception.
That quote is relevant. I learned a lesson about humanity and of myself that night. Fortunately I was able to learn it and remember it. It’s always good to examine one’s own failings, especially if you do so to do better towards others.
 

Bruce R

Active member
Joined
Mar 2, 2007
Messages
982
Great thread, folks. I felt early signs of arthritis in my fingers in my 30's (I am 72) but it never really progressed until a couple years ago. However, it did get my attention back then and I remember reading an article written by (don't laugh) either Zsa Zsa or Eva Gabor (seriously) about how she was dealing with it and recommending almost the same exercises! I can't say whether or not doing them all these years can be attributed to keeping arthritis at bay but I feel fortunate for a guy my age. As luck would have it the band I find myself in now has me learning (or trying to learn) some challenging, speed-wise, guitar parts and the fingers are feeling their age! All you mature guitarists... keep up the exercises and keep learning!
 

Any Name You Wish

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
248
For sufferers of arthritis it`s worth looking the foods you eat & foods you might want to eat to help w/ the inflammation, etc.-
I don't see margaritas and tacos on that list. I guess I'll have to completely change my diet.
 

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,027
I’ve been watching foods that inflame. It really makes a difference.
 

Coachmoe

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Messages
1,128
Carpal tunnel for me. Painful at night and left hand goes to sleep when playing. Pretty hard to nail a solo or high string chord progression when there's no feeling in the finger tips. But... Perseverance! Just keep playing! Takes me longer to learn new stuff, but I do.

I find arm, back and shoulder stretching helps. Also, maybe I can't play the solo to crazy train any more, but I can still play little wing and at the end of the day, I think little wing sounds better anyway.

* also, Rick Allen... if that dude can play his drums with one arm, I can play my guitar with carpal tunnel.
I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand in 2002. Did the right hand in 2006. When i did the right hand, I had the surgery on Monday, played a gig on Friday. Lately I’m having issues with pain where my thumbs attach. Going to try the exercises.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2022
Messages
87
I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand in 2002. Did the right hand in 2006. When i did the right hand, I had the surgery on Monday, played a gig on Friday. Lately I’m having issues with pain where my thumbs attach. Going to try the exercises.
I made a significant discovery. Turns out my issue isn't my hand, It's my shoulder and the hand is just a symptom. Wearing my guitar strap just on the right shoulder (tricky but possible) all but cures me
 

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,027
I went to my orthopedist last Friday. We’re trying cortisone shots in my thumb joints, but to no avail. It looks like I’ll need surgery, a nasty business in every way. But it’s my only real hope.
 

SpencerD

Active member
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Messages
803
Yeah

Been dealing with arthritis for a long time. I still whip out the good ole guitars quite frequently.

Thing is now.... my picking (right) hand is more like Keith Moon bashing the shit outta drums than some badass Dave Rawlings picking 🤔 :oops:

I could never pick like Rawlings anyway 🤘
 

bursty

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
224
I have learned over many years that keeping yourself moving and not being static is a HUGE key to continued enjoyment of being able to play guitar, among other physical activities.
Yes; playing guitar is a 'physical' activity.
I have been playing guitar for over 50 years. I have suffered numerous hand injuries, some requiring multiple surgeries and many months of rehabilitation/PT. I have psoriatic arthritis which negatively effects my hands, fingers, wrists, among other body areas. I have also experienced intermittent bouts of CTS that can also limit my playing abilities.
KEEP moving; it's a battle but if you don't KEEP moving then you will lose the war.
Win a few battles, lose a few battles but KEEP moving and win the war. (y)

EDIT: One other thing I have discovered over the years is that playing guitars with fatter necks makes it much more comfortable to play when you suffer with stiff, achy and even painful fingers, fretting hand, and wrist. It may seem counter intuitive that a larger neck could help with these types of maladies but having more neck material in the hand truly helps me play with less discomfort and less pain. :)
YMMV
 
Last edited:

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,027
Fat necks are better for me now too. Unfortunately the hard v neck on my Martin HD-28V has become tough on my hand. But I’ve had the guitar for25 years, and it’s been gigged so much, sounds beautiful , and holds so many great memories that I play it in spite of the pain.
 

BoyBastos

Active member
Joined
May 4, 2015
Messages
290
Yeah

Been dealing with arthritis for a long time. I still whip out the good ole guitars quite frequently.

Thing is now.... my picking (right) hand is more like Keith Moon bashing the shit outta drums than some badass Dave Rawlings picking 🤔 :oops:

I could never pick like Rawlings anyway 🤘
.
 
Last edited:

boogieongtr

Active member
Joined
May 16, 2006
Messages
928
I went to my orthopedist last Friday. We’re trying cortisone shots in my thumb joints, but to no avail. It looks like I’ll need surgery, a nasty business in every way. But it’s my only real hope.

We are on the same path but I'm a bit further up the road. I had 4 cortisone shots in my thumb joint for 5 years. In the 5th year the shots wore off after 4-5 gigs. On Dec 1, 2021 I then had the surgery. They take a tenon from your left arm, then cut and pull the thumb out, pack the tenon in the joint so you don't have the bone on bone rub, sew you back up. I had to wear a hard cast for 6 weeks that kept the thumb from moving. Next 6 weeks in a neoprene cast that limits the movement. After that PT. At this point it's been 4 months from the date of the surgery. I was then cleared to use the thumb and started to play guitar and get my chops back. After 6 months I started to gig again. After 3 months of gigs I was again in so much pain I had to cancel all remaining gigs. I went back to my surgeon and I get the news the problem is called "subsidence". The tenon has shrunk and my thumb has moved out of position. In the past 3 months I've had 4 cortisone/lanicane injections. I've been told I need another surgery to correct this. For me to play a 3 hour gig I have to self medicate: 4-Norco, 6-Extra strength excedrin and a couple other goodies. Before going into this I had a second set of xrays and consultation with another orthopedic surgeon. I wish you all the success if you have the surgery. I wish I would have never had the surgery, This is my thumb joint 9 months after the surgery and subsidence.
Thumb.jpg
 

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,027
We are on the same path but I'm a bit further up the road. I had 4 cortisone shots in my thumb joint for 5 years. In the 5th year the shots wore off after 4-5 gigs. On Dec 1, 2021 I then had the surgery. They take a tenon from your left arm, then cut and pull the thumb out, pack the tenon in the joint so you don't have the bone on bone rub, sew you back up. I had to wear a hard cast for 6 weeks that kept the thumb from moving. Next 6 weeks in a neoprene cast that limits the movement. After that PT. At this point it's been 4 months from the date of the surgery. I was then cleared to use the thumb and started to play guitar and get my chops back. After 6 months I started to gig again. After 3 months of gigs I was again in so much pain I had to cancel all remaining gigs. I went back to my surgeon and I get the news the problem is called "subsidence". The tenon has shrunk and my thumb has moved out of position. In the past 3 months I've had 4 cortisone/lanicane injections. I've been told I need another surgery to correct this. For me to play a 3 hour gig I have to self medicate: 4-Norco, 6-Extra strength excedrin and a couple other goodies. Before going into this I had a second set of xrays and consultation with another orthopedic surgeon. I wish you all the success if you have the surgery. I wish I would have never had the surgery, This is my thumb joint 9 months after the surgery and subsidence.
Thumb.jpg
Oh shit, man, I’m sorry. That’s not only painful, it’s disappointing for you too. I appreciate the information, and it gives me a lot to think about. Mine is worsening all the time. I need a hard brace as it is. I hope something comes along to give you some relief.
 

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,027
It really gets frustrating because I’ve lost timing accuracy and speed. At first it was only when I used a plectrum, but now the arthritis is affecting my fingers.

I have an appointment with my orthopedist soon to set up a scan. At 60, I’m just not ready to hang up my strap and give up.
 

Dave P

Active member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
822
It really gets frustrating because I’ve lost timing accuracy and speed. At first it was only when I used a plectrum, but now the arthritis is affecting my fingers.

I have an appointment with my orthopedist soon to set up a scan. At 60, I’m just not ready to hang up my strap and give up.
On bad days I have a hard time even holding onto my pick too.
We are on the same path but I'm a bit further up the road. I had 4 cortisone shots in my thumb joint for 5 years. In the 5th year the shots wore off after 4-5 gigs. On Dec 1, 2021 I then had the surgery. They take a tenon from your left arm, then cut and pull the thumb out, pack the tenon in the joint so you don't have the bone on bone rub, sew you back up. I had to wear a hard cast for 6 weeks that kept the thumb from moving. Next 6 weeks in a neoprene cast that limits the movement. After that PT. At this point it's been 4 months from the date of the surgery. I was then cleared to use the thumb and started to play guitar and get my chops back. After 6 months I started to gig again. After 3 months of gigs I was again in so much pain I had to cancel all remaining gigs. I went back to my surgeon and I get the news the problem is called "subsidence". The tenon has shrunk and my thumb has moved out of position. In the past 3 months I've had 4 cortisone/lanicane injections. I've been told I need another surgery to correct this. For me to play a 3 hour gig I have to self medicate: 4-Norco, 6-Extra strength excedrin and a couple other goodies. Before going into this I had a second set of xrays and consultation with another orthopedic surgeon. I wish you all the success if you have the surgery. I wish I would have never had the surgery, This is my thumb joint 9 months after the surgery and subsidence.
Thumb.jpg
I had the same surgery in 2016 on my left hand and it pretty much turned out the same way as yours. It hurts almost as bad as before the surgery at times. No way in hell I'm having another surgery on it. My other hand has the same problem, but after my first experience I will never have the same procedure done again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: K_L

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,027
MRI this morning. With so many things wrong with my wrist and thumb, the Doc said it would take four separate surgeries with minimal results. Not worth doing, he said. Ok then. Since giving up would make my world lesser, I will figure out a satisfying, alternative way of playing. Playing bass, guitar, and piano has given me so much joy, and it will continue to do so.
 

Dave P

Active member
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
822
Hopefully you can find some workarounds that will let you keep playing and not be in terrible pain. I've switched over to Strats with floating trems to allow me to do more vibrato and bending with the bar and not stress my thumb joint as much.
 
Top