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Arthritis Exercises. Helpful Advice

ch willie

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Jun 7, 2007
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Rheumatoid mostly attacks my hips, hands, thumbs, and wrists.

A few days ago, I tried to play the old gem Life in the fast Lane, an easy play. Except that holding a pick was painful and I couldn’t play it in time.

I was depressed and admittedly felt a good dose of self pity.

I found this article and although it’s an SEO bs piece, it includes some helpful exercises.

Playing is actually good for arthritis sufferers. These exercises have been a great thing for me. I hope they can help you if your hands are painful.

 

goldtop0

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Aug 19, 2003
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Sorry to hear of your plight willie and thanks for the advice as I advance in years (y)
 

Any Name You Wish

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Apr 15, 2021
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For the past 5 years I have been doing these types of finger exercises and stretches. It does indeed work and you can re-gain dexterity and strength. I try to do them in a sequence that counterbalances. When I do a fist, I will follow it with a steeple-ing stretch. If you have seen recent videos of Keith you'll notice he is hunched over quite a bit. This is another area that guitarists have to watch out for. I try to play with my head up as much as possible rather than looking at the fretboard. Easier to do during lead runs or scales.
 

Doc Sausage

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Nov 21, 2006
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Was I reading The Onion? It lost me here -
  • “He does not smoke, and neither does he encourage anyone to…”
The dude has been practically a chain smoker his whole life. WTF?
 

ch willie

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Jun 7, 2007
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Was I reading The Onion? It lost me here -
  • “He does not smoke, and neither does he encourage anyone to…”
The dude has been practically a chain smoker his whole life. WTF?
Yeah, that’s a joke. Has he quit?

But the exercises are legit.
 

Doc Sausage

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Nov 21, 2006
Messages
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Yeah, that’s a joke. Has he quit?

But the exercises are legit.
If I were his doc, I would not tell him to stop smoking now. I’m thinking Covid could not get past the lung tar layer. No vax necessary!

I’m fighting a bit of arthritis on my fret hand. I’ll check ‘em out. Thanks for posting.
 
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Vics53

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Jan 21, 2021
Messages
117
Read part of it but I will read the whole article. Thanks for posting!

I'm now 69 and spent 30 years in CNC machine shops. Lot's of heavy, hard work that's rough on the hands. I'm pretty darned lucky in that my hands/fingers don't hurt but I'm not as limber as I used to be. (Hard work and age!)

I also got into guitar very late in life and due to the long hours I worked I didn't have a whole lot of free time to practice like I wanted to. I've been retired since March of 2020 and just lately I've been able to get into playing a lot more. I even play guitar at church.

One thing I'm having a lot of trouble with is trying to increase my picking speed. It's like my wrist just seems to lock up. Takes me forever to get to a certain point but once I'm there I just can't get beyond it. Maybe it's the combination of age, the years of hard work and getting into guitar late in life. Maybe this article will help and if so thanks again.
 

ch willie

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Jun 7, 2007
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Thanks, Avensis, but I have hope that a new medicine I've started will eventually help some. At least I can still play, even if I don't have the dexterity I had.
 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
Messages
798
My body is riddled with OA. It sucks but those are the cards I've been dealt so what am I going to do? I was in denial for a while, but eventually I had to face reality and realize it isn't going to go away and most likely going to get worse, which it has. I've had numerous OA related surgeries already, and multiple joint replacements in my future (trying to put them off as long as possible). I had arthritis surgery on my left hand in 2016 and it has taken me years (on a good day) to get my playing close to where it was before. Now my right hand is having arthritis problems. I still keep plugging away playing, and try to keep a good attitude about it. I know my time is limited to continue playing at a decent level, and I've come to terms with that. It's pretty easy to get depressed, but there are a lot of people out there with far worse problems than I have, so I remind myself of that a lot.
 

ch willie

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My body is riddled with OA. It sucks but those are the cards I've been dealt so what am I going to do? I was in denial for a while, but eventually I had to face reality and realize it isn't going to go away and most likely going to get worse, which it has. I've had numerous OA related surgeries already, and multiple joint replacements in my future (trying to put them off as long as possible). I had arthritis surgery on my left hand in 2016 and it has taken me years (on a good day) to get my playing close to where it was before. Now my right hand is having arthritis problems. I still keep plugging away playing, and try to keep a good attitude about it. I know my time is limited to continue playing at a decent level, and I've come to terms with that. It's pretty easy to get depressed, but there are a lot of people out there with far worse problems than I have, so I remind myself of that a lot.
I feel that way too. I'm not going to feel anymore self-pity. I'll play as long as I can. A lefty, my left thumb hurts and pops. I'm on methotrexate now, and it actually is helping a lot. I think my RA is in remission now. I still can't hold a pick very well but feel like you do: some have it a lot worse, and I feel empathy for them.
 

jb_abides

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Apr 6, 2005
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3,752
I can see mine going this far too in my future, so good to see these attitudes now to help frame for what's coming. Keep trucking, going on down the highway...
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2022
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67
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.
 
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ch willie

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Jun 7, 2007
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Getting all these hand problems--it's not uncommon.

I saw a guy playing live with an SG about 20 on years ago, and I kind of laughed at him. He was making all these "rock and roll faces" and looked goofy. Then I found out he had terrible arthritis but loved playing so much he played througt foh the pain. I was ashamed of myself, but I have had a deep respect for that stranger ever since.
 

Vics53

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Jan 21, 2021
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Getting all these hand problems--it's not uncommon.

I saw a guy playing live with an SG about 20 on years ago, and I kind of laughed at him. He was making all these "rock and roll faces" and looked goofy. Then I found out he had terrible arthritis but loved playing so much he played througt foh the pain. I was ashamed of myself, but I have had a deep respect for that stranger ever since.
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.
 
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