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Thread: Picking / strumming wrist

  1. #1

    Default Picking / strumming wrist

    I have begin to experience what seems to be tendentious in my right wrist. In addition to stopping playing I have been thinking / researching right hand technique to see if I’m way off in technique and may aggravate this. There seem to be two schools of thought 1) most motion is up and down parallel to the face of the mandolin or 2) most pick motion results from a “screwing in a light bulb movement. Comments about this and perhaps relation to potential for tendinitis?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    FWIW, my experience may be of some help. Don't assume it's tendinitis unless your doctor has diagnosed it.

    Last summer I started feeling what I thought was tendinitis in my fretting wrist. I worked hard on tweaking my technique to be sure I wasn't creating a problem for myself, to no avail. It gradually got worse, and it ultimately in November led me to stop playing for a month. I tried a wrist wrap and a wrist brace, as well as anti--inflammatory OTR drugs. After a month of yearning to play, I finally went back to it. Of course, over all this time I thought it was tendinitis (self-diagnosed, because I had previously had carpal tunnel and knew my symptoms were not carpal tunnel). Anyway, I finally gave up and went to my doctor after the month off from playing didn't work more than a week before I had lots of pain in the wrist again.

    Long story short, what I have is not, tendinitis. I have severe arthritis in the three little bones at the base of my left wrist. So now I know I can't get rid of it and just have to manage it. My doctor gave me a script for diclofunac gel that I rub on my wrist a couple of times a day, with Tylenol as needed. I am able to play without pain for the most part, although I still get aching afterwards, especially on cold or damp days. I have to be careful how much work I do on my mandolin build before I want to play later in the day. In either order, building and playing/playing and building, I get discomfort and sometimes pain. But in the end, I now know it's manageable and will be there forever. A little depressing but also encouraging knowing how to handle it.

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  4. #3
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    Mine started for the first time as this winter set in... The joints in my hands have always been strangely sensitive to cold, and I know my family tends towards arthritis in the hands and large joints, but I had never had it so severe as this before. Swelling, stiffness, and worse, a trigger left thumb and a trigger right ring finger.

    I play mandolin, banjo and double bass the most. Double bass is the easiest to work around and the lest affected, but that left trigger thumb is really affecting my mandolin and banjo playing, and the right trigger ring finger is affecting banjo.

    There are surgical solutions to trigger fingers, but they are not 100%, and the surgeries can cause nerve damage, so I'm trying to work out other solutions. I've been taking 2 OTC 12-hour time released Naproxen daily but at this time I'm not sure if it's really helping. I suspect that the best solutions will be to change playing posture to avoid the tirgger fingers.

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  5. #4
    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    I got a bout of tennis elbow in my right (strumming/picking) arm...pain is mostly top of forearm not elbow....even though it's called tennis elbow

    If your day job involves typing/computer...try a vertical mouse..I been using one for the last several days and notice improvement already..

    also try and use speech recognition instead of typing when possible

  6. #5
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    Quote Originally Posted by Juststarting View Post
    ... two schools of thought 1) most motion is up and down parallel to the face of the mandolin or 2) most pick motion results from a “screwing in a light bulb movement. Comments about this and perhaps relation to potential for tendinitis?
    Don't "screw in the lightbulb."
    Wrist motion should be like using a hammer.

    I won't bore you with irrelevant stories about my joints.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  7. #6
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    From personal experience I would advice you all:

    I had extreme finger joint pain in my left index finger and left hand above the wrist in the back, that would occur after playing for about half an hour. It was to the extent that I decided to relearn left hand fingering without the index finger. (So there was a benefit to getting my pinky into the action.)

    It got real bad. I thought my playing days would be over in months.

    Totally unrelated, I had physical, that discovered I had diabetes. Within a week of medication and diet I had my blood glucose numbers down to "normal", and all the pain went away. None of it has ever come back. I can play for four or five hours continuous or more without pain. I figure I dodged a bullet, and I would have been in serious trouble if I treated it like a mechanical muscle problem, which it sure felt like.

    My point is, pain is not always what it seems to be, and while it feels obvious about it being mechanical, sometimes it is something else. Please make sure you and your doctor are working together on it.

    (I would rather give up ice cream, mallow mars, and donuts, than give up mandolin.)
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  9. #7

    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    Advil & McClung armrest
    Best, Stevo

  10. #8

    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Mine started for the first time as this winter set in... The joints in my hands have always been strangely sensitive to cold, and I know my family tends towards arthritis in the hands and large joints, but I had never had it so severe as this before. Swelling, stiffness, and worse, a trigger left thumb and a trigger right ring finger.
    Don, I hope you have seen a Dr. about this. There is a chance you have rheumatoid arthritis, which can be treated. "Getting old" arthritis is osteoporosis. There is a difference.
    " Give me some words I can dance to and a melody that rhymes" - Steve Goodman

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  12. #9
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking / strumming wrist

    Quote Originally Posted by tjmangum View Post
    Don, I hope you have seen a Dr. about this. There is a chance you have rheumatoid arthritis, which can be treated. "Getting old" arthritis is osteoporosis. There is a difference.
    I'm sure TJ means well, but the above is worth a discalaimer or warning: Beware medical advice and opinions on internet forums. Example, "osteoporosis" has to do with a reduction in the density and porosity of bones and it is not the same as arthritis.

    True, the most common form of arthritis is "osteoarthritis" (not "osteoporosis") - a condition that occurs when cartilage wears out, exposing the joints of bones to friction! Common in old age.

    Here is a more accurate internet statement about arthritis:

    Arthritis means joint inflammation, but the term is used to describe around 200 conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue. It is a rheumatic condition.
    I suffer from psoriatic arthritis, and have for a long time. Just writing this because knowledge is a good thing, and arthritic conditions are not divided between "rheumatoid" and "osteoporosis", sorry. Best advice in this thread has already been given, seek medical diagnosis!

    P.S.
    +1 on "Advil & McClung armrest"
    Last edited by Mark Gunter; Jan-27-2020 at 4:46pm. Reason: P.S.
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