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Thread: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

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    Default how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    I sometimes get serious hand cramps. Anyone have any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Drink plenty of water, be sure to get enough calcium (dairy etc.) and potassium (bananas etc.).

  3. #3

    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Cramps are sometimes caused by lactic acid build up in the muscles due to anaerobic respiration.
    -breathe deeply and shake the muscle to help blood circulation.

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Be aware too of how hard you are gripping your mandolin or pick. Both hands can get strained if you are gripping too tightly.
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Yes, another is to practice scales using zero thumb pressure. For people using the right picking hand the pressure comes from the right forearm resting on the body on the other side of the instrument along with the strap.
    This can help a lot while doing slides.

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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Quote Originally Posted by threegils View Post
    I sometimes get serious hand cramps. Anyone have any suggestions?
    First off, I'd make sure it's nothing medical that needs to be addressed.

    Gentle stretching and hydration is good and then assess your technique. If playing is causing cramps back off the intensity or find another way to do it - your body is telling you to stop.
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Take a look at your technique. Try to release tension - I find tension makes me grip extra hard.
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Also, in addition to everything above, make sure the mandolin's action (string height above the fretboard) isn't too high. I'm mentioning this because I see it's your first post, so you might have a new mandolin that isn't set up properly (most aren't; many manufacturers assume that the buyer will do all that). If the strings are a mile high, it's going to take way too much finger pressure to hold the strings down.

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    Registered User mandomurph's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Take three big gulps of dill pickle juice. Won't cure it forever, but should relieve for a several hours.
    mandomurph

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  10. #10

    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Which hand?

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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    Tonic water. At karate classes, during strenuous ab exercises of various types, other guys 20, 30 years younger would seize up with cramp pain, but I'd keep going, because I drank some "cramp juice" just prior to class. They'd been told about the remedy by the sensei, but I think I was the only one who acted on the info.

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    Cramping is a common side-effect for dialysis patients. Those facilities keep tonic water in the fridge to give relief when cramping occurs.

    I'd also recommend doing aikido hand/wrist stretches; benefits there go far beyond the cramp aspects to eliminating excess fretting pressure, death grip, etc.

    https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/arti...cle-cramp-pain

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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    both

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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    tks

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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    If you experience cramping or pain due to extended play/practice sessions, then definitely stop and rest. In addition to all the great advice above, it is true that what we demand of our hands in playing a mandolin is a bit outside the norm for non musicians. It’s not unusual to experience some pain or cramping if you do it too long. If that’s part of your problem, then exercise will help - the more you play or practice, the longer you’ll be able to endure - so long as you stop and rest to avoid injury while you build your stamina over time.
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    For acute relief, use a squirt of yellow mustard. Donít know if itís the salt, vinegar, or it just makes you not care about the cramps anymore, lol, but I know some folks who swear by it.

    The quinine in tonic water used to be available in pill form for cramp prevention, but the WHO has restricted it to malaria victims only (to combat developing resistance). Works very well for some folks, as Iím seeing Niles outlined above already.

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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    I've heard tonic water helps ... I've also heard it works better mixed with gin ... personally I don't like the latter but the water helps.
    I'd consult with a medical professional, and my other advice is to never 'play through the pain', pain is usually a sign of something wrong and you can make something a lot worse by playing through the pain. A medical professional can usually help and some sports therapists have real experience with professional orchestra players etc, so if you can I'd speak with someone who has experience in the field.

    Good luck sorting this out, and I wish you all the best in your playing,
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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    All great advice here. I would add to RELAX. Music, sports, piloting jets all require you to be able to perform complicated physical and mental tasks while remaining relaxed. Or, you'll tighten up, second guess, and fail. It's hard but just try and tune out everything but the mandolin ,and have fun most of all, that will relax you.

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    I was getting minor cramp in my right arm when playing tenor banjo and changing how I held the banjo completely eliminated the problem, just another thing to look at - poor mechanics when playing can cause tension and the tension can lead to cramping.
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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: how do you prevent and get rid of hand cramps

    If you haven't already tried this, figure out just how much pressure you need apply to the strings with your left hand fingers to get the notes to sound cleanly. Then practice playing a bit applying only the minimum pressure you need. It is easy to press too hard. This kinda goes along with the good comment above about staying relaxed and loose.
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