Hi Luis,Over Use Syndrome is very common with anyone who does anything over and over and over. It can come from typing; texting on a cell phone; playing tennis; playing guitar...........anything where thousands of motions occur
daily.From my knowledge of it (and I've professionally helped a half a dozen drummers with this problem
to get back to equilibrium), all muscles work in the same way:Namely, when you make a motion with your wrists, ankles, elbows, knees, et. al. one muscle stretches on one side of the bone and a compensatory muscle contracts on the other side.
I'm a lay person and not a doctor, obviously, but I've encountered these problems so many times that I've learned a lot about it................so take this with a grain of salt, but I promise, there is some wisdom
in what I say.What happens in Over Use Syndrome is that one makes hundreds of movements in one direction; meaning that one muscle is always stretching while it's compensatory muscle is contracting but
the same amount of motion is not happening in the opposite direction.So, when you are in a place where your muscles are inflamed chronically, one has to do a few
things:1) Refrain from the motion that exacerbates the condition until the pain and the swelling go away. It may be efficacious to ice your inflammation (but be sure never to ice more than 20 minutes at a time because you can injure you muscles by freezing them just as surely as you can by overusing them.
This may take a long time. It might mean not picking up glasses; not playing guitar or anything that exacerbates the condition...........This one is tough, but you may just have to do it.
2) Your convalescence can be assisted with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (as simple as Aspirin or Motrin) and/or Cortical Steroids. Cortical Steroids can radically reduce inflammation but they also have a lot of potential side effects that are not great. The last time I took them for an chronic infected sinus condition, I started having bruising all over my body at the very slightest of trauma. Some people even believe that the constant use of Cortical Steroids can lead to Cancer...............others site what's called a 'rebound effect' which means that the inflamation goes away until the stoppage of the drug and then returns even greater. Personally, I avoid them like the plague, but they can save someone who has Lupus from death.
3) Go to an Acupuncturist. Chinese medicine has a great track record with over use conditions compared to Western medicine which frequently only advocates ceasing any exacerbating motion or drugs. This may take some time and some money, but the quicker you convalesce, the better. As an alternative, a really good Chiropractor may be able to assist you , as well as a good trained Physical Therapist who specializes in precisely what you suffer from.
4) Once you start to feel better, look at the kinds of motions that are making your condition worse and see if you can figure out a set of exercises that will stretch your muscles in EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION than the motions that are causing your problems. In the long run, this is super important. I can't more highly stress it.
Towards that end, with Hand and Finger pain, the Chinese make little silver and enamel covered small balls which are designed, specifically, to be rotated inside of the palm. Rotate them around each other inside of your palm in a clock wise direction for 20 times and then rotate them around each other inside of your palm in a counter-clockwise direction for another 20 times. By doing this, you are actually using every single set of major muscles in your hands, equally.
My wife had Over Use Syndrome, playing too much guitar; typing incessantly on a computer keyboard and finally, trying to lay some bass guitar licks on her album. Her hands were in such pain that she could hardly do anything...........................She stopped all her activity and started using these Chinese balls and almost miraculously, she came back to being able to play and type again without pain.
The trick is committing to using your muscles in exactly the opposite directions than the directions used with
whatever has caused you the most pain.5) Lastly, Western Medicine will advocate surgery. With chronic wrist injuries they will advocate for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery. My acupuncturist has told me, "always make this the very last resort to such a problem." I know a professional drummer who traveled all the way from Hawaii because he had heard that I was having good luck with re-training drummers in how to change their habits so that they were no longer having Over Use Syndrome. He already had Carpal Tunnel surgery scheduled if working with me didn't work out. I just sat down and watched him play and saw immediately where the physical dysfunction in his technique was. I got him to change the position of his left wrist so when he hit his brutal 'backbeats' that his hand was not bent at the wrist when he struck. It took him two weeks of working with me and he cancelled his surgery and now hes' doing great without pain.
All I did was look at him, physically, and I could see what he was doing to hurt himself.
So, think about videoing yourself to see where you are making motions that are constantly going in one direction (with out a commensurate and exactly opposite movement to balance the motions out).
Pick up that cup of coffee and have your wife watch you do it. Figure out what the exact opposite movement would be and develop a series of stretching exercise to do both before and after any repetitive stress motions (specifically, playing guitar).
6) By the way, excessive consumption of Caffeine has been to joint pain and stiffness in the hands, so you might cut back on your consumption of it. Additionally, I've heard a lot of people have had good results in reducing inflamation of joints by consuming Glucosamine and Chondroitin. I've also heard that taking Cod Liver Oil or other fish oils can have a salutary effect.
7) Lastly, some motions are tied to tightness and lack of flexibility in other parts of your back. If you have issues with tension , as an example, in your neck, your shoulders, the upper muscles of your back, they can have negative repercussions that will effect your arms, elbows, wrists and finally hands and fingers.
Again, have somebody you know well watch you and notice where you tend to keep your tension held. Figure out what muscles you could stretch that go in the exact opposite direction of the muscles you use when you are 'uptight' physically or emotionally.
8) Someone who's well trained in these things can talk to you for just a few minutes and then watch you pick things up; play guitar, et. al. and tell you what's up with your body. Don't be cheap! Spend some money to get a handle on it and it might just save your career as a professional musician before Over Use Syndrome knocks you out.
9) Lastly: Years ago I had some really problems with my lower and upper back. One morning I woke up unable to get out of bed. I went and saw a really good chiropractor and he hipped me to the fact that we need to stretch our basic muscles in both directions to stay flexible and healthy. He told me to go buy three meters of rubber surgical tubing (about 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter and very flexible). He then showed me how you can roll it in each of your hands and then stretch it out by putting your hands in back of your head, in front of your heads; stretching in every single direction up and down and sideways in both in front and in back of your head. By doing this, you are stretching all of those muscles in all directions. I started doing it and it was almost miraculous. My back pain went away and has rarely come back. When it does, it's usually because I've stopped doing those exercise. It literally only takes 20 to 30 seconds a day and is a great way to wake up in the morning.
I hope some of this helps. Again, I'm not an expert, but I researched it a lot and these things seems to work.
Good luck, buddy!!!!! You are a wonderful musician and I hope this doesn't impede your artistry for too long.