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Re: EXERCISES to PREVENT RSI Injuries for all instrumentalists


Thanks for sharing this — with as many "auld farts" around here, we
certainly need to be aware of what we can do.


On Sat, Dec 15, 2012 at 3:08 AM, Rick Walker <looppool@cruzio.com> wrote:
> On 12/14/2012 9:57 AM, Luis Angulo wrote:
>> hers a brief interesting article about the subject
>> http://guitarinternational.com/2010/08/21/fear-and-loathing-in-your-fingertips/
> Here's the salient part about preparing yourself against RSI injuries
> _*
> Improper technique or trying to stretch the hand and fingers beyond 
> normal
> capacity can irritate joints, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. This last
> category – nerves – causes the most pain and anxiety in guitarists, 
> simply
> because nerve damage is hard to treat. It affects a number of musicians, 
> as
> well. Keith Emerson, for example, has undergone therapy and major surgery
> for damage to his hands, and his ability to perform and to record is, as 
> of
> this writing, in serious doubt. BassistJohnette Napolitano
> <http://guitarinternational.com/2010/06/14/johnette-napolitano-big-sky-rock-n-roll-and-rattle-snakes/>,
> formerly of Concrete Blonde, also suffered major nerve damage to her arm,
> such that a guest bassist (Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson) was brought in 
> for
> that band’s last studio record. Exercises can help prevent a problem 
> before
> it gets to such an extreme stage.
> Extend your right arm straight out, palm forward, with fingers pointing 
> up
> as if you were pushing against a wall. Then grab your fingers with your 
> left
> hand, and pull back, gently. Do it just enough so that you can feel the 
> pull
> on your muscles, but don’t hurt yourself. Then turn your arm and hand 
> upside
> down. With your forearm up and your palm still facing out, your fingers
> should now be pointing downward.
> You MUST do this for 20 to 30 seconds each time, at least once a day. 
> Not 10
> or 15, but at least 20 seconds, and do it six times with each hand – 
> three
> up and three down.
> For forearms, wrist extensor exercises are important. Extend your arm
> straight in front of you, with the elbow locked. Point your fingers down,
> palm in, and bend your fingers in toward you. You should feel an obvious 
> tug
> on your forearm. Do this in the opposite direction, pointing your fingers
> up, and try stretching them back towards you. Do not use your other hand 
> to
> help (as in the exercise above). Just let your fingers stretch the 
> forearm
> muscles on their own.
> There are also finger exercises that you should do, often referred to as 
> a
> “hand ballet.” Start with your fingers straight up, palm out. Then fold 
> your
> fingers forward and down to a 90-degree angle, so that they are flush
> against your palm, and then curl them into a fist. Pull the knuckles up,
> keeping the fingertips flat against the lower part of the fingers – so 
> that
> they are almost hook-like. Then flip them back to the pointing-upward
> position, and repeat the entire exercise from the beginning.
> Don’t forget your shoulders and back. While your fingers and hands are 
> the
> front line of your playing, there are other parts of your body to 
> consider.
> Electric guitarists who play while standing up frequently share one major
> complaint: their shoulders ache. This comes from standing hours at a time
> with a guitar slung somewhere between the chest and the knees, supported
> only by a thin strip of leather or cloth. The culprit here is often-times
> your strap. Your shoulder (the left one, for right-handed guitar 
> players) is
> supporting the entire weight of the guitar, which also puts stress on
> surrounding areas, especially the neck.
> One bit of advice from physicians is to use a wide, heavily padded 
> strap. If
> that isn’t your style and you prefer the Jimmy Page skinny strap model, 
> try
> dispersing the direct weight of the strap by placing a small folded towel
> under the strap (even under your shirt if you don’t want to mess up an
> all-important fashion statement). Anything to keep the strap from eating
> into one or several square inches of your shoulder will be better than
> nothing. By the way, Page claims that his strap, and the weight of Les 
> Pauls
> and doublenecks, has permanently sloped his left shoulder so that it is
> significantly lower than the right shoulder.
> For you sitters, the constant hunching over the guitar isn’t any better,
> either. Like your mom told you, “Sit up straight and don’t slouch.” True
> enough: hunching forward can cause you some lower back pain and shoulder
> stress. Take care of sitting up straight first, then do some basic
> relaxation exercises. Neck rolls are a good start: roll your head from 
> side
> to side, slowly, touching your ears to your respective shoulders.
> Regular exercise can keep problems from developing and turning into
> disasters. Do yourself a favor: treat your fingers as well as you treat 
> all
> the appendages on your body.