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mark_h

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Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #1 
I have had "Tennis Elbow" for the last nine months which has been very frustrating and is propbably every musician's worst nightmare. I have been to the doctors and had anti-inflammatory tablets and cortisone shots, which have helped but not fixed the problem. I have rested as much as possible but have had some gig commitments that I have had to keep.
Obviously any personal advice would be useful but it occurred to me that a thread on keeping fit and healthy as a guitarist might be worth starting.
PaulV

Moderator
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Posts: 1,773
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Mark,
Great subject.  Yeah, I somehow got Tennis Elbow about a year ago, and wondered where it came from.  I also have something that might be carpal tunnel in my right wrist...probably from holding a mouse all day at my job!  I haven't taken anything (outside of good care of myself), for either these.  The elbow is fine now, and the wrist it seems to be getting better. I eat pretty clean and workout 3-4 days in the gym.  At first I babied my wrist, but I found that doing some resistance training strengthened my arms and wrists and that seems to help....as long as I don't overdo anything.  But that's just me...and I don't advocate this as a remedy because mine is a very mild case.

On the general subject of health, yeah, that is so important.  As musicians, many of us choose to practice our instrument instead of spending the time to exercise.  This was me all through my 20's and 30's.  I'm 54 now.  I got to be about 40 lbs. overweight, and about 3 years ago I changed everything and lost 35 lbs. (the last 5 "vanity pounds" are tough to lose!).  My fingers actually got thinner too, so I'm a bit more dexterous now.  A lot of small physical problems magically disappeared.  I can't tell you how much being in good shape affects you...physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  Confidence level increases, you feel good about yourself, and actually love who you are. 

All this translates into being a better person, and that translates into being able to express beautiful music.  Joe DiOrio told a group of us at GIT in 1979 that if you're negative, angry, bitter, and moody inside there's no way you can play beautiful uplifting music, especially on an improvisational level.  I believe that one reason why Ted could play such beautiful music was that he was a very kind, humble, loving person on the inside....and it just naturally came out in his playing.

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--Paul
TLerch

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Posts: 251
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Guys,
 I have had problems with my arms and wrist in the past few years and was wondering if I would have to get a surgery or something. (last resort) I recently became aware of work book called Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (and other repetitive stress injuries) by Sharon J. Butler.
The exercises in the book have been a remarkable help to me. I have found that if I just spend a few minutes a few times a day to stretch the problem areas, I can function almost pain free. It also seems the longer I am consistent with the stretches the less of a problem I have in general. Her system really deals with the body as a whole and you'd be surprised how your shoulders for instance can affect your hands etc. This is a great relief for me and I recommend that guys like me who are getting older and need to pay close attention to the tools learn how to take good care of themselves. Probably don't need to buy a book if you have other resources but I found it helpful to have it all spelled out.
all the best
 Tim
mark_h

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Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #4 
I can certainly relate to your comment about practise vs exercise. I have often thought that if the rest of my body got the workout my fingers do then I would look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I pulled a tendon in my leg about two years ago and I was aware that I shifted my weight slightly onto the other leg when standing to play. I have wondered if that may have contributed. I have been doing some stretching recently which has seemed to help so I will check the book out. Thanks Tim.
I did some Yoga a few years ago and I noticed that shifting some of the "knots" out of my system could make  as much difference to my playing as a practicing.

klasaine

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Posts: 176
Reply with quote  #5 
Yes, me too to all the above.
For my particular case it was 'adding a new activity set' to my life ... picking up my kid, putting him in the car seat, pushing a stroller.  My hands and arms were fine for 30 years of playing - most of it hard playing and long hours of it.
Essentially what happened was that my hands and arms were at their maximum. As soon as I added new activities that used the same muscles and tendons they SCREAMED "NO!". I went to a chiropractor (specializing in dancers and musicians) who did in fact involve me in a whole-body approach to helping the problem. I did two months of once a week therapy (not cheap) and it dramatically helped me. I do have to go back a couple times a year for a tweak here and there. In fact I need one right now as I was grading soil in my back yard and definitely hurt my elbow.
*You get older and things just ain't the same - lol!
I'm gonna check into that book Tim. Thanks for the recommendation.

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ken lasaine
James

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Posts: 337
Reply with quote  #6 
I had tendonosis type pain for a couple of years. I rested as much as I could but didn't really get over it. Finally, I discovered on the internet that tendonosis can be a side effect of taking resveratrol. I had daily been taking resveratrol, the stuff from red wine that is supposed to help with cholesterol and even longevity. I immediately stopped taking the resveratrol. Within days, my tendonosis was gone and gradually my left thumb pain went away. It's gone. So I am ecstatic. But at the same time, I kick myself so much for causing my own misery. For a few years!

So, please eat right and exercise. AND be extra careful to investigate side effects of herbs, supplements, or prescription drugs.
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