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Hand Cramping?

richb

Inspired
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I'm 54 and play in a band. We rehearse once a week for about 2 hours and I generally play 30 minutes 2-3 times a week. We gig 1-2 times per month and the gigs are 3 hours long with a 15 minute break. This has been my schedule for the last 4 years.

In the last 4-6 weeks I developed "trigger finger" on my left, middle finger. The finger is very stiff in the morning, but loosens up fairly quickly, however, I cannot still make a complete fist. My Dr. prescribed Prednisone, and at the end of my script, it didn't seem to help much. He said a cortisone shot might be next.

Now, this last Saturday I played a gig and with 2 songs left on the night, the index finger on my left hand began to cramp to a closed position. I was able to shake it off and finish the set. Since the I noticed that BOTH my hands ache. I have not changed my gear, my playing habits, etc. I have not engaged in anything that would strain my hands.

Playing guitar is my great joy and at 54, I'm nervous that body is telling me my playing days might be at the beginning of winding down, which would be heartbreaking. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, advice, thoughts? Thanks
 

Geezerjohn

Fractal Fanatic
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54 is long in my rear view mirror. I really don't think that your playing days are winding down. I am well your senior and still playing and gigging. I occasionally have finger cramps (leg cramps too but they don't count). I find if I keep myself hydrated by drinking a lot of water every day it helps. Once your friends start calling you Sir Pissalot, then you are probably drinking enough water. You can also try a dietary supplement called Triple-Flex. I buy it at Costco, but it may be available elsewhere. Triple-Flex is a joint lubricant but it seems to help with the cramps as well. I hope this helps you Rich. The feeling that your playing days are ending is a real bummer for any lifelong guitar player.

BTW, when I was 54 I thought I was old. I was wrong.
 

Mark-B

Inspired
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Man..Getting older sucks! .. it sure ain't the 80's ..and I sure ain't in my 20's anymore!!!

Do you do any other type of exercise or strenuous work with your hands? ...Since I was a kid and up until a year-or-so ago, I used to practice various MA; I finally had to quit because - amongst a great litany of woes becoming associated with That, at my age, the first three fingers on my fretting hand would just lock-up - any-time of the day, for a few-to-thirty minutes at a time, they would just lock-up.

That cleared up when I quit practicing. I found that quitting that certain type of strenuous exercise which involved my hands kinda cured that. ...still can't hold a pick properly anymore though.. I'll launch a thread one of these days showing how I customize picks for a better grip on the things. ..But I digress..

As for supplements.. I never really found that supplements worked much in any real way for me, personally. They took the edge off at best. Wish I had a miracle cure for you there, but I don't. But changing how I used my hands - becoming more conscious in how I was using them and then avoiding chimp-death-grip and mad-superhero-crap - the kinda stuff I used to get away with when I was a kid - worked for me.

Best of luck with it.

Ageing, as a whole concept.. generally speaking..and putting it mildly? ...is one well rounded utter and complete bitch.
 

BaronVonGrim

Inspired
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Jumbo fret, 24 fret neck, slim elliptical, .780"-.830"... pretty easy to play. Fret spacing isn't a stretch, and less pressure needed to nail the note.
 

Muad'zin

Forum Addict
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And to think they call it the 'Golden Years'. Whoever came up with that must be the same person in denial who coined 'x is the new y'.
 

Sonofiam

Forum Addict
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I'm 54 and play in a band. We rehearse once a week for about 2 hours and I generally play 30 minutes 2-3 times a week. We gig 1-2 times per month and the gigs are 3 hours long with a 15 minute break. This has been my schedule for the last 4 years.

In the last 4-6 weeks I developed "trigger finger" on my left, middle finger. The finger is very stiff in the morning, but loosens up fairly quickly, however, I cannot still make a complete fist. My Dr. prescribed Prednisone, and at the end of my script, it didn't seem to help much. He said a cortisone shot might be next.

Now, this last Saturday I played a gig and with 2 songs left on the night, the index finger on my left hand began to cramp to a closed position. I was able to shake it off and finish the set. Since the I noticed that BOTH my hands ache. I have not changed my gear, my playing habits, etc. I have not engaged in anything that would strain my hands.

Playing guitar is my great joy and at 54, I'm nervous that body is telling me my playing days might be at the beginning of winding down, which would be heartbreaking. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, advice, thoughts? Thanks
I'm 53 and a couple of years ago I had similar finger issues. Not the cramping but very stiff, sore and painful to bend. After a surgery and complications, I had backed off of playing and practicing for several months. Once I realized it, I jumped back into at least running through a couple of scale exercises everyday and the stiffness and soreness went away. Haven't had any finger issues since.

My wife is a supplement/vitamin advocate and from what I've gleaned from her Potassium and Glucosamine might be worth considering. I don't know if you make hand and finger stretches part of your regimen but that may help as well.


And to think they call it the 'Golden Years'. Whoever came up with that must be the same person in denial who coined 'x is the new y'.
I dunno, I'm having more fun and enjoying life more than at any previous age. My interpretation of the "Golden Years" is finally figuring out what is truly valuable, what really matters in life and finding enjoyment in things rather than looking at the negatives.
 

Mark-B

Inspired
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...I dunno, I'm having more fun and enjoying life more than at any previous age. My interpretation of the "Golden Years" is finally figuring out what is truly valuable, what really matters in life and finding enjoyment in things.....
^^^^...this. ..the hysterically liberating upsides to fast-running out of time!! :confused: :D
 

richb

Inspired
Best answers
0
54 is long in my rear view mirror. I really don't think that your playing days are winding down. I am well your senior and still playing and gigging. I occasionally have finger cramps (leg cramps too but they don't count). I find if I keep myself hydrated by drinking a lot of water every day it helps. Once your friends start calling you Sir Pissalot, then you are probably drinking enough water. You can also try a dietary supplement called Triple-Flex. I buy it at Costco, but it may be available elsewhere. Triple-Flex is a joint lubricant but it seems to help with the cramps as well. I hope this helps you Rich. The feeling that your playing days are ending is a real bummer for any lifelong guitar player.

BTW, when I was 54 I thought I was old. I was wrong.
Oh I don’t think I’m old. My hands just suck! Lol! Thanks for the insight.
 

David Houck

Inspired
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The suggestion above to drink more water is a good one. After around age 35, as we grow older our muscles begin losing elasticity; so drinking more water helps with that (it's also good for the kidneys and prostate). Also keeping the fingers and hands limber (and all the muscles in the body for that matter); and practicing scales, etc for a least a little each day on the days you aren't otherwise playing can help with that. You might also want to pay attention to how you're holding your hands and fingers relative to the instrument, noticing any stress, especially in the wrists. Often raising the instrument (shortening the strap) will change your hand positions enough to reduce stress in the wrists.
 

Muad'zin

Forum Addict
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I dunno, I'm having more fun and enjoying life more than at any previous age. My interpretation of the "Golden Years" is finally figuring out what is truly valuable, what really matters in life and finding enjoyment in things rather than looking at the negatives.
That's the only upside to getting older. But what good is it when your body is slowly degrading? Which is why youth is wasted on the young and wisdom is wasted on the old. Neither is in the position to take advantage of their main strength.
 

80sMetalDude

Inspired
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Fitness nut here...play hockey 3x week, lift 4 times a week...i just turned 50 and already starting to see the importance of pre game, pre lift, pre jamming stretches, warm up, etc and especially.....

Like said above water water water and do not skip on a warm up routine or even aside from that exercises that assist with your whole arms through the fingers stretches.

I just saw a YouTube Nita Strauss that showed some very good warm up items...

Gluck and never quit!
 

richb

Inspired
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Thanks VERY MUCH everyone for your input and good advice. For the record, I do not feel old, it's just this thing with my hands has me concerned. As guitarists, I know you can all appreciate that. I think the hydration and hand exercises, stretching, etc., is the first thing I'll focus on.
Thanks again, and Rock-On, my geriatric Brothers! (HA)
 

ibanezfreak4

Forum Addict
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I was able to shake it off and finish the set. Since the I noticed that BOTH my hands ache. I have not changed my gear, my playing habits, etc. I have not engaged in anything that would strain my hands.
A couple things to try:

1) Do you play with a wedding ring? If so, try playing without it
2) Get some products:
Magnesium/Calcium - take 2,000mg+ /day
L-Isoleucine Amino Acids
Glucosamine
Gallon of water /day
3) Stretch the hands during off days

This video @2:07 shows my hand cramping mid-solo, it absolutely pissed me off.

I was so frustrated I did research also to correct it, the above has helped SIGNIFICANTLY.

Cheers, hope it helps!
 
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