We’ve all heard the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ – and playing the guitar can come with its fair share of pain! However, some injuries are more pain than they’re worth, especially if they prevent you from playing. We’ve rounded up the most common guitar related injuries and provided explanations on how to avoid them.
A snapped string to the face
Ask most serious guitarists and they’ll tell you they’ve had a string break and hit them in the face while tuning at least once. Some might even be part of the exclusive ‘guitar string in the eye’ club (which no one aspires to be a member of). It’s unfortunately a pretty big club, as online forums and YouTube will tell you.
However, there are simple steps you can take to stop yourself getting this unfortunate injury. If you regularly play live, consider restringing your guitar at least once a month. You might also want to have a look at your frets, bridge and tuning posts for signs of wear and tear.
Tennis elbow – or lateral epicondylitis to give it its hard-to-pronounce technical term – is a condition that affects the upper forearm. If you have tennis elbow, you’ll feel pain when you lift or bend your arm, grip an object or twist your forearm when opening something like a door.
The cause of it? Overusing the muscles attached to your elbow which help straighten your wrist. So, if you over-practice on the guitar and put more pressure on the fret board than you need to, you might need someone to open a door for you!
In the meantime, though, there are ways to get rid of tennis elbow if you’re unlucky enough to get it.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A quick Google search highlights just how many musicians have this injury. Its symptoms include tingling, pain, numbness or discomfort in the index and middle fingers and thumb, which is hardly ideal when guitarists use all three most often to play.
Given that the chief cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is excess pressure on the wrist, it’s no surprise that guitarists are particularly at risk of getting it.
But fear not – if you get this injury, there are plenty of strengthening exercises you can do to make sure you’re back on stage in no time.
Arguably the most common of the guitar related injuries, tendonitis refers to the inflammation of tendons – with guitarists often suffering in their wrists. Most of them describe the feeling as a ‘dull ache’, as tendonitis causes muscle tightness, connective tissue constriction and pain.
As you may have guessed, it is caused due to friction and strain produced due to overuse of the wrist muscles. If you get it due to long hours and bad posture during guitar practice, try this follow-along video for guitarists explaining how you can relieve the symptoms of tendonitis.