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Thread: Tennis Elbow suks! :-(

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    Senior Member 11top's Avatar
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    Unhappy Tennis Elbow suks! :-(

    I have been taking a few lessons lately, and we have been working on fast up and down triad picking. I've been practicing this at home a lot, and apparently have developed a bad case of tennis elbow on my picking arm from it. Anybody else ever suffered through that? I've never had it before and it sucks!
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    Steve, I have dealt with it in both elbows. It was so severe that it would wake me up at night when I rolled over and pulled up the covers. I had cortisone shots in both elbows (you REALLY don't want to know how painful that was), and ended up having surgery on my left elbow. The recovery from the surgery was the single most painful event in my life. I never went through with the surgery they wanted to do on my right elbow. Call me if you want to talk about it.

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    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    I had pretty serious problems with my right arm a few years ago - could hardly shake a hand. Mine was corrected with some physio. An ultra sound that stimulates the tissue as opposed to taking a picture of it (I assume it is a different frequency) a couple of times a week for about 6 weeks did most of the work. The therapist strongly encouraged my to wear a wrap around the arm below the elbow when doing any work with the arm (golf, tennis, even banging away at a keyboard). I backed off to just wrapping when I'm doing anything that would put any stress on the joint.
    As a preemptive measure if it starts feeling at all sore, I rub the muscles a bit with some lubricant - I don't think it matters much what, because I believe it is the rubbing that does the work - I basically stretch the muscle away from the joint for a couple of minutes.

    The other thing I've done when I've had trouble with joints (this tip from an orthopedic surgeon who helped my when a Dodge planted its headlight in my lower leg) is to alternate wet heat and cold: 5 minutes each then switch. The wet heat is just a damp towel put in the micro wave for long enough to be as hot as you can put on your skin comfortably. The cold is ice cubes in thin towel. the complete cycle is hot-cold-hot-cold-hot. You might hear it referred to as contrast therapy.

  4. #4
    DEEPER STRIATIONS markie's Avatar
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    Worse yet............... Ya keep doing that & you'll go BLIND!
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    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    Fast up and down triad picking?Does that mean 3 notes per string scale practise?Perhaps you have a bad technique....holding the pick too hard and using "elbow picking" that makes your muscles tensing up.
    I de-modded my CU22 soapbar and made a factory spec setup.Im in love again.I very much believe now PRS guitars are perfect as they are.

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    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    Sorry Steve that sucks...I've never had to deal with that one...I have a few other sports related injuries that cause me to have pain in certain positions when I play...I would see a good doctor as opposed to any old doctor...and then maybe lay off for awhile... Or adapt or change your positions...you sure it's the guitar and not due to some way your sitting at work or driving?

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    Senior Member 11top's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyMoonsRJT View Post
    Sorry Steve that sucks...I've never had to deal with that one...I have a few other sports related injuries that cause me to have pain in certain positions when I play...I would see a good doctor as opposed to any old doctor...and then maybe lay off for awhile... Or adapt or change your positions...you sure it's the guitar and not due to some way your sitting at work or driving?
    Actually, I'm not sure of the cause. It may be too much time on the computer. I also work my biceps and triceps pretty hard with dumbbells, but I've been doing that for 40 years and never had this problem. The picking exercise is the only real change in my routine, so it's the main suspect.
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    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11top View Post
    Actually, I'm not sure of the cause. It may be too much time on the computer. I also work my biceps and triceps pretty hard with dumbbells, but I've been doing that for 40 years and never had this problem. The picking exercise is the only real change in my routine, so it's the main suspect.
    When I was diagnosed my doctor suggested I use less weight and do more reps. I was skeptical, but like the results - though I couldn't cut the weight for push ups.

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    I went through that a couple years ago and thought for sure my guitar playing was over. I had 2 cortisone shots and after second I think I would have been far better off without either. They make the pain go away, once the pain from shot dies down, but they thin the tendon too. So after second shot I actually tore a bit of muscle because I should have been avoiding things that would make it worse. With no pain, I plowed ahead and caused worse damage. Physical therapy, two 6-week rounds - 3x/wk - about 6 months apart, did the trick finally. There are some dumbbell exercises you can do with 1,2 and 3 lb weights that PT should show you. I kept that up for another 6 months and it's finally about 98% healed. I still can irritate it on long motorcycle rides and extended acoustic guitar playing while sitting. The moment I feel it beginning to ache, I stop what I'm doing and do the massaging like mentioned earlier (except on bike, I can't actually stop but will massage at stop lights and such.
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    Senior Member MA Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOBirds View Post
    I went through that a couple years ago and thought for sure my guitar playing was over. I had 2 cortisone shots and after second I think I would have been far better off without either. They make the pain go away, once the pain from shot dies down, but they thin the tendon too. So after second shot I actually tore a bit of muscle because I should have been avoiding things that would make it worse. With no pain, I plowed ahead and caused worse damage. Physical therapy, two 6-week rounds - 3x/wk - about 6 months apart, did the trick finally. There are some dumbbell exercises you can do with 1,2 and 3 lb weights that PT should show you. I kept that up for another 6 months and it's finally about 98% healed. I still can irritate it on long motorcycle rides and extended acoustic guitar playing while sitting. The moment I feel it beginning to ache, I stop what I'm doing and do the massaging like mentioned earlier (except on bike, I can't actually stop but will massage at stop lights and such.
    Steve:

    +1 on PT being the best path. I have been struggling with this in my right elbow for 5 years, I broke a rib and did nothing for 6 weeks and then got right back into my exercise routine and tweaked the elbow. Had to go to PT for a few months to get it under control.

    I still struggle with it, what aggravates it for me is NOT playing guitar, but the computer, pulling around suitcases around and wrestling with my kids.

    If it acts up on me and I go back to the exercises I learned at PT, it gets better. Not 100% gone, but under control.

    Good luck with it!

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOBirds View Post
    I went through that a couple years ago and thought for sure my guitar playing was over. I had 2 cortisone shots and after second I think I would have been far better off without either. They make the pain go away, once the pain from shot dies down, but they thin the tendon too. So after second shot I actually tore a bit of muscle because I should have been avoiding things that would make it worse. With no pain, I plowed ahead and caused worse damage. Physical therapy, two 6-week rounds - 3x/wk - about 6 months apart, did the trick finally. There are some dumbbell exercises you can do with 1,2 and 3 lb weights that PT should show you. I kept that up for another 6 months and it's finally about 98% healed. I still can irritate it on long motorcycle rides and extended acoustic guitar playing while sitting. The moment I feel it beginning to ache, I stop what I'm doing and do the massaging like mentioned earlier (except on bike, I can't actually stop but will massage at stop lights and such.
    I'm also a fan of pt...again i had a different injury but this is what I would do-

    If it doesn't go away with rest, moist heat, ice, and nsaids I would find a good sports ortho...get a proper diagnosis (took me 24 doctors over a year before i ended up at HSS with the correct doctors and diagnosis) May just need rest and protection until the nerves calm down....may need a shot and/or PT..personally after a shot for my injury...(too much info but...torn labrum in hip, complicated by FAI, and athletic pubalgia that messed up my oblique and adductors) and doing PT diligently I have avoided the knife and am doing much better. I would try to be mindful during the day to see what pisses it off...then I would modify my activities for awhile...sucks I've had to change playing positions in all sorts of wacky ways to avoid pain.

    Steve-sorry to hear you've got this going on...no fun at all.
    Last edited by Dirty Bob; 05-26-2012 at 08:38 PM.

  12. #12
    Junior Member mithogo's Avatar
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    Tennis and golfers elbow aka lateral and medial epicondylitis.

    I had it, once from throwing and once from using a hammer during a DIY project. At one point, I could not raise my hand above shoulder level before the pain kicked in.

    Physical therapy was a great help. The therapists also gave me exercises to prevent it from returning.

  13. #13
    Bridge constructor MykeWright's Avatar
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    Steve, correct "form" when playing, physical training and massage are all great suggestions and should help enormously. One medication that hasn't been mentioned that's far less dramatic than cortisone shots is Diclofenac Sodium, sometimes sold under the brand name of Voltarol - it's available in tablet form and also as a gel. Over here it's available over the counter from a pharmacist in weaker (12.5mg per tablet) form or on prescription from the doctor at 50mg per tablet.

    I've suffered from what I call "mouse elbow" for a number of years and more recently tendon inflammation around my ankles from very tight calf muscles. It's been a huge help in relieving the pain from both problems. Get better soon.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by 11top View Post
    I have been taking a few lessons lately, and we have been working on fast up and down triad picking. I've been practicing this at home a lot, and apparently have developed a bad case of tennis elbow on my picking arm from it. Anybody else ever suffered through that? I've never had it before and it sucks!
    Steve, are you playing tennis with a guitar? that might be most of your problem.

    I have been dealing with tendonitis in both forearms for years (repetitive strain injuries from my primary occupation). Pain is so bad I had to switch from playing drums to playing guitar.

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