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How to Avoid Your Chiropractor: Playing Guitar Without Breaking Your Back

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How to Avoid Your Chiropractor: Playing Guitar Without Breaking Your Back

Overextensions
Overextensions will occur when playing for too long, or playing an instrument that is too big. Personally, I’ve experienced this in my right shoulder where I’d lose feeling in my right hand after playing a little while. Dennis explains that when a person plays guitar, their forearm is down and the shoulder is rotating in. Instead of being in a notch in the humerus bone, the short head of the bicep tendon (on the inside of your shoulder) flips outward.

How do you fix that? Dennis says, “Hold your elbow in with your arm turned to the outside, and lower a weight out as you’re lowering that arm down with your arm turned to the outside—this actually pulls that tendon back into place.”

To illustrate, Lucy uses a Thera-Band Soft Weight to pull the bicep tendon back into place:



How to do it:
  • Hold the elbow of your picking hand against the side of your body with a round, light weight in your hand held up near your shoulder, forearm turned toward your body.
  • Holding the weight, extend your arm slowly until it is extended fully, keeping the elbow near your side and your forearm facing out.
  • Repeat.

Sore Forearms
In addition to using a weight, guitarists can use a simple, non-weighted stick (think dowel or broomstick) to relieve soreness in the forearm. Dr. Dennis explains, “With the forearms, your left forearm is rotated out while your right forearm is rotated in, so that the muscles that rotate your right arm over (pronation) are going to be tighter than those that turn it out (supination).” To fix that imbalance, just grab a two-foot-long stick in the center and flick it back and forth about 20 times.

To illustrate, Lucy flips the stick back and forth several times:



How to do it:
  • Hold a two-foot, non-weighted stick in a closed fist with your arm flat against your side, your elbow at a 90 degree angle, and your forearm facing down.
  • Rotate only your forearm 180 degrees, so your fist and forearm are facing upward.
  • Repeat at a brisk pace for about 20 rotations, then switch hands.
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