I hear about guitar players saying that they get tendonitis sometimes.
I'm a bit concerned about this. In the last year I have developed tendonitis in both quads (which took about 3 months to heal with physical therapy) and in my left rotator cuff and biceps tendon (which is going on 7 months of recovery now and is about 98% healed and is frustrating because I've been out of the gym for 7 months as a result).
I have been a weight lifter off and on (mostly on) for the last 10 years and I've never had anything like this happen until the last year. If anything I do pretty low volume, so it's hard for me to believe I overdid it or overtrained or anything.
So what does this have to do with guitar playing?
Well apparently my body has decided that it likes to get tendonitis now despite me not overtraining. Since I've started playing guitar again after an 8-10 year hiatus, I'm worried that I'm going to end up with some tendon issues in my hands/fingers which I definitely do not want.
To try and combat this I've been doing wrist stretches (prayer pose, reverse prayer pose), forearm extensor exercises (make a "beak" with your hand, now grab it with your other hand and resist as you slowly "open" the beak), and I have been doing ice massages on both hands any time after I play for more than 30 minutes.
An ice massage is this: take a paper Dixie cup and fill it with water and put it in the freezer until it's frozen. Now tear off the top half or 2/3 of the cup and, using the bottom 1/3 of the cup as a handle, use the ice to massage the affected body part. The ice will melt, so do this over the sink. I do my wrists, palm, back of my hand, and my fingers. I spend a few minutes on each hand.
Ice massages have helped with my shoulder tendonitis recovery so I am thinking that by the same method they may help prevent hand tendonitis.
I read some research suggesting that NSAIDs (Ibuprofen) are actually not effective in healing tendonitis and may actually cause the tendon to heal weaker than if the NSAIDs were not used. Plus they can mess with your stomach and I already have some gastrointestinal issues so I don't want to go there if I don't have to.
Have you had any sort of hand or tendon injuries from playing guitar? How did you heal? Do you do any sort of preventative stuff to help keep the repetitive stress injuries at bay? Let's discuss this. As tendonitis is notoriously difficult to fully heal from, it's in all our best interests to not develop it in the first place. I think I read on another forum about a guy who had it and couldn't play guitar for 2 years while he healed. And I've also heard that if it isn't allowed to heal it can become chronic.
I have a friend who does AIS - Active Isolated Stretching - he fixed me up, for awhile I was unable to un-curl my fingers each day until about noon. There was a booklet, it might still be up, there was a guy running a website called Stretching USA which had a booklet.
I think you mentioned some stretches that are similar or exactly the same.
The long-term cure is that the muscles which un-curl the fingers have to become stronger whenever the muscles which curl the fingers become stronger. We sometimes get the curling muscles stronger without strengthening the un-curling muscles at the same time which isnt very good.
To bring immediate relief I think its the same stretches you mentioned, you have to see the pictures to get an idea or have someone show you, one set of excercises is bending the fingers back and the other set is curling them as tight as possible into a fist and then curling the fist as far as it will go with the fist already tight. On both of those the elbow has to be totally straight. There is also the stretch where you bend the fingers sidways and that makes them crack in the most-correct way you can crack them. There are 2 stretches for the thumb which are also cures for the elbow. Then to be totally comprehensive you might want to do the shoulder and the neck which have 6 or 7 stretches each.