Pain in fingers of left hand

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Verzila, Oct 23, 2021.

  1. Verzila

    Verzila Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    202
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    WR15 8PH, United Kingdom
    I've started noticing pain in the first two fingers of my left hand (fretting hand - I'm a right-hander). Doesn't seem to be getting in the way of my playing much at the moment, but there are the odd times when I have trouble making the chord right first time because of stiffness.

    I'm 55. Does this sound like the moment I've been dreading, when arthritis or some other kind of joint pain kicks in, meaning I can't play as I once did? Anyone else experience something similar?

    Is there anything I can do to alleviate this?
     
    Flip G, Telecaster88 and nojazzhere like this.
  2. MTPoteet

    MTPoteet Tele-Meister

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    236
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2021
    Location:
    right here
    I'm getting it too in my strumming hand.
    Sorry to hear about yours.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  3. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,166
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    It could be a lot of things including just muscle fatigue, or a bad movement that made you pinch your nerve. I have chronic problems due to vertebral nerve compression. I've learned to live with it and be careful. In general a good warmup and good posture helps a lot in preventing injuries. Don't panic just yet ;D
     
  4. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    1,247
    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle WA
    I'm experiencing some soreness in both hands, mainly at the base of the thumb and first knuckle index finger.

    Doctor recommended an OTC product, Voltaren. It seems to have helped some; I've been using it for 4 weeks.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  5. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,152
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    CoolsVille
    I've got something going on with my fretting hand. Knuckle pain on pinky finger and the even the skin at that knuckle is sore/sensitive to the touch. Plus the whole hand sometimes feels a little numb/tingly.

    It's been in and off for roughly 2 months (I'm 45).
     
  6. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,701
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    Something's starting to kick in, it seems.
    Step 1: diagnosis
    Step 2: treatment (there are many, for whatever it is). Choose your poison wisely.
     
    nojazzhere and RadioFM74 like this.
  7. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    11,276
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Location:
    Horn Lake, MS
    I can't play more than 5 minutes now without my hands cramping up.
    Arthritis, nephropathy, nerve damage and other issues can do a lot to keep you from playing.
    Put a open tuning on your guitar and fret with one finger or use a slide when it gets difficult.
     
    srvy likes this.
  8. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Holic

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    767
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2018
    Location:
    San Jose
    I have had some hand problems starting in my 40's. If I were you I'd see a doctor just to get an expert opinion. I use glucosamine chondroitin but I'd check with a DR first.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  9. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2020
    Location:
    California Bay Area
    Rotate the affected knuckles by grasping the finger with the other hand, and gently (not so that you're creating pain) move the finger in a circle at that joint.

    Gently. The idea is to get stuff moving around in the joint - circulation, synovial fluid, etc. You aren't aiming to stretch it. You're aiming to remind it that it's mobile. And clean it out, if there's stuff in there which hasn't been flushed away by circulation or exercise. Stuff which can cause inflammation or irritation inside the joint.

    This can be done at every finger joint, whether first, second or last joint.

    Five minutes twice a day, both directions, see if it helps. This is no substitute for having a professional look at it, but even if they do, and they want to do things like prescribe pills, shots, surgeries, supplements, whatever, don't accept any of that without determining whether this easy, free, gentle self-care is effective first.

    None of that can do what simple mobility can do. I'm not saying mobilizing the joint will fix a serious problem, but don't let someone convince you you have a serious problem without trying something simple, free and harmless first.

    Oh, plus, you're in the UK, so it'll be eighteen months before you can see someone anyway.
     
    GreatDaneRock likes this.
  10. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,429
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Location:
    europe endless
    Do you bend your wrist?

    I can get away with some bend on tele/electric nut width, but I was playing my friend’s classical the other day at a more flat angle and was in some pain.

    make sure the neck is up high at a 45 (like classical with the first fret at eye level...not necessarily on your legs like that, you can use a strap sitting) and gravity does the work and see how that goes for you.
     
    Telecaster88 and Gimble like this.
  11. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    6,272
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    See a specialist. Get a diagnosis. Some problems go away in time, others worsen. Unless you play for hours a day, you are pretty young for pain of that sort. Failure to rest and treat the pain properly can lead to long-term pain or disability.
     
  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    16,797
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Location:
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I have something different I think. I was a neon glassblower for twenty years, and there were times it was simply unavoidable to get my right hand too close to the fires, and it was either tolerate it for a few seconds, or drop the piece I'm working on and lose it. I now have nerve damage, mainly in my right thumb and forefinger.....making it difficult to grasp and hold a pick very well. My solution is now to modify my large, triangular Clayton picks with Gorilla glue, shaped like a very shallow volcano. It gives me something to grip to. Plus, I have to mentally focus to keep hold of the pick. Not easy, but I've yet to drop my pick. (knock wood)
     
  13. TCA117

    TCA117 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    179
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Wear a wrist brace when you sleep and see if it feels any better after a couple of days. When my fingers are sore that does the trick for me. Probably tendinitis.
     
    Telecaster88 likes this.
  14. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    A guitar forum is the last place to seek medical advice so this isn’t advice. It’s a true story with a cautionary statement at the end.

    I’ve posted in arthritis threads in the past. I have osteoarthritis but it’s manageable. I was feeling hand pain, especially in my left index finger. I was having shoulder pain as well, in both shoulders. It was treated with meloxicam, an NSAID, and a salicylate rub for the shoulders. It started getting worse this spring. I came back from a bike ride with unbearable left hand and shoulder pain. I started rubbing Voltaren into the shoulder and hand and ignored the paid. I don’t let pain hold me back.

    I went to my primary and told him about it. He told me to stay off the bike and get a nuclear stress test. That’s a test from a cardiologist. I was in Mt. Sinai a week after the stress test for an angiogram and two stents. I’ll get at least one more stent on November 5.

    A month after the first two stents the shoulder pain is typical of mild to moderate osteoarthritis and the pain in my left hand is gone. I’m not back to normal but I feel a lot better. I’ll probably feel better still after the next procedure.

    So this isn’t medical advice. It’s a cautionary message. Pain in the left may be arthritis. It may be nothing. It may be a warning of a problem while it’s still a minor problem. I’m not being alarmist, but tell your doc about it next visit. Left shoulder pain is a stronger indicator that something may be amiss. Get to a doctor pronto if you experience new or increasingly severe left shoulder pain.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  15. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,500
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Location:
    Lalaland
    Depending on how bad it is, physical therapy or Cortizone shots. I usually soak my fretting hand in hot water from the tap for 3 or 4 minutes before playing. Try and get the water as hot as you can stand it and after a few seconds your hand adjusts and feels comfortable in the hot water. Seems to relax my hand and it feels loosey goosey and ready for playing.
     
    2HBStrat and Telecaster88 like this.
  16. Flip G

    Flip G Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    488
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    Kitchener ON
    "Take your hands for a swim" is the advice I've always followed when my fingers have cramped up. Fill a sink with hot water and wiggle your hands and wrists around in it for four or five minutes.

    I hope it's not arthritis. Stay well!
     
    Maguchi likes this.
  17. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,381
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    Make sure you're hydrated. I've had some "mornings after" where the left hand cramped.
     
    Maguchi likes this.
  18. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,002
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Location:
    Four Rivers Area of Middle America
    See your primary care provider or an orthopedic doctor. I developed pain and stiffness/soreness in my left hand middle finger which made certain parts or chords like first position Fmaj7 difficult to play.. I thought it was trigger finger, but an x-ray confirmed arthritis. An injection has made some improvement. See your doc...
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
  19. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    6,195
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I think it is likely just the long term repetitive nature of things. I think breaking the pattern by using a capo to alter the angles a little bit might help break up that repetitve grind....even better, change to acoustic for awhile, anything to keep the routine from becoming routine.

    I am also a HUGE believer in a warm bath with epsom salt. I have cured myself of everything from severe burns to kidney stones using epsom salt soaks and always turn to it for just about anything that ailes me.
     
  20. Greg70

    Greg70 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    602
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2021
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    Have you changed any other activities? When I was 23 I was in a band practicing most days and also working a cash register at a grocery store. That involved taking each item out of the customer's shopping cart, scanning it, and placing it on the belt. A 4-6 hour shift involved hundreds of cycles of this. After a few months I started to get carpal tunnel syndrome. My left hand would cramp up badly because I play right handed and that's the main hand I used at work. I started using my right hand for work to give the left a break. I eventually got a different job and the problem went away.
     
    Telecaster88 and Blackmore Fan like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.