Hand and finger cramps

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Hand and finger cramps

Postby Augie Peters » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:14 pm

Hi guys,I'm 68 yrs old and I still play a lot of gigs.My problem is that my hands and fingers on my left hand started cramping about a year ago and has recently gotten worse.Nothing stops a performance and is more embarrassing then to have to stop mid song with your hand all cramped up.So far the doctor says just stay hydrated.It hasn't helped.I've tried
Over the counter homeopathic pills for leg cramps.They seem to lessen the frequency but last a short time.It's kinda like the brakes on your car.If they don't work ALL of the time you don't want to use them at all.
Any fellow Chet pickers have any experience with this ?.Maybe it's just old age and over use :)
Augie Peters
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby PhilHunt » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:51 am

I actually have the same problem but slightly different. I haven't played since May and the other day I picked up the guitar and couldn't play worth squat. My hands cramp up also. One other thing is my left hand fingers start to go numb. I went to the doctor and they told me it could be a pinched nerve in my back which runs all the way down to my fingers. It's primarily the ring finger and pinky finger that go numb. I don't play much anymore and don't have much time to play with my kids being 4 and 2, they are a handful. Hopefully when they get older I'll have more time to devote to playing. I'm thinking about hanging it up for awhile.
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby albertgen » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:03 am

I have the same problem with both hands. Al
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby LarryD » Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:12 pm

Question: Has anyone tried the paraffin wax therapy? My niece uses it for her arthritis, and says it works wonders. I haven't tried it yet though.

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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby Fred » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:08 pm

Are you taking any other kinds of medication?
Sometimes that can cause it.
http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/mu ... rley-horse
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby smokymtguitar09 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:44 am

Bananas and quinine pills! I have a banana a day, which is an old home remedy suggested for my leg cramps in my calves and feet but only a few times in my hands. Some cholesterol medications have side effects of muscle weakness and leg cramps. I get leg cramps with prolonged swimming. My doctor prescribed quinine pills, but I had some side effects, mostly after-taste, and ceased taking them. Don't rule out tendonitis if your hands and fingers get numb when playing fingerstyle. I had that problem and pretty much solved it by holding the guitar in the traditional 'classical position' on my left leg and finding the easier ways of playing the chords.
Ronnie Evans
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby emjaybee94 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:00 am

I too suffer from the odd cramp on my left hand, but it's only when I play certain pieces, so I just leave them out of the session. What I have found to be of assistance though, is to wash my hands with WD40. Might sound a bit odd and dramatic, but it does ease the joints for some people with arthritis. Might be worth giving it a try; it's only a derivative of fish oil, so its not going to cause any other problems.
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby LarryD » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:31 am

I have heard of people that use WD40. They swear by it.
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby bill raymond » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:03 pm

WD-40 is NOT a derivative of fish oil. Although the formula is secret, it does contain 50% mineral spirits, and no fish oil. You can find out more about the product by looking on the WD-40 website.
bill raymond
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Re: Hand and finger cramps

Postby Art Sims » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:37 pm

This is an interesting thread to me because, now 70, I’ve struggled with weak and tender hands since about age 50. Squeeze down on a pair of pliers, open a jar of pickles, play demanding chords on the guitar – what happens? Stiffness, swelling, soreness. And, playing for long periods does indeed bring on the cramps in my left hand. Swelling and stiffness subside after a few days and I can play again. Seeking easy fingerings that don’t demand as much from the hands seems like the best solution for me. One great thing about a guitar is that there are numerous places on the neck where things can be played, some much easier than others, and fortunately, open strings can be mixed in for a lot of the notes when I get the music I play into the most playable keys. Making things easy on the hands is the main thing that enables more playing and for longer periods for me.

I’ve read that Les Paul played into his 90’s with really terrible arthritis in his hands and that Django Reignhart with severe injuries developed techniques for playing with basically two left hand fingers.

Heartfelt sympathies here to all you guys dealing with such things. Finding ways to keep playing can be a challenge. But for those who really love it, you just keep doing what you can.
Art Sims
Art Sims
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