Magic hands… and fingers!

Barefoot Physiotherapy Sal Oliver Lange

We’re a pretty musical bunch down here at the Blue House… Cherelle is off at Splendour as I’m writing this and Sal and I are busy practising our sweet tunes to play for her when she gets back (we’re thinking Blur but are open to requests). We thought you might want to hear more about playing Guitar from a physio’s point of view.

Since age five I was put into piano lessons (which I stuck out for a LONG 10 years), which actually built a great foundation for my passion of music.

This soon developed into what I thought were “cooler” instruments, focusing strongly on guitar. I have now played guitar for roughly 12 years (although currently not as often as I would like).

This love of music mixed with a determined personality makes for long hours put in when trying to learn a new riff of song.

About a two years ago when I was trying to master Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, I roughly put in 15 hours of practice over a weekend. When Monday rolled around I had a very sore neck, a throbbing wrist and almost bloody fingers. Although my raw fingers were directly caused by an accumulation of pressing them against wire strings for so many hours, I very well could have avoided a sore neck and wrist.

Especially when putting in hours after hours of practicing a musical instrument you have to remember to protect your body. It is so easy to get caught up in playing and forget this. Check out two of the most common postural mistakes when playing guitar (especially beginners!).

WRIST POSITION:

Take note of the photos below:

Physiotherapy for guitarists

On the left – notice the flexed wrist position. This compresses the blood vessels and nerves travelling through the wrist. Staying in this position for prolonged times will give you a sore wrist in the short term and can lead to more serious problems long term (Carpal Tunnel syndrome for example)

On the right – Good wrist posture. Notice the neutral wrist position. Happy wrist and hand!

POSTURE

Have a look at the photos below:

Posture for guitarists Physiotherapy

On the left – Poor playing position – notice the hunched over back and the flexed/bent forward neck. This position is sure to give me a sore neck and back!

On the right – Good posture! What a rock star! Notice the neutral spine and neck position. Although it can be more challenging to learn guitar without constantly staring at your hands, you will become more comfortable in the future and your body will thank you!

Any song requests?

Ben