I spend a lot of time watching musicians play music. Because I’m a guitar player, I tend to watch other guitar players more closely. I watch videos online, I see live performances, I teach, and play with other musicians. I have noticed a few things that guitar player’s do that will eventually hurt them. It is not uncommon to have wrist, back, shoulder, or neck problems because of the guitar. Here are a few techniques that prevent injury.
- Use proper posture.
Wrist: It is important to keep your wrist straight. I have seen a lot of guitarists and bassists with bent wrists. This is a common reason for wrist pain and fixing this will protect you from creating wrist problems. Sometimes you may need to bend your wrist a little bit, but what causes the problem is having a bent wrist for an extended period of time. Keep this from becoming a habit.
Back: Sit straight when you play. Sometimes it is tempting to slouch, but this can cause back pain. When you are standing make sure you are not leaning forward, this can cause back pain as well.
Stretching your hands, arms and shoulders are a great routine to get into before you play. This can prevent injury as well as help you reach really stretchy chords. Before a gig it can feel good to do a whole body stretching routine.
- Don’t overplay
A common reason for injury is over playing. I suggest that you make it a habit to take breaks during your practice session. If you feel any pain while playing you should stop immediately and rest. It is better to lose 5 minutes of practice than to deal with an injury for the next 2 months.
- Overall Health
It is important to be healthy. Work out and eat well and your body will resist injury better. You guitar may not feel as heavy; you won’t get tired throughout the gig as much. Overall health can also make you mentally sharper which will help you play better.
Try these tips and you will be much less likely to get injured while playing guitar. All of these solutions are fairly simple and are easy to incorporate into your playing routine. Just start trying it and see how it works for you.
Notice: If you are already experiencing pain, although these techniques may help alleviate the pain I do suggest you visit your doctor for any necessary treatment.