As a guitarist, I'm worried about my hands

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I'm a 17 year old male, 5'8, and 120 pounds. I play various genres of guitar, including classical. The only thing I'm good at is playing guitar, and I think I could have a genuine future in playing, which is the reason my hands matter so much to me. Over the last few months, I've focused on lifting weights because of how skinny I am, and recently I've had problems doing it because of apparent problems in my hands. The specific problems I experience are: Stiffness of the joints in my knuckles after carrying something slightly heavy, stiffness in my wrist (including some pain and a feeling like I need to pop the wrist), and slight throbbing pains in my fingers, which seem to occur randomly. Other than this, my fingers are limber, and I can play guitar as quickly as ever, but these symptoms leave me a bit scared. My family has a history of arthritis if that means anything. I told a physical therapist about my pains, to which he suggested that my hands are just weak. I denied this, as my hands are arguably stronger (to scale) than any other muscle group I have. My forearms even look more toned than any other muscle I have. The remaining solution is that my hands are overworked. Does this mean that I can't workout involving my hands, since it always causes me pain? And that I have to have skinny arms forever? I can handle staying skinny, but if I lose the ability to play guitar, it would destroy my mental health. I'm grateful for any advice anyone's able to give, thank you.

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  • Posted

    Check your posture. I started playing classical guitar in my mid-twenties and was making pretty good progress for three or four years.

    Then I started having problems with weakness and soreness in my hands and arms.

    I arms became basically instantly fatigued when I put them over my head.

    What I had was Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), but I didn't know it at the time.

    Even after seen neurologists in two different clinics in my home town none of them alerted me to TOS. I basically got the feeling I was wasting their time.

    I still highly resent the experience with those people who were supposed to help me but just gave me cursory tests.

    I didn't discover that my problem was posture-related. When I corrected my posture after 15 years of problems, most of the weakness in my hands and arms disappeared. I was again able to practice my guitar for three or four hours a day.

    However, the problems resumed when I started working for the USPS and had to engage in a lot of heavy lifting and other work habits that worsened my condition again.

    But I knew my problems originated with very poor posture that caused TOS even though the doctors I saw never mentioned TOS.

    So check your posture. It may seem like a small thing, and that might not be your problem. But it doesn't hurt to check. Have somebody watch you as you walk. Make sure your shoulders aren't slouched when you stand or sit. Walk upright. Not like a soldier but like you have a skyhook attached to the top of your head.

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