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Guitar playing and RSI - Part 1

After chatting with a student of mine earlier about repetitive strain injury I thought it would be useful to write about some of my experiences and things I have learnt over the years about preventing and combating injury. This will probably take a few posts but I'll start with a few things for you to initially think about. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.

We all want to improve as musicians but it is worth being aware that long hours practising without proper technique, warming up, a decent temperature, regular breaks etc could lead to injury. This can be short or long term that may seriously hinder your potential and also general life tasks.

Without going into it too deeply for now here's a few basic tips:

1. Stretch- This is very simple! Just as sportsmen would do before an event or practice session. It's good to get into a regular stretching routine for before, during and after practice sessions and gigs.

2. Computer Games - If you play a lot of Xbox or Playstation, try to spend less time doing so. If you have already experienced pain in your hands or wrists playing games will not help. It could already be the cause of your RSI??

3. Warm up - Just play some simple things first, scales, chromatic exercises. Do these all at a slow tempo to get your joints warmed up and the blood circulating. It's a marathon not a sprint!

4. Iphone - Again, same as I mentioned about the computer games the same principle applies to phones, tablets and laptops.

I'll continue this in the next couple of blogs I write, and will show some warm up routines, stretching exceresiss etc

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