A New Project for 2017 – My First Book! And it’s Designed with You, Dear Readers, in Mind

 

Hello All! As I alluded to in my last blog post I have a bit of an exciting project underway. And let’s get real here, it won’t be late 2016 as I guessed it could be, timing-wise. Who am I kidding! Besides I want to do it properly as I’m working on it with you folks in mind. It will be something to look forward to in the New Year.

So what is it?! I hear you exclaim!

Alright, alright.

It’s a book!

Yep, a book. I’ve been writing the blog for so long now, and with so much material under the belt, and a wealth of learnings, knowledge and experience over the last five or so years (in addition to that that I started out with when I started the blog) that I thought I’d be daft not to really. That and I really like helping folks out, through the medium of the written word in particular.

So what will said book be about?

I don’t have a solid title for the book as yet (although have a few ideas floating around), but the book will be about injury and pain management and prevention for guitarists.

Why this particular topic?

As long-time readers of the blog will know I’ve been through somewhat of a journey myself with some really troublesome pains, aches and general niggles. And thankfully through that journey of exploration, talking with various professionals, medical and musical alike, I’ve now come through the other side to be able to play (and importantly, live my day-to-day life!) without those pains that once troubled me and seemed to be insurmountable at one point.

I’d like to gather everything together about that journey and my learnings and share with the whole wide world, with the aim of helping folks that might be going through the same or similar experiences.

The most popular blog posts, out of everything I’ve written over the last few years, are those about injury and pain management and prevention. I also still get a number of email questions (which I’m always happy to answer to the best of my knowledge, experience and ability by the way) on the subject too.

What better way to share than with a book?

photo-on-27-11-16-at-4-48-pm-2
Yours Truly getting to work on the book!

When can I get my grubby, string-calloused guitar players mitts on this creation?

Oooh, I’ll have to keep you posted on that one in terms of exact timing, but at this stage I’m saying the first quarter of 2017.

And how do I get a hold of it? Will it be in my local bookstore?

At this point it will be available on Amazon, in Kindle eBook and paperback versions.

Keep an eye out on the blog for updates as I progress with the book – at the moment I have the contents page, rough layout and a rough draft of Chapter 1. I’ll keep you updated as to how things are going. And if there’s anything you’d like to read about, or for me to provide detail and guidance on in the book, I’m more than happy to consider all requests, thoughts and ideas (sensible ones, of course. Let’s not get silly, now!).

And another reason to keep an eye out on the blog is a newsletter that I’m considering kicking off in the New Year, along with some free stuff. Like I said, watch this space!

Ciao!

Nicole

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Avoiding hand and wrist injury when playing guitar – part one

I’m talking about the right hand here (or left hand if you’re a South Paw) and injury management and remediating a playing style that has brought about injury is something I have first hand (ahem, ‘scuse the pun) experience of. Yup, I have experienced the pain and annoyance of an injured wrist, with carpal tunnel syndrome type symptoms. I also have experience in successfully remedying the situation – phew!

English: Transverse section of the wrist. Base...
English: Transverse section of the wrist. Based off Gray’s anatomy diagram of the same. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I’ve learnt and then implemented (and then helped others with subsequently) is that your seated posture with your guitar is so very important, as this then influences the position of your right arm and hand in relation to that.

Problems can begin to arise over time where the wrist is being cramped up and squished up (technical term there) frequently over time. And this tends to occur if you’re playing with your right hand more or less at 90 degrees, or a similar angle, to your forearm. There are other influencing factors, but we’ll talk about those in other blog posts.

Some people seem to manage playing in this way without trouble. However, talking from my own personal experience, other teachers and a number of students that come my way, this is not the case for a significant number of guitarists.

One of the first steps in remedying that tingling, pins-and-needles, numb and often painful feeling in the wrist, thumb, palm and/ or fingers is to reposition yourself so that your hand and forearm are more or less in a straight line. It doesn’t have to be perfectly, ruler straight, but should be more straight than less so, most of the time.

Think about it – the wrist is not a massive space. This is the passageway that connects your forearm and your hand, with bone and connective making up its structure and a whole heap of tendons and nerves passing through it. Squishing up that area with a flexed 90 degree type playing style with your right hand is (a) going to make the fingers more difficult to move in the first instance as the tendons are not able to move as freely as they might otherwise, and (b) impinging on these tendons and nerves in this way over time – frequently, regularly and consistently (and with tension involved – but we’ll talk about that later) is going to increase the likelihood of inflammation, entrapment and compression. This can then lead to pain, pins-and-needles and weakness in the wrist, hand and fingers, which can then lead to reduced playing ability and in the severest cases may mean you need to stop playing altogether – not good!

Playing with a more open right wrist, facilitated by keeping a straighter line between hand and forearm, will set you on the path to remedying an existing situation (as it did with myself). Even better, if you’re just setting out on the path of learning to play the guitar or picking it up again after a hiatus, instil this as your “situation normal” way of playing from the outset. It will make things a heck of a lot easier and  a lot less painful instilling this as a new hair rather than undoing the painful and potentially debilitating alternative.

* NB – this blog post doesn’t in any way represent any medical advice and if you have pain you should always seek medical attention.