Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury - The Importance of Warming Up

Proper warm up will help you avoid Repetitive Strain Injury

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Believe it or not, the act of playing guitar is not a healthy one for the body. Repetitive movement of the picking hand and the fretting hand, can cause serious damage to the body over long periods of time. This condition, known as Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI, not only affects guitarists and other instrumentalists - although musicians tend to be extremely susceptible to RSI. Many guitarists have experienced mild or serious cases of Repetitive Strain Injuries like Cubital Tunnel Syndrome or Carpal Tunnel Syndromeat some point in their lives.

Although not all RSI can be avoided, properly warming up before one touches their guitar can seriously reduce the possibility of common repetitive strain injuries associated with playing the guitar. Athletes invariably stretch before any serious physical exertion - why should guitarists behave any differently? A web page displaying a series of Stretching Exercises provides illustrated examples of quick and relatively effortless warm up activities designed to limber up muscles, helping to reduce the risk of injury. To find more stretching exercises, designed with the musician in mind, check the Musician's Health site.

Even after the muscles are somewhat more limber, it is important for guitarists to warm up with their instrument in hand, before diving into playing situations. This will not only help prevent repetitive strain injury, but sufficiently limber up a guitarist in order to play more accurately.

Many guitarists will use simple scales, played slowly, accurately, and evenly, to warm up. The Dansm Acoustic Guitar Page has provided a series of warm up exercises for guitar, illustrating some finger techniques guitarists can use to get limber before playing intensely.

For guitarists further interested in preventing serious injury, I recommend reading the excellent, albeit brief, article, Repetitive Strain Injury Prevention Guidelines, written by Dr. Timothy J.

Jameson outlining preventative measures for combating RSI.

Much thought has gone into the prevention of injury, as a result of repetition of irregular body movement. Several methods have been developed, including the Alexander Technique, that focuses on assessing and changing the amount of energy used in daily activities, with the goal of improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The method is one which comes highly regarded within the music community.

When any guitarist properly warms up, it is not only immediately beneficial in terms of technique and fluidity. It also helps to ensure that they'll enjoy healthy and long playing careers, by avoiding problems like repetitive strain injury. It may seem like a bit of a chore, but in the long run, the benefits of warming up will be plainly obvious.

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Cross, Dan. "Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury - The Importance of Warming Up." ThoughtCo, Jun. 1, 2016, thoughtco.com/avoid-repetitive-strain-injury-1711857. Cross, Dan. (2016, June 1). Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury - The Importance of Warming Up. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/avoid-repetitive-strain-injury-1711857 Cross, Dan. "Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury - The Importance of Warming Up." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/avoid-repetitive-strain-injury-1711857 (accessed November 17, 2017).