How much rest for RSI-like symptoms?


Hi all, I’ve been practicing a bunch lately and about a week ago after pushing a bit too much I felt pain in my picking hand wrist the morning after. So I stopped and rested (last Thursday), however I had to play live on Friday and Saturday. I have been resting ever since however my wrist is still ache-y, so I started wearing a wrist brace as of yesterday. Any thoughts on how long I might need to rest in order for this to heal properly? Right now it’s already longer than any other guitar-injury I’ve ever sustained in the past. Thanks!

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You should consult a licensed doctor.


Definitely consult a doctor, especially if playing is something you do professionally.

In the short run… I had some fretting-hand RSI issues in college, related to repeatedly binge-practicing some very stretchy licks with my guitar slung pretty low. I did a ton of research into it afterwards, and while a lot of the neck choice and positioning things won’t really apply here (though, for future reference, thicker necks tend to stress the wrist less and even at my worst an Ibanez Wizard hurt to play but my Strat felt ok), but as far as general observations, rest, for one, and then since this is often swelling-related, ice and steady ibuprofen should help here. Also look for other things that might be making the issue worse - I briefly had some trouble with pain in my picking hand that I eventually worked out was from using a Jim Dunlop Stubby 3.0 jazz-sized pick (i.e - super thick, no give), and picking pretty heavily, but it was being made worse by spending a lot of time on my computer and using a mouse. I switched picks, rested a bit, but also spent a lot more time really learning to use keyboard shortcuts, and that helped a ton.

Pain sucks… but it’s also a super important feedback mechanism, so use it to figure out what motions are hurting and what aren’t, and see what you can do with that info. And rest as much as you can. Hydration is actually really important here too as it’ll help the healing process.


Thanks Drew, all really helpful advice. The rest has helped a bunch, hopefully ok to start playing again tomorrow, fingers crossed! :slight_smile:

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Make of this what you will:

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Ha! :slight_smile: What should I glean from this - I need more rest? I’m planning to be suuuper careful


It’s impossible for me to know whether you need more rest or not. I’m just saying if the circumstances of your life allow you to rest, a little extra rest now could possibly save you from a bunch of undesired downtime later.

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