Ridiculous amounts of pain & suffering

…well, kind of…

So I decided to have a break from guitar for a week or so. When I play, I do get tension, especially when moving across strings (Eric johnson pentatonic type stuff), which is something that I’m constantly adjusting and mindful of.

The strange thing is, since I’ve stopped playing, I’ve now got brutal muscle pain down my forearm and inside my elbow. I’ve not really read up on the particular pain but has anyone experienced anything similar?


Diagnosing over the internet = bad, but I’d assume this is either tennis or golfer’s elbow.

EDIT: while generally I’d say just go see a doc, you could start with the RICE protocol. Good luck, hope you heal quickly!

I’ve been through the absolute ringer with pain in the past. To the point where I had to rehabilitate myself by playing 5 mins per day then adding an extra minute a week. No actual injuries though. It took months but I eventually got to the point where I could play for as long as I want again.

You’re right, it’s hard to self diagnose. I do kind of doubt its tennis elbow as I’ve never been diagnosed with that by my physio. Plus, it’s on the inside of my arm and down the top/inside of my forearm.

I think I’ve just totally overdone it again. Probably.

The “inside of the elbow” version is golfer’s elbow. I’d still treat it the same way, RICE and maybe some NSAID like naproxen. Hopefully it heals quickly.

Try using a Theraband Flexbar. Whenever I feel any kind of forearm pain creep up (which is rare) I use this for a few days and it totally knocks it out.


Hey, it’s good to visit a doctor, a traumatologist for example. This is just my experience, I’ve had tennis elbow diagnosed in the past and putting some ice for a few minutes after playing when it has been intense has been good enough for me, they might also recommend to do some form of rehab either at home or at with a PT. Another thing in my case is that since I learned that my primary motion is DSX I try to use it as much as possible, and that has reduced a lot of tension and incidence of tennis elbow. I always tried to do pentatonics like EJ starting with a downstroke, it never worked fast and it created a lot of tension, now I do it like Andy James starting on an upstroke, now I only do USX string changes as a secondary or helper motion and I also try to avoid it on even numbered groupings specially on pentatonics (since you pretty much have no choice but to do either USX or DSX at fast speeds, it’s really hard to get a secondary motion going in there) and also on 4 notes per string even though my secondary motion has gotten good enough where I can do four notes per string at decent speeds with USX string change but again it’s just easier, more natural and faster doing it with DSX. Another thing is that I had to polish some details and movements in my technique, I’ve been using some of @Tom_Gilroy ideas for the fretting hand, specially the power grip and it has been great and also the wrist motion tutorials on Primer to do a proper picking hand motion, I used to do ulnar deviation and that just creates a lot of tension .

I’ve also had golfer’s elbows and cubital tunnel syndrome but they weren’t necessarily caused by guitar but from other physical activities, now I just do some daily stretching and mobility of wrists hands and forearms and just a bit of strengthening of the forearm msotly extensors in my case, to prevent the injuries from re-appearing. And I train my body with bodyweight strength training 2-3 times a week, good for posture, strength and staying healthy,can help with grip stength aswell, you can do any sort of strength training that’s also good for mobility, or add some mobility and flexibilty separate… Don’t want to overdo it since that can also cause injuries and affect guitar playing aswell.

This is interesting. I just bought the green version, feels quite resistant though. The red is massively out of stock everywhere in the uk. I’m wary of overdoing the resistance.

What exercises do you use? Any links would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for the info. Incredible to hear the methods you’ve used to combat certain hurdles!

I used to have debilitating golfer’s elbow and couldn’t play for a long time. The good news is you can get rid of it no matter how severe it is, but it can take a while to rehabilitate tendons – 3 to 6 months is common. It took me two years, but I had an extremely bad case. Rest and stretching won’t fix the problem; you have to strengthen the tendon with weight training. Just like you would with muscle, but the intensity will be much lower.

There are a ton of youtube videos if you search “Theraband Flexbar exercises.” I think I do the one that came with the little instruction page when I got the thing. Its sort of like a motorcycle revving motion, and then theres the inverse of it to target the muscles on the inside of the forearm.

Anyone recovering from golf or tennis elbow NEEDS to get an “Armaid”. Well worth the $90 or so bucks it costs.

Quick update! After a visit to my physio I found out I have a damaged supinator due to my rotational mechanic and, what I think is, a bit of a poor tracking technique.

I like keeping my palm firmly anchored on the bridge so I’m not tracking with my whole arm. Therefore forcing my already supinating forearm to do more of the work.

It’s basically reactive tendinopathy and potentially tendon disrepair. I have a simple supination exercise using a band to do every other day and should be healed in a few weeks!

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Hey that’s good news! If tracking is an issue maybe it’s worth to take a look to see if the shape of your guitar is creating some unnatural positons, this definitely could be unrelated to your issues since it’s a diffenrent inury and pain but just in case. I’ve heard some people having issues on their shoulders when the guitar body was too flat and bridge too low, so they needed models with a differnt body shape that’s more ergonomic like maybe having a slant to place the arm or something like those ESP Horizon Models.