2012/08/29

Rock of aging

What a drag it is getting old
("Mother's Little Helper" by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)

Mick and Keef probably know a bit more about that now than they did when they wrote the song. I'm not as old as they are, but I'm not that far behind. I know a bit more about getting old than I once did. And yep, it sucks. But as my former therapist says, it's better than the alternative.

Given my age, I really have very little to complain about. I'm generally healthy. I don't have any debilitating conditions. I am not suffering. My life is quite good.

Still, all is not copasetic. I have a problem: tendonitis. Tennis elbow, to be exact, although I don't play tennis. I realize that sounds minor. But remember one thing: I am a guitarist.

Playing guitar and tendonitis in the elbow do not mix. Neither do tendonitis and hauling your own gear.

I had it first in my right elbow. I blamed excessive mousing for that, because I have had repetitive strain injuries in that arm in the past. I ignored it, and it has pretty much gone away (although not entirely). But curiously, the left elbow really kicked in a few weeks ago, pretty much out of nowhere. Can't blame mouse use for that. My massage therapist says it's from playing guitar. And here I was joking with someone that, given how little I practise and play, I couldn't possibly injure myself!

Maybe I need to play more, not less. Like doing exercise. But once you get an injury, often you have to stop doing what you need or want to be doing or else it won't heal. I do tend to ignore minor complaints like this and hope they will just go away over time, as seems to have happened with my right elbow. But the left feels pretty bad—the elbow as well as muscles above and below. Just doing something like pulling a plug that sticks out of an electrical socket hurts, and I can feel the lack of strength in my hand and arm while doing it.

Lisa's Hotcakes rehearsed last night. I didn't have any problem playing a set's worth of material. But it's a little scary. It's not like I make my living from playing guitar, as in making money to live off. But "living" is more than money. For me, living and playing guitar kind of go together. I've been playing since I was 15 years old. Not being able to play would be devastating for me.

And we have a gig coming up on September 8, and only a little over a month later a recording session booked. Somehow this has to get better without my doing what I probably ought to do to help it.

Sweetie, inveterate interweb searcher, found some good stretches. The massage therapist gave me her advice, mostly involving ice packs. I will do what I have to do.

So anyway, that's why I can't help you move. Sorry!

4 comments:

MgS said...

One of the best exercises for tendonitis is swimming (on this, I speak from experience). There's something about the range of motion that swimming requires in combination with suspending the body in water (taking the weight off things) that really helps.

I've had moderate tendonitis in both arms for years, and although swimming can aggravate it when overdone, the activity has been very effective in helping me manage the problems.

Aerin Caley said...

See, if you visited, I could work on that elbow for you!!

Véronique said...

Swimming. Now that's a thought. I've been trying to figure out some kind of winter exercise that I will actually do. I'm very bad at things I don't like (most of the gym). My problem with swimming is time, mainly the overhead involved -- to and from the pool, prep, shower. But maybe it would be good for both my general health and my arm health. Thanks!

Andréa Hector-Brown said...

i just sent you a message on fb, but i'll send it here too.

i couldn't even move fingers enough to pick up an empty plastic bag, never mind play my instruments.

call kevan shong: 604.540.1551

i no longer have carpal tunnel, tendonitis, nor raynodes (sp?!?)