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What can I do to minimize damage to my picking hand wrist as I practice guitar?

I've heard of many musicians having problems with carpal tunnel and tendonitis, and now some of my friends are even dealing with mild cases (one of them is even less than 17 years old). How can injuries of this type be prevented? What types of stretches of should I look at to protect myself from injury?

I want to be able to enjoy a lifetime's worth of making music, so I'm eager to make sure my body is able to handle it as well.

NOTE: I think this question is fairly instrument-agnostic as nearly all instruments involve repetitive motion, but it could be split up for specific groups of instruments if necessary. I know this is a health topic, but I think it's highly relevant to virtually all musicians.

  • 1
    To be honest, as the question is really "What should I do to reduce my chances of injury from a repetitive activity" I think it should be migrated to fitness.se
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Nov 8, 2011 at 8:43
  • I agree. I could see this possibly working here if it were about a specific instrument and better yet a specific action, but when it's so broad I don't think the average musician has the relevant expertise. On the opposite end, experts in fitness and health should know how to deal with and prevent RSIs.
    – user28
    Nov 9, 2011 at 14:47
  • I disagree - musicians' issues with RSI are very different from, say, computer programmers (I happen to be both ;-) Also, musicians have to build strength, stamina and flexibility, which usually involves some discomfort, which make them more like athletes, except that athletics never (?) involves such fine manual motor movements.
    – WildGeese
    Nov 30, 2011 at 23:09
  • I think if it belongs here, there needs to be a separate question for each type of instrument. A guitarist, drummer, pianist, trombonist, all use completely different muscles. Even an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar player (with light gauge strings and super-low action) would have very different needs.
    – slim
    Dec 18, 2011 at 13:59
  • Looks like a dupe of music.stackexchange.com/q/349/104, but especially in light of @slim's comments I think this is a fitness SE question.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Dec 21, 2011 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


The American Society for Surgery of the Hand

The Electronic Textbook of Hand Surgery: Carpal tunnel syndrome exercises


  • Can you explain some of the exercises? This helps prevent link rot from affecting the helpfulness of the answer.
    – Luke_0
    Nov 4, 2012 at 21:34

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