I have been playing blues/jazz and shred guitar on mostly electric guitars for many years. Four months ago, I bought a new classical guitar and in my excitement played continuously through a weekend. On Sunday night, I started feeling some pain in my Forearm Flexor muscles(Fretting Arm). I didn't think much of it, and stopped for the day. The next day when I tried to play again, I couldn't go on for more than 10 seconds due to the severe pain. To be fair, I have been playing for nearly 10 years and marathon sessions are not uncommon, but I had never experienced any discomfort in my arm. I stopped playing completely and went to the doctor; was initially diagnosed as a forearm strain which resolves in 2-3 weeks. However after 2 months and no improvement, I went to a physical therapist who diagnosed it as medial epicondilytis( Golfer's elbow). This pain lasted for about 3 months in total, and was manageable with regular icing.
I have been using the FlexBar for strengthening exercises, and am doing what I can to be more physically fit (I work a stressful job and do not get much time) After the 3 month mark I felt like the pain was mild enough to give playing a try. Big mistake. Withing 20 seconds the pain was back and as bad as it had been initially. Now that my pain is subsidizing again ( I do still have a lot of inflammation on my forearm) , I want to know when I should start playing.
I also would like to hear stories/timelines of this issue, as I haven't found a unified answer anywhere. What methods did you use to treat this? Will I ever be back to my normal skill level again?
Please excuse the verbosity, Thank you
Note: I appreciate suggested changes in technique, and will implement them once I'm back on my instrument. However, I want to stress on how to get better in the first place. It has been 4 months of completely laying off guitar for me, and as mentioned trying to get back to it has been unsuccessful.