Sunday 10 January 2016

What's happening January 2016

Warm wishes for 2016, and warm it certainly is, summer is sure heating up Western Australia.  This year is my 10th year anniversary of being on Youtube, how times flies. Youtube had been around for around for about a year when I created my account in May 2006, so I felt like a late comer, but it seems now like I'm an early adopter.

Meanwhile, whilst practising one of my latest songs I injured my hand again. Argh. Same as last time, left pinky. It's some sort of strain, only hurts when I use it...I've mentioned before that when you are practising it's not a good idea to do the same movements over and over again.  I should listen to my own advice.

I stopped playing for a week or two which coincided with Chrismas so it was not too bad, but I was very disappointed with my boo boo.  I started doing some research into what it is, and what I can do about it. It seems that it is an over-use injury, somewhere between tendonitis and carpal tunnel but not arthritis...nothing Dr Google could fully diagnose.  I did however come across much interesting and useful stuff.

Did you know your ulnar nerve is the "largest unprotected nerve in the human body (meaning unprotected by muscle or bone), so injury is common" (Wikipedia).  The reason I mention this is because it is connected primarily to your pinky, via your elbow.  It is your "funny bone" - when you whack your funny bone it is your ulnar nerve you are whacking. Since both my pinkies suffer from the same problem I'm pretty sure my left hand pinky is only aggravating an existing issue at my elbow.  Cubital tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome except rather at the wrist it is at the elbow, entrapment of the ulnar nerve.  I don't think that is what it is, except it made me realise I've had elbow issues for years.

Anyway, what was the most enlightening was what to do about all these finger, wrist and arm issues - stretching!  After watching a few Youtube videos, I couldn't believe how flexible some people's hands are - and how stiff I am.  In fact, I sat down with my wife and we did a ten minute video doing a bunch of different hand stretches, and my wife's hands are far more flexible than mine!

So I've been doing a bunch of stretches daily, or more, things like bending my hands back and forward, stretching fingers apart, pushing thumb against the wrist and backwards. Very quickly I noticed my hand flexibility improved. It didn't make my problem go away, but it's early days, I'll report back with findings.



  1. Good luck with that :) That really sucks when you wanna play, have time to play, and yet.. Pretty frustrating. I never took the stretching seriously either, but I watched a couple videos after reading your post and damn I have a long way to go lol. I'm going to give that a try for sure.
    I'm glad your well, and look forward to more vidoes! Perhaps some more floyd..... ;)

  2. Hey RG, good to hear from ya mate! The stretching has been good, after a two weeks my low F/high A was slightly easier. But then I went too hard on the stretching, really pushing it, and ended up straining myself again. So I highly recommend stretching, but don't go too hard, just keep it mild. I'm also thinking stretch after a session when your hands are warm, rather than say first thing in the morning... And yeah, some people have amazingly flexible hands, lucky!

    Floyd - ha ha, one day :-) I've scored a regular Sunday afternoon gig so I'm brushing the rust off some of my existing songs...two new songs in the pipe, neither are Floyd though...

  3. As long as your still playing :) I have been stretching for about a week now with no obvious difference.. It's still early though and I won't stop trying.
    This is going to sound kinda dumb, but when I began playing and as recent as even maybe 5 years ago I could not play a few relatively simple Floyd songs. Us and Them was probably the most frustrating. It's just full of weird chords I didn't feel like learning :) A couple weeks ago I decided to give it another try and found it to be kinda simple. I was so lazy back then lol. Anyway there is a chord, Gmaj7, and the version that sounds best - and is likely what Floyd played imho - is that bar chord that stretches from 3 to 7, and is such s pain in the ass if your not the super flexible type or don't have super long fingers. I said the song was simple, but I actually still screw up that part EVERY time lol. I'm really hoping this will help me with that.
    I've worked a lot on Time recently, still rough. Just realized I was messing up the slower chorus part. Where he sings "staying home to watch it rain" or something like that. The cadence during the "watch it rain" is diff than the previous words. This happens all the time to me. I may start playing it nearer to the true way, but then keep practicing over months without playing to the actual song and it diverges over time, settling somewhere else that is nearby, but not totally right.