Gramps Cramps?!

This is good advice. I’ve been following it my whole life and, so far, no cramping issues. :sweat_smile:

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I’m starting to notice a fw cramps here and there when I play as well.
Simple reason for this would be electrolytes/hydration and htat is easy to take care of.

The number one reason is time.
As a Sports Therapist I used to treat people with muscle/tendon issues, some thinking they had ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ etc, when the biggest issue is that the muscles are not being used.
The muscles in the forearm are exercised whilst gripping and releasing the hand, and manipulating the hand around.
Tied into these are those of the arm - the biceps and triceps are the most commonly known.

In short, as we get older, we stop using the muscles so much. That’s why they shrink (atrophy).
Thinner muscles have less fibres to do the work, so they fatigue more easily, cramp more easily and are generally knackered (a medical term, highly specialised :grinning: )

The answer is active rest for a week (i.e. keep them moving, but don’t do whatever stresses them) then gradully add those exercises which will benefit the muscles.
Bicep curls with dumbells, wrist rolls with a broomstick etc. will increase the muscle mass over time.

…broomstick exercise…not one many will have heard of…:
Cut a piece of broomstick around 60cm (2 feet).
Halfway along (the middle in other words) drill a hole about 7-10mm ( up to 2/5ths of an inch)
Get a piece of parachute chord ( or really strong laces) which measure the distance from your shoulder to the floor whilst standing, put one end into the hole and tie it firmly.

On the other end of the chord, tie the chord around the middle of a bolt which is about 10cm long, 5mm thick (that’s about 2.5 inch long, 1/5 inch thick)

To use: Put a light weight (1 lb/500grams) on the end of the chord, the bolt will go through the centre of the weight and act as a sort of hook.
Stand with your arms out straight, parallel to the ground, with the broomstick held evenly in both hands. Palms facing down.
Roll the broomstick alternating right and left hand until the weight reaches the broomstick, then reverse the process.

This can also be done with the palms facing up.

Don’t try to keep the broomstick perfectly parallel whilst exercising - allow the wrist to twist naturally.
Do this 3 times a day

DO NOT do more than one full up/down cycle at a time to start with.
If you do notice any stabbing pains around the wrist area, stop and pretend you never ready this. I was never here. It was someone else, honestly guv :crazy_face:

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I’m with Josh on the idea of being able to acknowledge age and with Gordon on asking for medical advice on a forum.
I’m sceptical about naturopaths. To my knowledge, anyone can declare they are one and dispense advice and treatment. Watching someone spend their life savings and die of liver metastases, whilst waiting for the special electricity to ‘kill the dead cancer cells’ demonstrated to me that it’s not always harmless.
Some swear that prayer is much more effective than evidence-based (western) medicine as well :wink:

The secret to living your healthiest/happiest possible life is usually quite simple

  • Take regular exercise

  • Have a healthy balanced diet (where the energy consumed is with the fewest possible steps from the sun, i.e. vegetables/grains>meat>processed meat products)

  • Avoid excess (esp drugs incl. alcohol)

  • Be kind

(I’ve fallen on most of those hurdles!)


There’s a good article in March 2023 Guitar Player written by Nicki O’Neil titled How to Play Guitar Forever.

It discusses a lot of the issues in this thread.

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The diet thing is up in the air - what constitutes a balanced diet is changing day to day, meat is bad, meat is good, some meat is bad…etc etc.
A decent mix of foods is required. What the individual needs is always a difficult subject.

Regular exercise is an absolute - but again it must be tailored to the individual. Weight lifting (whether actual weights or body-weight) is something which is proving the most effective for most people, but as it’s the hardest, it’s the one most avoid!

Any daft pelican who thinks that there is a magic path to healing is dangerous, but this also applies to some who have a foot in both the complementary therapy and conventional medicine as well. I’ve had experience of this when referring clients for second opinions, where medical conditions should have been picked up by doctors, and weren’t. It wasn’t rocket science, and I really needed to insert a foot in said doctor’s rectum.

Others find that things like acupuncture really works (I react too strongly to it) and qualified Physiotherapists will use it alongside more conventional techniques.

Prayer can work for some, as long as it isn’t the ‘AHH, I’m in pain! cure me now!’ sort of prayer. Relaxation and meditation go hand in hand, and the sort of prayer that sometimes goes alongside can certainly help some. Those that think it is better than real medicine make my blood boil.
The ‘Play Guitar Forever’ article mentioned in rlegault’s post is a hit and miss affair. some of the stuff in there is dubious. Sleeping on one’s back? great if that is the position your body wants, some of the stretches could be improved on:

is a good place to start.

Avoiding excess? Well that’s true, esshhpecially shtuff like alcoooohol. You’re ny besht frend you arre :stuck_out_tongue:

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You may want to try the Justin’s finger stretching exercise Short Finger? Stretching Exercises | Guitar for Beginners - YouTube. I do it before each practice.

I suspect this is the root of the problem.

Probably holding down the chord with too much pressure and tension for too long.

I gave myself tennis elbow for a year because I did this…not knowing any better.

Hi Gary :exclamation: I only can share my little experience. I’m a beginner and am 65. Often have cramps in my left hand fingers. Things I do:

  1. Not practice too much. Not over practice. Accept my limits. My limits have changed, have expanded with time.
  2. Change the practicing object when I can feel cramps are coming. Cramps often appears when I practice chords and chords shifting. Then I switch to practice scales or something else.
  3. Massages
  4. One break day a week. A vacation day a week for my muscles and articulations.
  5. Divide my practicing time into multiple shorter periods. 4 X half hours instead of 2 hours. If I have the time, the possibility to do so.
  6. Taking Magnesium is suppose to help. I personally never noticed any change but… it’s suppose to help.

That’s just my personnel things. Probably you know and do all that…. Then, hope you can feel my moral support and compassion… :slight_smile:

Keep on and have a good day !

I forgot something imortant :exclamation: Watch the barre chords :exclamation: :exclamation: :exclamation: :exclamation: :exclamation: :exclamation: I made the mistake at my very beginning to OVER PRACTICE BARRE CHORDS and developped a index finger tendonitis. Took me 1.5 year to get rid of it :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:.

Good day :exclamation:

I was shaving my bald head today when I realized that the same basic advice I might give a newbie shaver would apply to playing guitar. It boils down to:

  1. Slow down
  2. Don’t press so hard

And don’t get shaving foam on the fretboard !!!

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Just a thought why shave an already bald head ? Habit ? :man_bald:


OMG! I have been wasting all this time!:man_facepalming:t3:


Cramps like that sometimes occur if you’re dehydrated. Try drinking a lot more water.

Yeah, but don’t forget…we are old. If we drink too much water, we have to interrupt our practice more often for other reasons…

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Never too old for Rock & Roll !!!

Ha ha ha. At 72 I’m well aware of the downside of drinking too much water. There’s a fine line between over-hydration for cramps and over-urination at practice.

HaHaHa!!! I agree!!!
Remember when you could sleep :zzz: through the night and dream of Rock -n- Roll instead of Toss -n- Turn then head to the bathroom!?!?!? Those were the days!!! :crazy_face:

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This is a fun thread. I wasn’t aware that I am one of many cramp-prone, bladder-constricted grandpas learning guitar at 65+.