McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Playing and injuries update

Some of you know that I have been out of regular work for two years now. Because of that I do not have health insurance. I only go to the Doctor when I think I might die or nearly so. I have had to depend on my abilities as a former Army Medic to nurse myself along.

I injured my arm this spring pulling at a board in an attempt to remove it from a rotten roof. I seriously sprained/strained it and after a week off for recovery, resumed the project. I probably tore my tendon. I have gotten by pretty well with it over the months and doing my share of heavy lifting with no problem.

Along the way it became clear that playing for extended periods, like at a jam was not feasible as my arm would become sore and weak. In fact, my arm has been bothering me more as I play so I find myself playing for short periods.

Oddly, I keep experiencing the phenomena of playing well when I return to play in spite of less frequency of practice. This does not make sense to me as high levels of practice "should" result in better playing. Usually it does but for me, not always. You would think less practice would mean less skill in your playing but it seems not to be always so.

Still, consistent practice seems to be best over the long haul. It's just getting harder with this injury. I hate getting old for the creaky aches and pains and loss of resiliency.

You really have to be careful when you try to play with an injury. You never want to stress the injured part. Ever. This will only hinder the healing. All this talk about pushing past the pain only applies to Navy Seals. Not you and me.

Over the years I have read some good advice. One is keep your hands relaxed. I have tried to incorporate that more and more and that seems to help. Locking your arm and hands in muscular tension hinders your ability to move smoothly and stresses your muscles in a negative way.

I have often wondered how I would handle an injury that eliminated my ability to play this guitar. That would be a devastating blow to me, even if I can't play all that well. I do have enough moments of playing well in my practice periods that I find myself pleased as punch that I have stuck with this.

If you have been fortunate enough to avoid an injury that affects your ability to play, then count your blessings and hope that you never have it befall you. My resolutions to woodshed just get frustrated with the reality of my injury and it's demands on me.

I failed to mention that this is my right arm which is injured. IMHO, the right arm/hand is the real battleground in your learning experience in the quest to play well.

It's frustrating. I really need to have this seen but I am waiting for a bureaucrat to approve me for benefits. Yeah, gotta love the bureaucrats.

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