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Guitar Hand Pain

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Hand Pain
Apart from sore fingertips, the most obvious other discomfort that accompanies learning the guitar is hand pain.  Your fretting hand will experience most of this and, just like sore fingertips, it's perfectly normal. 

If you've ever done any sort of weight training you'll know the discomfort that accompanies the first few days of exercising muscles that have been largely idle for years.  That first morning after a night of bench presses and bicep exercises, you wake up with sore and aching muscles in arms and chest.

Well, the same process takes place in your fretting hand as you begin to learn the guitar, just on a smaller scale.  All the little muscles in your hand are being stretched and exercised to perform feats it's never done before.

In reality it should rather be described as a 'hand discomfort'.  It's normally nothing more than a slight aching in your hand during practice and doesn't last long.  Here's a warning: If you experience a severe pain in your fretting hand, you're probably doing something WRONG!  Check out the section on guitar body and hand position to make sure you're holding the guitar in the right position.

Here are a few pointers to help you effectively alleviate guitar hand pain and discomfort:

Struggling with guitar hand pain?  This page will give you some solutions to make it better and help you on your way to mastering the guitar.

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Warm Up before Playing - Warming up your hands has a lot of benefits, the least of them not being that it'll help you avoid injury and minimize discomfort during practice sessions.

Before you simply start jamming away at 160 Beats per minute, do a couple of the stretches and exercises, like the ones described below.  Scales are also a great way to warm up your hands and fingers.
Take regular breaks - If you're a complete newbie at guitar, try and take a break every 10 or 20 minutes, depending on how your hand feels.  Also try not to play longer than an hour at a time.  These times are given as an estimate; adjust them according to what your hand is telling you.
Stretch - Stretch your fingers out and do a couple of 'christening exercises'.  That's my name for shooting your fingers in a outward position for your palm (as if you've got water on your fingertips and want to spray it on someone).

These are great warm-up exercises.  Also, massaging your fretting hand between the thumb and index finger helps a lot, especially if your hand is sore after playing.
Don't hurt yourself - If a severe pain persists after doing some of these, don't carry on playing - you'll might end up hurting yourself.  Get some professional help or ask someone with guitar experience to check out your body and hand posture.
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