Guitar Wrist Pain (Causes and How to Avoid?)

Playing the guitar is far more physically demanding than most people realize, and many guitar players fall victim to pain in their wrists from playing the instrument. This is a relatively common problem among guitar players and it is caused by several aspects of guitar playing. Fortunately, there are ways to solve the issue and prevent wrist pain from occurring.

Guitar wrist pain is typically caused by repetitive strain injuries. The best way to recover from this pain is to rest well. The best way to prevent this pain is to develop strength, endurance, flexibility, good playing techniques, and not overwork the wrists while playing.

Every guitarist has experienced some form of wrist pain at some point in their guitar journey. Playing this instrument can be very tough on the hands and wrists and it can cause pain. But there are ways to decrease the possibility of this harm, and there are always ways to recover the pain if it does happen. Let’s explore guitar-related wrist pain to determine what causes it and what to do about it.

Guitar Wrist Pain

Playing the guitar is a challenge. Every guitarist will experience some form of pain in their hands and wrists while playing the instrument. But they can also prevent the issue altogether as they adapt their technique, develop stamina and flexibility, and improve hand and wrist strength.

The pain that guitarists may experience in their wrists varies from sharp, intense pains near the joint, dull and throbbing pains in the wrist, or general fatigue, tiredness, and muscle pain in the area.

Some guitarists may experience a type of burning muscle pain, and some may even experience tingling sensations, loss of motion, stiffness, or even a loss of feeling altogether.

All of this wrist pain is relatively common among guitar players, but there are specific causes for them, and there are also relatively easy ways to solve and avoid these issues as well.

What Causes Guitar Wrist Pain?

Wrist pain caused by playing the guitar occurs for several reasons. The act of playing the guitar is more physically demanding and strenuous than many players realize, and it is very easy to cause pain and damage to the hands and wrists while playing guitar, especially when playing guitar for extended periods.

The main reason that guitar players experience any type of main in their wrists from playing the instrument is due to repetitive strain injuries. Using a set of muscles, tendons, or ligaments repeatedly in the same strenuous way for long periods of time, such as playing the guitar, can cause irritation, inflammation, damage, and fatigue to the area.

Over-use is the most common cause of this type of pain, along with lack of rest and the absence of proper warm-ups and stretching before playing the guitar.

In extreme cases, guitar playing can cause pinched nerves within the hands or wrists, and it can cause severe muscle spasms and cramping, which can cause immense pain. These cases of wrist pain are far less common than the many types of pain caused by repetitive strain injuries caused by playing the instrument.

How to Reduce Guitar Wrist Pain

If you are experiencing wrist pain from playing the guitar, whether while playing the guitar or for a period of time after playing the instrument, it is important to deal with it properly rather than just allowing it to continue as this can hinder your ability to practice and perform.

The best way to reduce pain caused by playing the guitar is to rest. Take the time to rest your hands and wrists for a day or two before continuing to play the guitar to enable the damage that has been dealt to heal properly.

Once your hands and wrists have recovered, you will be able to play guitar well again. If you do not take time to rest, the problem will only worsen and intensify, making it hard for you to play well or even preventing you from playing altogether.

Using heat and cold to reduce the inflammation and pain in the wrists can be a good option as well. Ice packs and heated beanbags can help reduce the pain. You may also perform light stretches depending on how intense and severe the pain is and what type of pain you are experiencing.

Nothing is better than rest for these types of guitar-related injuries. If you do experience any type of pain in your wrists, take a day or two off from practicing to allow your body to recover and heal.

How to Avoid Guitar Wrist Pain

Avoiding wrist pain from playing the guitar is far better than trying to solve the issue once you are already in pain. Most of the pain experienced by guitar players in their hands and wrists is simply due to poor playing technique.

Many guitar players use aggressive or overly intense playing techniques that do nothing but cause pain. Most guitar players tend to tense while playing rather than relax, which also puts unnecessary strain on the body, and many players do not develop correct playing techniques in the first place.

Fixing the techniques that you use to play the guitar to make them more efficient, less tiring, less harmful, and generally smoother and more controlled will go a long way towards preventing wrist pain from playing the guitar.

Developing and improving good guitar-playing techniques is the best way to avoid wrist pain and problems from playing the instrument, as well as developing strength, stamina, flexibility, and control. Doing simple stretches and effective warm-ups before long practice sessions are also important for reducing the risk of wrist pain.

Try not to overextend or tense your wrists too much while playing, be sure to never push yourself too hard when learning new stretches and techniques, and always stop playing and rest when you feel pain in your wrists.


Some wrist pain is normal when learning to play the guitar, but experienced and advanced players should not have too much pain unless they are learning new techniques, playing for very extended periods, or if they have hurt themselves. Normal muscle tiredness and fatigue are not something to be concerned about.

Rest is always the best way to recover from wrist pain, and good playing technique is the best way to prevent wrist pain. Guitarists experience wrist pain, but it is something to be careful of, regardless of how experienced you are.