Playing musical instruments

sunnysideup Member Posts: 17
I've been lucky to have a few years of remission from the RA (taking methotrexate by injection) and during this time I found I could once again play my folk guitar (not particularly well but I enjoy it)

Am now having a flare up which has lasted months and I can't play guitar - although I can manage the piano. I have pain and stiffness in the hands, thumbs and finger joints and I can't grip properly - my fingers are swollen - one in particular which is on my left hand ( the one that has to press the strings) and i can't make the movements needed to play.

I think that even when my hands improve it is probably not going to be a good idea to play guitar - because of the twisting and pressing down the metal strings with the left hand. I'm trying to get my head round this as it will be a great loss in my life - although many people have to give up much more than this and I know this may become true for me.

Am I right that even when my hands go better I should not put my fingers under this kind of stress any more - because I will be asking for trouble?

Piano will not compensate because I use the guitar to play so I can sing folk songs.

Any thoughts much appreciated.


  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 3,031
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Dear Sunnysideup

    Thank you for your posting on the forum. It is probably best to speak to a physiotherapist for advice about playing your guitar and they may be able to suggest changes in the way you play that could ease the strain on your fingers. An occupational therapist may also be able to advise you on using your joints without straining them. We are not medically trained so could not advise you on this aspect. You can speak to your GP or rheumatologist about a referral. You could also speak to your rheumatologist for advice about playing your guitar. I wonder also if you have spoken to your rheumatology team about your flare up? Have you an appointment where you can discuss this or are you able to contact the rheumatology nurse specialist in your rheumatology team.
    There is information on Rheumatoid Arthritis that includes managing a flare up. You can download this on Arthritis Research UK’s website on the link
    They also have information on protecting your joints. You can access this on the link
    I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like to talk to us here on the helpline about your arthritis and its impact you can call us here on the freephone, confidential helpline. The contact number is 0808 800 4050 (weekdays 10am – 4pm).

    Best Wishes
  • sunnysideup
    sunnysideup Member Posts: 17
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you. I've an appointment with the locum reumy doc at the hospital on 8th Sept. Will mention the guitar playing.

    Also seeing GP tomorrow but I don't think he'll be much help re flare up. Seeing him partly to ask about misshapen feet. (bunion?)

    Much appreciated.