Do you suffer from wrist pain when you play? Many musicians do, and the ailment isn’t limited to professional players. A good number part time and amateur string musicians experience discomfort as well.
It can come from any number of sources: poor technique/form, overplaying, repetitive stress injury (RSI), tendonitis, arthritis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. But without regard to the cause, if pain is preventing you from enjoying time with your instrument, relief is the one thing that is on your mind.
This same thing happened to Ryan Sollee, a singer/songwriter and folk/rock artist from Portland, OR. His problem was a combination of RSI and forearm muscle fusion, and as a professional entertainer, found himself unable to perform without painkillers and regular icing of his wrist. After finding relief with wrist compression, he developed a tool specifically for musicians that was small enough to ensure that it didn’t interfere with proper playing, but effective enough to offer support and relief.
He founded WristGrips in 2016 to offer this relief to musicians everywhere. He says that their wrap increases oxygen and blood flow to the wrist, helps prevent further injury, while allowing a full range of motion in the hands. They look like the sort of wristbands that have been popular for years as a fashion accessory, yet Sollee and many other musicians who have tried them swear that it has made it possible for them to play again.
The company sent us a couple to try, and while I have never experienced wrist pain playing banjo, I do encounter it while typing on the computer. As soon as I put it on, the additional support stopped the discomfort and aching I had been pushing through. I see no reason that they wouldn’t do the same with either left or right hand pain for instrumentalists.
In addition to pain suppression, many pickers report that the WristGrips help them practice longer, and the support seems to allow them to play more fluidly. The testimonials on the WristGrips web site show that they are clearly helping people, with comments included from grassers Bob Piekel with Banjo NewsLetter, and Jay Armbruster, Knoxville mandolinist.
A pair of WristGrips is offered for $19.95 online, which come with a 90 day guarantee. If you aren’t playing longer with decreased pain after that time, you can send them back for a complete refund. That’s a lot less costly than doctors, medications, and physical therapy.
It can’t hurt to give them a try, and if they work for you, you may not hurt at all!