Carpal Boss - Wrist Pain
Lately, I've been having pain in the right wrist on average about a day or so after playing bass, for 3-4 hours. I haven't played for weeks because of it. A few months ago, I discovered bone growth on the back of my wrist (carpal boss) which, based on what I researched, is due to arthritis. To give a little background of myself, I've been playing bass as a hobby on and off since 2004, and have learned how to play from books and videos. In addition, in college, I had to make basswood models for Design class, mainly using my right hand with a blade to cut the pieces of wood to place together, which would also contribute to pain. I am also in the habit of lifting heavy objects, and have been using computers daily. I'm not sure which of these (or anything else) led to my arthritis/bone growth. I do calisthenic exercises and stretches in general, even before playing bass.
Lately, I have researched that playing bass with my (right) wrists bent while sitting down is poor technique (please confirm?), and have stopped - I believe this has been the main contribution to the problem, but there could be other factors that I'm not aware of.
I also browsed the stickys here, though carpal bossing doesn't seem to be brought up very often.
Does anyone have carpal boss or general wrist pain as well? Please give me any advice.
Thank you in advance.
IMO it would be best to seek the advice of a doctor, physiotherapist or medical specialist. The bass may not be the source of your problem.
From a technique aspect, it is generally accepted that it is safer to have both wrists as straight as possible, regardless of whether you are sitting or standing. Resting the thumb on the pick ups while plucking is a common cause of wrist problems. Granted, lots of players do it without seeming to have any problems, but IMO it is better to err on the side of caution and keep the wrists straight.
Resting the thumb on the pick ups while plucking is a common cause of wrist problems.
Wow, I never knew this. This is the technique that I use most often. :/
Resting on the pick ups puts the wrist at a severe angle. This narrows the carpel tunnel, through which the tendons pass. Over time, this can lead to injury problems. The fact that it takes maybe years for the problem to manifest itself often leads people to think that all is well, because they are not experiencing any problems at this time.
I would still recommend that you see a medical specialist to check out your problem. However if you want to try an alternative technique, check out the "Floating Thumb". The thumb does what is says on the tin....floats...and does not rest on anything.
There is another technique (not unlike FT) where the thumb rests on the string above the one being played. It is commonly known as the "Floating Anchor". Both have one thing in common...you guessed it...the wrist is straight.
Check out the link, the info about your technique appears after the 4.00 mark.
That pesky thumb pt.2
Any questions post them and i will try and answer them best i can. :)
First stop see a Doctor or medical specialist, that is the true purpose of the health stickies, to make you take your condition serious and seek out proper medical help.
That means a medical examination of the problem, some x-rays, maybe scans and then a diagnosis, then a valid prognosis can be made and how to best treat it. :)
I have a slight case of carpal tunnel, but mine is my left hand. Playing doesn't usually bother me, but when my wrist is acting up, it does contribute to the problem. I've found that if I just wear an over-the-counter wrist brace, it is ok. Maybe try practicing with a brace on your right hand...it will force you into keeping the wrist straight. And do what the others said-seek medical help.
I think you need to see a good orthopedic surgeon. I've had problem with tendinitis in my right hand mainly due to using a computer mouse and found great from a simple pressure brace my ortho Dr. gave me. It simply puts a little pressure on a tendon in my forearm that reliefs the pain. No drugs.
I was having what I thought was nerve tunnel issues. My doctor told me to take two naproxen (Aleve) 3 times per day. This works as an anti-inflammatory, rather than just a pain reliever. After 2-3 weeks no more wrist issues. See your doctor before doing this. This high dosage may upset your stomach and is not for long term use.
Ice packs and gentle stretches that open your wrists (ask your yoga teacher) also help.
I have Ganglions in both my wrists, I use a cold compression wrap which gets the inflammation and pain down so fast, I suffered so many years before I knew about this now I can get rid of the pain within minutes. I also use a BFST to fix the underlying issue or prevent a flare up if I know that I am about to be doing an activity that is strenuous on my wrists. If you want more info on these follow the link:
Very interesting that you brought up ganglion cysts. Ganglion cysts and carpal bossing look very similar. However, the difference is that cysts are tissue that develop around tendons, whereas carpometacarpal bossing is bone growth.
Good point about carpometacarpal bossing being missing from the stickies, when i do another up-date i will add a few links to it.
The issue is how the wrist bends....not where the thumb is resting as such. We have to view the elbows role in this, the elbow is one of the biggest culprits in over bending the wrist, and as such can be seen as one of the best ways of straightening it.
I just watched the link to your video, thank you for posting it! A few days ago, while sitting down, I tried keeping my wrist straight while resting the thumb on the pickup, resulting in overuse of my shoulder muscles - I found it easier to accomplish this standing up. I'll definitely practice using the floating thumb technique, especially for times when I just want to sit :P.
I also think it's a good idea that you came up with to post a link to carpal bossing. In my opinion, it's worth knowing about to prevent it from happening. I couldn't tell you when I developed it - I happened to just look at my wrist one day (probably while it was hurting) and notice it - most likely about a year ago.
Since carpal bossing is bone growth, there's usually no 100% cure for it. Most people either live with it, or get surgery to remove the extra bone growth, which In certain cases, eventually grows back. I've also read that surgery could risk further damage.
I think I'll plan to seek some medical advice, so that I could weigh my options. It usually only hurts a day after I use poor technique (playing with my wrist bent), so at best, it's serves as a warning to myself. I'll also browse stickies on this website for other stretches/techniques that I can start to use.
Thank you for your responses. :bassist:
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