hey people, 3 days ago i spent 4 hours practicing and during the end i started getting some weird (small electric shock like) spasms on my left arm tendon, when i finished it was actually hurting. so i havent been playing since and the pain has gone, but i can still feel something is wrong. especially on my left wrist i have a sort of painless pulled muscle feeling.. i tried playing again about ten minutes ago and i could feel that carrying on would have hurt. seeing as i have a gig in a week do you have any tips? im pretty concerned about this so if u recognize the symptoms please help. thanx
theres alot of threads on TB about this, search for them.
see your doc, check your technique, dont over practice, ice the area, anti inflam tablets etc...
In my own opinion and from my own personal experience:
In tendinitis, the muscle will inflame around the injured tendon area, in order to prevent further injury. That is probably what you're describing as a pulled muscle feeling. My advice is primarily to put the bass away for a while, try anti-inflammatory stuff like Advil, and make an appointment to see a doctor. Although time is best remedy, there are other things you can do. When you're able to practice again, limit your time. Try some stretches, which a doctor or therapist should recommend to you, and check out your bass. You might be playing something that's too tense in terms of string and action, neck might be too wide. I used to play Rickenbackers with zero-buzz action; a couple bouts of tendinitis later, I learned better.
There are supplements like glucosamine, which I take. I find it to work for me. However, this is all just what works for me. First and foremost, stop playing for a week or so, and make an appointment to see a doctor.
There is a whole "taking care of your hands" thread around here somewhere, with lots of good advice.
If you do take anti-inflammatories: don't hop right back on the bass! And don't take tendinitis lightly. It can really ruin your day.
Hate to throw something really depressing at you, but acute tendinitis might never truly go away. Practicing much longer than you're used to is not a terrifically smart idea. (In my case, kayaking for the first time - for two hours - did me in. It's been 20 years, and my wrists are still not the same, and never will be.)
Think of it this way: if you were a recreational runner, and typically went 4 - 5 miles 4x a week, would you go out and run an ultramarathon tomorrow? I doubt it. In the same way that you pace yourself and work up to other things, it's important to do that with practicing.
Go to the doc. He/she may have some suggestions, and will likely prescribe something more heavy-duty than Advil for a couple of weeks.
Ouch! I flirted with tendonitis briefly early in my career, no fun. Here are 3 tips that worked for me:
1. Remember that electric bass guitar is one of the easiest instruments to play. Very little force/tension should be required to play a properly-setup bass with good technique. Turn up your amp and play softer. Work with your teacher to refine every element of your technique until it is completely tension-free. If there is any pain then stop and evaluate why and fix it. If you have a chiropractor, then bring your bass to your next appointment and see if he/she can give suggestions about your posture. (If you don't then at least try practicing in front of a full length mirror.)
2. Avoid "spider" and "stretching" and "chops for chops sake" type exercises. My practice these days consists primarily of learning songs and common chord progressions, with a relaxed 1-2-4 left-hand fingering, moving up and down the neck freely. My right hand is also relaxed and explores the entire area between the bridge and the neck. The *worst* thing you can do is any type of exercise where one or both hands are locked in a fixed position for any length of time. Both hands should be flexing and expanding and contracting, moving around the instrument, so you don't get fatigue and cramps.
3. There are ways to practice without a bass in your hands. Sing along with the radio. Transcribe some tunes. Practice your music notation. Play some piano or guitar or bongos or trombone. Sit around with your band, listen to a recording of your last rehearsal, and talk through arrangements of the tunes. Watch a DVD of your favorite band for inspiration. I went through a period of about 3 years where I literally did not take my bass out of the case except for rehearsals and gigs with my band, and nobody complained that my playing had gone downhill. Visualize visualize visualize!
I hope that is helpful in some way, good luck! :)
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