bassing with carpal tunnel

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by RomperStomper, Oct 9, 2001.

  1. any comments on how to combat this, people?

  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Related to bass playing, so moved to MISCELLANEOUS.
  3. Copycat

    Copycat Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Having had an open carpal tunnel release surgery on each hand/wrist, I can only tell you what they told me prior to being cut. Vitamin B-6 and splints. You can get a splint from any orthopoedist, I suppose. Wear them at night and as much as you can at other times. I didn't realize that what I was feeling--numbness, primarily in the thumb, index finger and middle finger--was carpal tunnel until mine was too far gone for anything but surgery. Repetitive motion, which playing bass involves in both hands, obviously, will cause carpal tunnel and continue to aggravate it. The hand only has two major nerves. The one that eventually branches and connects to the pinky and outside of the ring finger comes up on that side of the hand. The other one, the biggie, comes up through the carpal tunnel. Repetetive motion causes the tissue bundled together by a thick band of cartilage to swell and press on that nerve. The surgery snips the band, releasing pressure. Have the diagnostic test done to see how bad yours is. If minor, the B-6 and splints might do the trick. Left untreated, however, you can suffer permanent nerve damage, which would prevent you from being able to grasp properly. The surgery's a breeze--35 minute procedure and not much pain afterward. 6 weeks to be back to playing. Hope the info helps. Good luck.
  4. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    In short, the syndrome results from compression of the median nerve in the volar aspect of the wrist between the longitudinal tendons of forearm muscles that flex the hand and the transverse superficial carpal ligament. This in turn pruduces parasthesis in the radial-palmar aspect of the hand plus pain in the wrist, palm, etc...

    About 50% require surgical intervention, short term solutions may include NSAIDS, steroid injection in the tunnel space, splints, hot/cold therapy. Aside from surgery, these are considered to be short term treatments. There are no known complications to surgical treatment. However, if left untreated, permanent nerve damage can occur.

  5. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    I'm going to tag team with Dr. Mike.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is specific for the median nerve. There are 3 important nerves through the wrist - median, radial and ulnar, each innervating different muscles of the hand.

    The distribution of the median nerve is around the thumb, index, middle and part of the ring finger area:

    More info here:

    American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Info

    It is essential as a bassist to have GOOD technique - playing with the WRONG hand or arm positions will aggravate this condition, and will lead to surgery.