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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ( CTS ) Info

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fergie Fulton, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. edervjo


    Nov 19, 2009
    Santa Rosa, Ca.
    Thanks, I wouldn't wish either on anyone, that's for sure!
    I wanted to put it out there as PTS does get misdiagnosed as CTS, but with vaguer symptoms, as in my case.
    And it does stem from the neck and shoulder, where many bass players have issues.

    If you think of CTS as swelling and constriction of the tendon sheath, think of PTS as the same , but the nerve sheath. I have had minor tendonitis before, and this is similar, but times ten!. I have come to describe the pain as "exquisite". A tingling burn, with fine sharp overtones of electricity, on an underlying base of numbness.

    But everyday seems better, if only on a quantum level, and I am ahead of schedule as far as the norm, so thanks again for the good vibes!! Best of luck and speedy recovery to you all!
  2. madbass6

    madbass6 Inactive

    Jan 13, 2009
    I do not give consent to use any of my photos ! please respect that. thank you.
    just take a break and see a hand specialist before it gets worse!
  3. edervjo


    Nov 19, 2009
    Santa Rosa, Ca.
    Parsonage-Turner Brachial Neuritis update 3/10/17

    Hey there kids! Things have definitely improved since my first post, Yay!
    The numbness and tingling have diminished, now only my RH thumb is paralyzed. I have been playing, and as I said in my initial post, it is has been the best therapy. I have been wrapping the thumb in this self-adhesive gauze to minimize the sting of putting pressure on it, and that has allowed me to play around 80% of my original ability. I also received my Torzal (Thanks Jerome you are the BEST!) and the amazing ergo and light weight of that thing has helped as well.
    I am almost able to play without the wrap, but still the thumb and palm still have numbness, and can get painful after some time, but I can play!! I am looking forward to playing with a live band again in the next weeks, first time in 5 months!!
    Thanks for all the good vibes!!
    steelbed45 and TomB like this.
  4. Hello all,
    I just wanted to thank everyone for posting in this thread. I've been a bassist for 35 years or so and about a year ago gigging increased significantly. I know I've had CTS of some sort and moderately stretched when I felt discomfort over the years. But I started experiencing extreme fatigue and pain, and would hope that certain songs wouldn't be called out in case I cramped up usually during the 3rd set.

    I've read most of this thread and have implemented some of the stretching techniques before and after each gig religiously about a month ago. I start from my shoulders and chest and then work my way down to each finger tip. I spend about 20-30 minutes before I leave to the gig and again when I arrive at home. Sometimes I will need to put them in an ice bucket the next day if they are really tired. I feel stronger and more confident now and without pain. I'm 50 and planning on playing a few more decades so information like this is vital to our craft.

    Great advice and many many thanks to all,
    Happy Hands!
    porterbass likes this.
  5. dvlmusic


    Jul 24, 2010
    Alameda, CA
    I've been following this thread for years as I've been struggling with CTS in both wrists for about 20 years. I've never felt any pain - my hands simply "fall asleep" and I get pins and needles in my 1-3rd fingers and thumb. If I don't do anything about when I feel it, it'll eventually spread to the whole hand.

    About a 6 months ago I made up my mind that I was going to actually do something about it (medically - I've been trying non-invasive and homeopathic remedies for years). After getting a recommendation to a wrist specialist from my GP, I got tested and they confirmed that I definitely had severe CTS on both sides. Last Tuesday (Sept. 5) I got my first hand, my right side, done.

    It's been an up and down week and a half. Immediately after the surgery my right hand was on fire, consumed with pins and needles, and basically stayed that way for about a week. It slowly dialed back over that time, but I did not get full sensation back into my fingers for a week. Now I'm seeing marked improvement daily - today being the first time I can really type (YAY!), lift a beer bottle/coffee cup, etc. I'm hoping that I can start gently playing the next couple weeks to start exercising my ligaments. I have a follow up with the surgeon tomorrow and then I have to start thinking about scheduling my 2nd surgery (for the left hand).

    This is the first surgery I've had as an adult (last time was when I was like, 6 and I'm now 42) so I was absolutely petrified about it, but I forced myself to deal and I finally can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Anyone else have endoscopic surgery for CTS? What was your recovery like? What should I expect? I'd love to hear others' stories about this since I've got some time...
    Oddly, MTBassMania and Stumbo like this.
  6. MTBassMania


    Mar 5, 2013
    Probably going to have to do this within the decade. Fingerstyle isn't so bad, but my wrists swell when I slap. I have a hard time gripping narrow things, or holding anything (like my phone) when my wrists are at any angle. Been doing stretches and homeopathic stuff for 6+ years. Think the snip is going to be needed.

    Mind if I ask what the surgery costs anymore? I imagine it has come along in the past 10 years, so I would THINK the success and recuperation rate is way up, by now. I've had a couple non-musician people, who got the snip, tell me it really sucks for the first few months, but once you get through rehab, it's like having the wrists of a 20yo again. So I'm a little less intimidated then when I first started noticing symptoms.
  7. dvlmusic


    Jul 24, 2010
    Alameda, CA
    I don't know what it costs.... yet. I haven't seen any bills in the mail yet so I think my insurance is still figuring out what they'll cover.

    I got my left wrist done 5 weeks after the first and I'm about 5 weeks beyond that one now. My wrists feel pretty good - I get the occasional soreness when I lift something particularly heavy one handed or bend my wrists to more extreme angles, but they mostly feel alright. I've been practicing bass more and more as I feel better and in the last week I've been playing unrestricted.

    The best part of all of this: my wrists are behaving better than they EVER have. I mean ever - I can play things I wasn't able to execute cleanly before. I can now sustain fast 16th notes for much longer than I ever could.... it's an amazing feeling. Life changing, in fact.

    I don't necessarily wish I had done this sooner, however I am glad I finally crossed the threshold. I was preparing myself to wind down playing on a semi-permanent basis, but now I'm feeling like I can open up the calendar again and start accepting regular gigs at the top of the new year.
    Stumbo likes this.
  8. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I had CT Release on my left hand 9/28/17 and was pretty much back to near normal activity 6 weeks later. The scar is still a little sensitive, but that's about it. I asked my surgeon about the endoscopic procedure, and he said he prefers the open one so he can really see what he's doing. There's a lot of stuff in there, and lots of ways to screw up if you make a mistake. He's done this operation for 30 years or so, which led me to follow his advice.
    Raulplaysbass and Stumbo like this.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I play narrow necked basses (Hofner, Fender Jazz, Ibanez) and my left wrist is kept mostly straight (thumb wrapped around) like a guitar player (which I started on).

    I also played only with a pick (until I joined TB and found out what a basstard I was) so I keep my left wrist straight as well.

    Just sayin' that other techniques may help prevent or heal CTS.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    Raulplaysbass likes this.
  10. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Short scale BGs for me.
    Stumbo likes this.
  11. Dougie44


    Jul 1, 2012
    Before you decide on surgery check out a vitamin supplement called P5P for nerve endings, it helped me , not a cure but helped the pain enough for me that I won’t be doing surgery
  12. egg89a


    Jul 2, 2018
  13. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    I'm getting numbness in the tip of my thumb where it's pressing against the pickup...is that a sign of CTS or is it something different?
  14. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    I'd say it's not carpal but do you have any numbness at all in your first or middle finger on that hand?
  15. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    I don't think so? The tip of my index finger has some mild shiny redness and some mild soreness, where my skins being buffed by the strings, but it doesn't feel numb like my thumb.

    At the end of long periods of practice exercises focused on my striking hand, the tips of my first two fingers start to feel a little numb but it goes away when I stop...

    ...my thumb however remains numb. I noticed it was numb when I finished practising last night and it was still numb this morning.

    I've been practising a little more today and my thumbs got a little worse.

    I'm probably going to switch focus to fretting hand exercises and use a plectrum with my striking hand until the numbness eases up a bit.
  16. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Have you checked with your doctor? They symptoms are not unrelated to those from CTS (which I know well). If your doc agrees, a nerve response test might be in order.
    porterbass likes this.
  17. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    You might have a doctor look at it. I don't think it's carpal but who knows. Is the numbness on the surface of your thumb or inside? Carpal usually isn't surface but a numbness and burning inside your fingers and hand.

    I've dealt with carpal for almost 30 yrs. I mostly know what makes it flare up so I avoid that. It's amazing what they can determine with some tests. I also had an ulnar nerve issue for a while in my left hand and the doctor/specialist did some simple tests and they were able to determine where the issue was in my elbow that caused the numbness in my hand...and we were then able to determine the cause which was the way I had my elbows when typing on my laptop.
    Stumbo likes this.
  18. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    IME, numbness and irritation at the point of contact may indicate an allergy to the metal strings. Does your fretting hand have any reaction?
  19. Is the normal thumb position comfortable on your striking hand? I think you’re on the right track by switching it up. I’ll have a good stretch an hour or so before a long gig or rehearsal and if needed after, soak my hands in ice off and on to bring the swelling down.
  20. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    Thanks, yeah, I'm due for a checkup so I'll make an appointment to see my GP this week.

    I think it's the surface of the thumb. It feels a little like it's been anaesthetised, like when you go to the dentist? It tingled a little when some of the feeling came back, like when the dentist numbs your cheek and it tingles when the feeling comes back?

    My fretting hand's okay...it's where my thumb's been pressed against the pickup cover that's numb. Not sure what the pickup cover's made of but I guess it could be an allergic reaction?

    Yeah, it feels okay. It's been more than 20 years since I last played and I've been practising pretty intensively but my thumbs been okay. My wrist was painful last week because I practised so much but I just switched to a pick for a few days and focused on exercising my fretting hand.

    I think I need to consult a doctor and see what they say.

    I don't want to stop practising but also don't want to screw my hands up.
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