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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ( CTS ) Info

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

  1. Good idea, better safe than sorry. The Dr I saw, gave me the stretching exercises. They helped immensely. I’m convinced i was headed for an injury if I hadn’t consulted with him.

    All the best to you,
    Rangotouille likes this.
  2. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    My physical therapist was clear that he was teaching me "neural flossing" and not "stretches", but I am a fan of stretching too. What muscles does your doctor have you stretch?
  3. I’m not aware of that, do tell.
    I start with my neck, shoulders and chest and work down each arm to each fingers. Lightly at all times, no pain at all. Basically bending each joint in the opposite direction if that makes sense. Lightly, I must emphasize. I hold a stretch for 15-20 seconds. Wrist rotations both closed fisted and fingers stretched out. At my side and overhead. I also will use a rubber band from my thumb to each finger individually and extend it. It works on the opposite muscles we use to clamp down and pluck on the strings. That I’ll do en route to the gig off and on. When I’m at the gig and geared up, i warm up both hands for about 5-10 minutes. Muted of course! When I get home, I stretch my neck, shoulders and chest again, wrist rotations but no hand stretches. I may use ice in the morning if my hands are visibly swollen. Hands fall asleep sometimes at night, but I don’t experience any numbness during or after playing. My hands never felt better, I’ve kept a schedule of 3 - 5 gigs a week for a few years. I definitely want to avoid surgery.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    TREYontheBASS likes this.
  4. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    "Hands fall asleep at night" - this is bad. You need to train yourself to keep fingers extended (no fists) all night. This will solve many problems, including most if not all trigger-finger issues, IME. Wrist braces that keep fingers straight are the way I trained myself. Now I don't need them. I keep my fingers straight while sleeping, and never experience these problems any more.
    Raulplaysbass likes this.
  5. You’re right. Once upon a time I used braces and still have them. Time to start again.

  6. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
  7. newtonbassist


    Oct 12, 2019
    New England
    Not a doctor but can relay my experience with CTS...
    *playing in wierd/constricting positions i.e. laying down where my wrists were bent at sharp (close to 90 degree angles)
    *Not stretching before playing or practicing
    *Playing through the pain
    *Not being hydrated i.e. not drinking water to offset the coffee or beer

    Solutions (not that i am a doctor)
    *drinking lots of water
    *wearing the braces and getting used the positions your hands are in then making sure you are in the same postiion without the braces i.e. better posture
    *warming up, literally. I am in Boston so if I come in from the cold i make sure that i don't play the bass until the winter chill is off. get the blood flowing somehow without the bass.
    *stretch, stretch and when your done stretch
    *wear the bass at a comfortable height - low slung looks cool in punk magazines but if your wrists are curling up at 45 degree angles you are in for a world of hurt
    *if it hurts, stop.

    I wore the braces for about two years until i changed my habits. haven't had a problem since 2001
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
    Raulplaysbass likes this.
  8. edervjo


    Nov 19, 2009
    Santa Rosa, Ca.
    UPDATE 12/26/19>>

    Hey folks! My PTS(brachial neuritis) has minimized, not gone but I have been playing a lot, done several gigs. The stretching, the "nerve flossing" and warm-up exercises are key to recovery!!
    For any of you suffering from CTS or PTS, do not hesitate, get to a DR and do these exercises, they will help you and keep you playing.
    It has been 3 years since the onset of symptoms for me, but I consider myself lucky and have recovered 95%, but you have to do the homework.
    Best of luck to you all!!
    porterbass, Raulplaysbass and Stumbo like this.
  9. ProgRocker


    Mar 25, 2011
    Just finished recovering from CTS surgery on both hands (One in January, the other in Feburary). Haven't felt this good in years.
    TomB and porterbass like this.
  10. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    That was my experience too. Still true 10 years later!
  11. Bassist59


    Oct 4, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I’m not a doctor, and maybe this isn’t practical for some people but I do some fairly hard weight training workouts for the forearms before and after every practice session with my bass.

    I’ve been playing since 1981, I’m now in my late ‘50s....no problems. You’d be surprised at how fast the body responds to hard weight training.

    Over the decades, I noticed the first few sets of 12 reps feel really bad. Aches, pains, shakiness...wrists don’t feel too good - after set 2 or 3, the muscles are primed and ready for anything. Any shakiness is gone, all joint pain is gone, then I practice bass for about an hour and maybe do a few wrist curls and reverse wrist curls at the end. (I got all of these exercises out of Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding book - 4 or 5 sets of 8-12 reps).

    I can’t imagine playing bass without getting at least somewhat pumped first - to me, it seems dangerous to do so.

    Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to do wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. If he says it’s ok, I HIGHLY recommend building some muscle and keeping the machinery warmed up! I made this stupid video years ago, just for fun. It demonstrates my pre-practice routine that I do to this day.

  12. Bassist59


    Oct 4, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Disregard my previous post. I just tried to delete it but it’s too late. I guess if you’ve got a serious confirmed problem hard exercise might not be the best thing to do.

    I don’t want anybody to get hurt. Stay well, folks.
  13. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    I saw an ad on Facebook this morning for a mitten-like device where you insert your hand and it supposedly uses compressed air to relieve joint pain. My reaction was my usual skeptical “yeah, sure”, but I wondered when this thread popped up today if anyone here knows anything about this concept? ...didn’t click, so no idea of the cost.
  14. Polk Salad

    Polk Salad Passenger, Ship of Fools Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2007
    Ok, quick background to set up my question.

    I'm a 20 year basement player, for fun, not a "good" player at all. Due to my job (sitting at a keyboard all day) my hands have suffered and I have had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands in the last ten years. Admittedly my hands don't work so great and I have rather short (non-spider, LOL) fingers to begin with.

    Now, I also have had issues (including arthritis) in the basal joints of my thumbs. I only play when my hands let me but when I'm feeling good, I try to practice and play sensibly but I'm really wondering if I have a thumb that just doesn't turn correctly, lol. The photo hopefully will explain this.

    Due to the condition of my hands in general and the length of my fingers (not an excuse I know), I have a hard time trying to keep my thumb and wrist in a neutral position, especially on the 3rd or 4th string and when I move up the neck.

    Using the analogy of gripping a tennis ball or a can of your favorite beverage, my thumb already is at an awkward angle, like it wants to face down instead of towards the tips of my other fingers, if that makes sense.

    I've tried to let the thumb go and let it point more towards the headstock but again, as I move up the neck or to the 3rd and 4th strings, my thumb wants to roll in. Yes, it's not good, yes it's amazingly wonky and no, it's not healthy. I know most of here are not doctors and I'm not looking for a diagnosis but has anyone else seen or have had this odd problem with thumb mobility?

  15. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Have you heard of Dupuytren’s Contracture? Look it up if you’re interested. It’s rare in the thumb but it happens. I’m not a doctor, just wondering... I have musician friends who suffer with it.
    Polk Salad likes this.
  16. Big Website

    Big Website

    Nov 4, 2020
    how do pro bassists not get stuff like CTS and arthritis and are able to play forever it seems? I saw Ron Carter play a few years ago and I think he was like 80 at the time
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 18, 2021

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