coming back to playing after an injury

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by pcake, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    years ago - i think in 2008 - i caught myself falling down a flight of stairs, tearing my rotator cuff in several places. very soon afterward, my other shoulder developed either frozen shoulder (doctor) or a torn rotator cuff (physical therapist). for a while i couldn't use my left arm pretty much at all, but when i could move it some, i tried playing and hurt my right shoulder further by playing small but still not shallow acoustic guitars. then there's some tendonitis in wrists and right elbow. but mostly it was my shoulders, and sometimes the pain lasted for days or weeks, sometimes only minutes at a time.

    so i spent over a year playing only a lap harp and keyboards, which i don't play well at all, but they didn't engage my shoulders. then i got a washburn rover guitar - they're ridiculously tiny, and i hate the neck. still, i was playing. and as i worked up to short scale basses - the first of which was my first mikro - i had to sort out posture workarounds to be able to play.

    fast forward to now. i've been back to playing for a few years. for quite a while, my options were small body short scales - mikros, violin bass, traveler guitar basses and my ubass. but that was a huge step up from not playing.

    but as i'm slowly improving more, so that i can now play small body long scales and some other long scales depending on shape and stuff, i'm noticing more and more how much less well i play than i did before my injury. some of the issues have to do with those posture workarounds, which change the angle of every finger, wrist and hand muscle from how i used to play.

    don't get me wrong - i'm SO grateful that i can play a variety of basses and make music again. yes, i sometimes have shoulder or wrist issues, but nowhere near what i used to have, and i can pretty much always play a mikro. i don't own a bass light enough to play standing - and no, a wider or more padded shoulder area doesn't help at all - lighter weight is the deal here. i did get an mbrace, but there's nothing like playing while you can move freely.

    but i'm slower when i play - mostly my fretting hand, and i seem to have problems playing across the neck smoothly, although not up and down the neck. i used to play super speed punk and thrash, and now i can't play perky motown without really working at it. years ago my fretting and plucking hands both had big muscles between the thumbs and forefingers, but they don't have 'em now - it's like my hands are 98 pounds weaklings :D

    and yeah, i know time and playing with improve things quite a bit. i may not get it all back, but i should improve with speed and dexterity. i miss playing a lot of the stuff i used to play. but i'll get at least some of it back. and i'm playing easier stuff i never played before because it is satisfying to play stuff smoothly with everything right. but sometimes it's pretty depressing, too. but i convince myself to play anyway.

    how about you? what's your story when it comes to recovering from injuries that interfered with you playing bass?
  2. bluesfordan


    Sep 3, 2009
    caught myself stumbling on the last step of the cellar stairs Saturday, left wrist hit the wall opposite the landing. Something creaked, I think it was in my wrist and not the wall (drywall not concrete). Had me pretty nervous. I get these stupid little injuries and they take forever to go away now. I mashed my right pinky the day after new years day and it still hurts almost 6 months later.

    Just got a new bass on Wednesday, first in a few years. Even though I've been playing 50/50 pick vs finger, my right index finger is wicked sore right at the spot where I hit the string the most. But these are nothing compared to torn/ruptured/separated rotator cuffs and similar traumas.
    pcake likes this.
  3. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    That just sucks. What have you done to fix your shoulders? Surgery or PT?
    pcake likes this.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    pretty much the same injuries with pretty much the same results!

    what i do:
    - pick the right instrument (modded to accommodate).
    - stay at it.
    - play 'smarter' if/when i can.
    - i use more ghost notes than i used to. :D
    - more 'attitude'.
    - i have to woodshed more, for some things, not a big deal.
    - i no longer take my body (and it's parts) for granted (even though there are some issues which will never resolve).

    glad you feel that you're back at it and still in the game! :thumbsup:
    pcake likes this.
  5. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i was not considered a good candidate for surgery. i did two courses of PT, but i found more effective exercises online than i got from 2 different physical therapists at cedar's. i've had more progress in the months since i found those exercises than i had in all the years before. and i'm gentle and patient to avoid any further injuries.
    gln1955 likes this.
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Some injuries last forever, and some are nearly that bad. I hyper-extended my right wrist years ago and it still twangs me if I push it too far.

    Sorry to hear this is a problem, but at least as bass players we have the option of playing fewer notes and figuring out what's really needed for the music. I bet you do that well.
    pcake likes this.
  7. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    sorry to hear about your wrist.

    hopefully i do that well, but i wanna bang out 16ths for an entire 1 minute punk song :D