CTS, tendon issues or something else?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by petjaolvi, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. petjaolvi


    Jul 14, 2017
    Hi, I know there are many threads about wrist problems, but I still wanted to get some opinions. Yes, going to see a doctor would be the best but I don't currently have the money to go and besides, the money would only go to waste if this was something that I could heal myself.

    About a week ago I woke up with pain in both of my wrists on the side of the thumb. I had not been playing bass more than I usually do but actually less. At first I thought that it was caused by a bad position while sleeping and I didn't worry about it much and figured it would go away on its own. I do usually wake up to having numb hands almost every night and it doesn't last longer than a minute.

    A week later, the pain is still present and while it's almost gone from my right wrist, my left has worsened. I haven't been playing much during this week. The pain is not unbareable and I can manage to do everything without pain meds, except for bending the wrist outward as you would do if you were doing pushups.

    I have tried to wear a wrist brace but yesterday I took it away and noticed that my left hand had swollen a bit. I tried massaging my wrist quite forcefully and it actually made stretching the wrist a bit easier and made the swelling go away too but it triggered a tingling sensation mainly in my thumb. I can feel a slight tingly feeling in my forefinger too. The sensation worsens if I tap my inner wrist but I still feel slight tingling all the time, even on rest.

    Do you have any opinions on what this could be?
  2. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I'd only suggest going to a doctor...
    There are a few people on here who seem to be very knowledgeable on issues like this (@Fergie Fulton , especially) but you really need someone who can get hands-on and investigate properly.
    Hope the problem gets sorted out quickly!
    PillO and Stumbo like this.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Definitely sounds like a pinched nerve, could be CTS. The swelling is worrisome, though, that seems to imply there's something going on with circulation as well. I wish I could give useful advice other than "see a doctor".
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
  5. My degree is in Business Administration so take the following with a grain of salt.

    What you describe on the right wrist sounds like what I had; and surgery was necessary to eliminate the problem. Done in the Doctor's office and the recovery was about a week. As I am over 65 Medicare and my private insurance took care of the cost - no idea what that was.

    I had CTS in the left wrist and the brace helped this. It was caused by how I fretted the chords while playing rhythm guitar for 20+ years. I stopped playing rhythm guitar and the problem went away.

    I do not have any problems with my wrists while playing bass. Key here is to keep them in a normal position, i.e. not bent.

    Keep your wrists straight and if this does not help time to talk to your Doctor.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    bholder likes this.
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    The strange part of your problem was "both wrists".
    For it to affect both wrists at the same time is unusual, especially when nothing was present before.
    But for one side to get better, and the other not to, is worrying and should be checked out.

    Many things can cause your symptoms, but for it to attack both sides may indicate a virus, or a circulation based issue, such as diabetes, or gout fir example.
    The swelling could just be cause by the restriction on the brace, therefore use a brace for support of a weakness, rather than restriction of movement..to restrict movement just do not use the hand, keep it immobilized by resting it on or in something.

    I would get it checked out, as a player nothing is a waste of time and money.

    Quick few question, what age are you?
    Are you left or right handed player?
    What do you do as a "day job"?
    Oddly and Stumbo like this.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    IME, Both sides means it's a body issue not necessarily just a wrist problem.
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Beg, borrow or steal the money, but see a doctor. It's not a waste of time or money.

    Best of luck. :)
    Fergie Fulton and Oddly like this.
  9. petjaolvi


    Jul 14, 2017
    Yes, I figured the swelling might just have been caused by the wrist brace being too tight.

    I'm 20 years old and right handed. I'm a student graduating in a few months from now and I have a history of neck/back/shoulder issues due to being in front of a computer or books way too much as studying sadly requires it. Actually, just before my finals a month back I was studying a LOT and I got very painful tension headaches caused by my neck that had to be treated with muscle relaxants and pain meds, but they have since almost disappeared.

    I'm now trying to lay off the bass for a while and resting my wrist but still stretching it so it retains proper movement. Stretching seems to ease the wrist pain a bit. I decided to go see a doctor if this doesn't go away in a week or two as I honestly don't have any money to spend on a doctor who would only tell me to take it easy and take medication to ease the pain (that has happened quite a few times with other problems, not exactly a great way to spend money as a student).

    I'll update my situation at some point! Thank you everyone for your tips and comments :)
  10. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Granted doctor's fees are not cheap and it's a pain in the butt to have to pay. However, it's as much for his/her professional diagnoses (something that people here on TB can not provide) as much as the prescription that you are paying. Personally, I'd consider myself fortunate to be told by a doctor that nothing more sinister than taking it easy and taking my medication is required.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. :)
    Fergie Fulton and Oddly like this.
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota

    From what you say, i would look to your current lifestyle as part of the issue, if not all of it.

    Good move to stay off the bass for a while as bass playing may show the issues rather than be the root cause.
    But do the stretches, and find stretches that look after your back and neck...you will see the benefits immediately.

    If you do a lot of work at a desk, then learn good posture, take regular breaks (maybe do the stretches) and perhaps look at a screen overlay to but the glare or filter the colour of any screen you use.
    Strain to the neck and upper body is common as people tend to "hunch" the shoulders and "crane" their neck forwards to see the screen, this is common in players that are learning to read from a stand.
    The relief for both are the same, shoulders down (this relaxes the neck and therefore upper body).

    Monitor the problem and if it gets better or you are getting relief form any changes stick with it, but if the symptoms persist..see a doctor or medical professional, maybe see the campus medic, or talk to others doing a course that is fitness or medical based.

    Life should be pain free, as should be playing, do not tolerate pain and good luck with it all.
    petjaolvi and Oddly like this.
  12. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I changed my keyboard to a Microsoft ergonomic model with the split keyboard to solve my wrist problems.

    If you're typing on a narrow laptop top type keyboard for hours at a time, replacing it may help.

    Also, take a ten minute break every hour. Stretch, drink water to keep hydrated, walk around to get fresh air, slowly breathe deeply10 tiimes , use an eyedrop like Retaine to keep your eyes lubricated.

    IME, all your symptoms are most likely due to stressing out your body. Is there a chiropractic school near by?

    Good luck.:thumbsup:

    Been there, done that. :thumbsdown:
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  13. Bondobass


    Mar 14, 2014
    Lift weights. It's helping me with my wrist problems and I'm in my 50's....of course if you never have done resistance training before, always start with the light dumbbells.