1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Does shaking your hand actually relieve pain?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tupac, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I've seen Flea do that a lot between songs. Does that actually relieve anything? When my wrist starts to hurt after playing something with a large finger spread (like a scale), the most comfortable thing is to keep them straight out. Any bending hurts, I'd imagine shaking them would suck.
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Increases circulation.
  3. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Exactly, it promotes blood/oxygen flow which counteracts the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles.
  4. Why shake your hand? Why not fix the improper technique that caused the pain in the first place?
  5. sharpbass

    sharpbass Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2011
    I guess it could. There is a pain theory called the "pain gate theory". This theory basically says that pain nerves go through a gate at a junction. Also passing through that junction are nerves that sense feelings such as rubbing. If the nerves carrying rubbing signals (or shaking signals) overpower the pain nerves, it essentially closes the gate. This closing of the gate stops the pain, or diminishes it. This is why a dog will lick a cut or sore ankle. It's not to clean the wound, its that the sensation from the licking masks the pain.

    So I would say that for some, shaking could mask pain. On the other hand Flea may just be shaking out the stiffness to loosen up. That cat plays with some serious furry.
  6. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    It can also be helpful for nerve issues (which is what I've read Flea deals with). I have had nerve damage including dealing with carpal tunnel, and the shaking helps a ton to reduce the numbness, tingling, and burning.
  7. porterbass

    porterbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    Wait...should I lick my hand instead of shaking it? :)
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    +1. Prevention is better than cure.
  9. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
  10. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Also my first thought when I read the OP. Pain is usually a good sign you're doing something wrong. It's a plane crash waiting to happen.
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    This is the first stop, be proactive rather than reactive in such matters.

    Pain is not the issue as pain is an emotion, and as such is tied in to the pyscologicol way we view it, if we think its going to hurt then more than likely it will as out brain accomodates our thoughts, as will telling ourselves it does not....justification for pain helps endure it.
    My pain is not your pain, so how it is quantified is a personal thing, pain has its use, but it also has its draw backs.

    Shaking out the hands, as mentiond, is not so much relieving pain as relieveing muscular tension via increasing blood flow to and through muscles. This shaking also vibrates the muscle, so vibrates the nerve and nerve sheaths, so it helps relive the sensation of pain that we could associate with such tension.

    Stretches do the same thing, the help relieve muscle tension by stretching the muscles, as well as stritching the main nerve branches.
    Many people do not associate that as muscles contract and elongate, then so must the nerves that service them.
    The nerves run inside protective sheaths so they do not tear. If this movment is inhibited then we say they nerve is 'trapped'.
    The neve is being held and stretched rather than moving freely within the sheath, so we feel the effects more because the pain is not assosiate with a nerve ending response of a singe area, but along the length of the nerve as it is being over stretched due to the addition of a 'new fixed point'....which is what an entrapment is.

    I teach that is you shake out your hands you help shake out problems. Learn to use them before and after playing, or as flea does inbetween songs if needed. Use them with stretches and warm up and help keep your hands healthy....or at least give them a better chance to remain so. :)
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    It's not always improper technique that causes pain. Sometimes it due to other problems such as repetitive motion, tendinitis, etc. I have been playing since 1978 and every so often, I get pain and tingling. Definitely not due to technique, otherwise it would happen all the time.
  13. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    When I studied Double Bass my teacher John Repucc i/Berklee
    would consistently tell me to loosen my playing hand
    by shaking it. Worked all the time.
  14. I suspect my improper technique is called "aging".
  15. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    No, it's not……….:rolleyes:
  16. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    What have you read about Flea? I've seen him have his hand massaged between songs.
  17. Do any of you stretch before playing? I started doing this about 10 years ago and now I have problems if I don't.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nothing wrong with shaking your hand when you have a rest. Even if it's not in pain, it gets the blood flowing again, especially if you hold your hand up for a long period of time.
  19. DrJKO


    Sep 21, 2010
    I do stretch/warm up my hands only and no other bodyparts
  20. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I will shake my hand when I've been having to repeat a particular motion for a long period. It's not because my technique is bad, it's because my hand isn't getting a break by changing its motion.