Elbow pain

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by count_funkula, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. I have been playing a lot lately and I'm starting to develop pain in my elbows and hands. Whats the best way to take care of my joints an prevent possible damage?
  2. Its probably gout. eat more vegetables, avoid red meat.

    Thank you and good night.
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I doubt that it is gout.

    I have had gout twice in my life, and it is one of the worst pains that there is. Rated right up there with kidney stones, higher than childbirth pains.

    And it normally starts in your toes, ankles, or knees, although you can have it in any joint, in theory.

    Count, it sounds like you could be having problems with repetetive stress injury(RSI). Check your strap length, and make sure that it isn't too low. This can cause your wrist or elbow to be at a severe angle when playing, and can eventually lead to carpal tunnel syndrome(CTS).

    If the discomfort persists or gets worse, check with a good sport medicine specialist.

    Once you get RSI or CTS, it can make doing a lot of things with your hands/arms painful, and even cause permanent nerve damage.

    If it is RSI, the only way to make the pain go away is to stop whatever is causing it(playing the bass) for several days.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Here are some other thoughts too. They are just speculation, but worth checking out. Is the action on your strings too high for your comfort? Are the strings too heavy a guage for your comfort? Is the fretboard too wide for your comfort? What about the bass itself? Is it too big for your size or too heavy for your comfort?

    As was mentioned above...where do you "wear" your bass? Is it hanging really low, Duff McKagan style? Or could you have it too high which creates othe rangles for your elbow to deal with.

    You say both hands hurt. That tells me maybe the action is too high or the guage of the strings is too heavy or both. Which elbow hurts? The elbow of the fretting hand or the picking hand? If it is the elbow of the arm you fret with, it indicates that the angle at which your elbow relates to the fretboard may be wrong which could be eased by adjusting your bass strap. I know high hanging basses are "uncool" in metal, but don't play around with overuse injuries.

    If it is the elbow of the arm you pick with, I'm not sure what could be causing that except again the height at which your bass is hanging.

    One more thing, how do your hands hurt? Is it the joints of the fingers or thumb or is the pain in the wrist. Do your hands ache or do they feel numb? Numbness and tingling usually indicate carpal tunnel syndrome. Aching joints however, may indicate damage due to playing too hard or too long or at the wrong angle.

    I say see a doctor for evaluation. There are actually doctors who specialize in hands and arms. Such a specialist can show you exercises to strengthen muscles in your arm that will help your elbow and stretching and warm up exercises to use before and after you play. Depending on how bad your pain is, they may also tell you to ice the painful areas or to rest for awhile.

    The main "therapy" though may just be correcting any techique or equipment problems which may be contributing to your frustrating problem. Get well soon.
  5. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    :snip:Numbness and tingling usually indicate carpal tunnel syndrome :snip:

    For how long?-b/c i've had on occasion slight tingling in my elbows and on occasion either after wards or during a long session on it [4 hrs +] for like 5-10mins max & i'm hopin it's not CTS-i'm only 15 [16 in under 2 months :D ] . Back to the orig. post what Boplicity and Embellisher is entirely right IME. I started off with my strap really low-upper horn belt line. Now, upper horn is not quite at my shoulders [about at arm pit]& all the weight pretty much on my rib cage & my gut is there for all to see. If it's persisting go to a doc quick. thats all
  6. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Its not only carpal tunnel, usually that has a larger pain component. I would be more inclined in this case to investgate an ulnar nerve palsy. This can be caused by trauma, repeated leaning on the elbow, or asymetric bone growth. It is also quite common for the ulnar nerve to find its way out of its muscle protection and become quite superficial. The symptomology is very similar to a palsy, numbness, tingling in the fouth and fifth fingers, loss of strength and dexterity.

    Carpal tunnel is a result of compression of the median nerve in the volar aspect of the wrist between the longitudinal tendons of the forearm muscles that flex the hand and the transverse superficial carpal ligament. The pain is usually localized in the wrist or palm, with weakness in the first three fingers and thumb.

    A short explanation, hope it helps.

    Bop is probably right on track though, check your technique and adjust accordingly.