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Had to take a leave from my band due to wrists :(

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by threshar, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    Quite depressed about this. I have tendonitis in both wrists and minor carpal tunnel in the other. It started getting better with daily exercises and physical therapy. Stopped the PT as the pain had been gone..

    then about a month ago it started coming back with a vengance. Playing just resulted in pain. Eventually I told the folks in the main band I play with they should start looking for a replacement as I simply cannot do it anymore. Friday was my last gig with them for the time being. During our set break I was sitting at a table with my wrists all bundled up in ice packs. sigh.

    sucks. Going to start PT up again, it is expensive but I guess it is the price I have to pay. hopefully it'll work out better.

    Doesn't help I type all day (I completely changed my posture, desk, etc. during the first round).

    anyway, just venting.

    Hope the rest of you have more luck than I have.

    I spent 4-5 hours yesterday with searing stabbing pain in my wrists.. nothing helped. doing betterish today, but could go back at any second.

    I'd also like to note that girl scout cookies are tasty.
  2. Angelsbass


    Feb 10, 2011

    Man I'm so bummed to hear that. I too have been having problems with carpel tunnel in my left wrist. It had gotten better but has recently been bothering me when Im playing. I started wearing brace to bed again because I was starting to get numbness in arm and fingers. I can't inagine not playing...it scares me. Best of luck to us both. Take care brother :crying:
  3. Portphilia


    Jun 8, 2012
    What's your hand positioning look like? There might be something about your technique you can change to help ease your pain when playing. For example, lifting your elbow up on your right arm when you're playing fingerstyle so that your wrist isn't resting on the bass and having to bend.
  4. I feel your pain, so to speak. Last year I took a 2 month hiatus from the band due to extreme wrist pain - tendonitis. Now I stretch and do warm ups prior to any playing. The pain started to come back a few weeks ago and I trace it to a common trigger. Both times I was aggressively playing a regular 6-string guitar for one reason or another. You'd think the muscles and strength from bass playing would carry over to guitar but it doesn't. I use a different set of muscles and hand positions. So, the hell with guitar world, I'm sticking to bass, period.
  5. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    Early on in my bass days I took time to properly position things - my left wrist stays pretty straight unless I'm way high up the neck which I tend to bend the wrist a bit (in all cases there may be some minor left/right bending to stretch to hit a fret) right hand goes straight down. I use a floating thumb so there is pretty much no bending there. I rarely slap.

    was just looking at a couple pictures, there appears to be some bending of my left wrist sometimes (in some pics it is dead on straight, in others it has a slight bend)

    couple vids & pics showing a couple diff settings:

    I do see some bending. I've been wearing a brace while playing for a while. it helps somewhat.

    also probably going to have work get an egronomics consultant to take a lookat my work setup. Although nowadays my arms are parallel to the keyboard, eyes straight forward to the monitor. feet flat on the floor. I also spend half the day in a standing position (standing desks are great).
  6. A few things, and really sorry you are experiencing this.

    I am the same with guitar. Painful to play. In fast, I sold my guitar last week. No more. Strings were hurting me.

    I restarted playing electric bass in my 40's and studied Carol Kaye's techniques who apparently had her share of physical problems that were overcome. I suggest you check out info on her website. Has kept my hands pain free for two decades.

    Aggressively playing may be one thing to look it, too.

    It has been my experience that people who have carpal tunnell may have a habit of pounding the computer keyboard with each finger. I tend to lightly touch the keyboard and get my whole hand involved.
  7. willop


    Feb 7, 2013
    beaver, pa
    I can take up to six months for tendonitis to go away - with rest. If you keep aggravating it it may never go away.
  8. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    yeah - and that is the big problem - taking 6 months off work is just not feasible. (I write code and it seems there is is no sane solution for voice recognition for coding.. sigh)

    hopefully with the lack of gigs (we play 2-3 gigs/week) it'll help. it better because I already miss it.

  9. I had some trouble with that to a minor extent and had my Doc outfit my with a wrist brace to sleep with. You may not realize that your wrists may be in contorted positions while you sleep. Your situation sounds a little more serious but you may want to ask about that possibility.
  10. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    Yep - already have braces I wear while I sleep. I don't really like them much because I cannot get comfortable with them on, but we'll see (I wore them for a month before with no real improvement.. but I'm trying once again. at this point I'm open to most anything)
  11. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    and ice every night
  12. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Here is a good link on the problems for computer users.


    Also if it is work related your employer may be liable for the injury as it is a health and safety issue in many countries...find out if it is in yours.

    As for not being able to stop you should take into account that of you do not stop and take the time off, then the injury may do it for you, but it will take longer to heal as you let the injury get so bad that it stopped you, you did not make the decision.

    Sorry for your situation, but RSI injuries are about management rather than cure, and your PT was part of that management. You need to find a management regimen to adhere to and learn what triggers your condition. Other steps you can take is look at what you can do as far as diet, exercise and stretches go, certain foods can inflame nerves, others can calm them down. So investigate your condition and learn about its relationships to you and learn to manage it......it pays off in the long term.:D

    If I can help you out with any advice on your problem drop me a line or post any questions and if I can help I will post back.

  13. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Been there (repetitive stress type injuries resulting in nagging pain throughout the day) and am now mostly recovered. Focus on the physical therapy and if they have you do exercises at home never miss them. It took me about two years to get back to where I was when I just started to have pain. Pretty much all of the suggestions here have been good, although one was missed (in my opinion at least): consider moving to a short scale bass when you do play bass. It changes the ergonomics a lot and reduces string tension as well (all other things being equal). In any case, I wish you the best.
  14. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Since you write code, I'd invest in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse or track ball controller. A lot of time CPS is from computer work. I'm sure you're PT has helped with that.
    You might want to investigate a bass with a thinner neck (maybe an Ibanez 5) when you can return to playing. Or if you have the $$ these guys seem to make nice short-med scale 5 strings:
  15. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    I got a ubass about 2 months ago but couldn't really use it until recently due to what turned out to be a defective A string (in tune open, by the time you get to 12th fret it was massively sharp), so I'm hoping that may help.

    I've used ms natural keyboards since around 1996 or so. When this whole wrist thing started acting up I got one of these - http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/advantage.htm which (once you get used to it) is very, very nice. The layout of the buttons is so much more sensible than a regular keyboard. Very little finger movement to hit every key including backspace, ctrl and alt.

    thanks for the tips everyone.
  16. Have you tried acupuncture? It can help.
  17. mickeyj4j


    Dec 5, 2006
    Hey man just wanting to find out what make and modled of keyboard this is. it does not seem clear to me from teh link. what am i missing.

    also how did you manage to fix the A string.
  18. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    You have my deepest sympathies and I hope you find a solution, I have a good idea what you are going through.

    I had a job where I was using a mouse for 8 to 10 hours a day some days. I had used a big old workstation with a man sized mouse which gave me no problems but we got new kit which had a smaller "girly" mouse and I have big hands, that is when the problems started. I got so I was swapping hands with the mouse every 20 minutes both hands were affected. My employers flatly denied it was work related and refused to allow me to bring a larger mouse in from home as we weren't allowed to "modify" their IT equipment. Fortunately the band I was in was on a short hiatus so no gigs but we were still rehearsing occasionally.

    I was diagnosed as having CTS and had the splints and injections, that did little or no good, and was booked in for surgery which is several months wait in the UK. Before I got to the top of the list I took early retirement and within weeks the pain was subsiding so I cancelled the surgery, a few months later it had gone completely. I now use a large gaming mouse which is very comfortable but still am very careful how much time I spend holding it.
  19. I have been through similar issues, only in the right wrist though, but to the point of icing my wrist between sets and driving home with my wrist hanging out the window (right hand drive) in the middle of the night mid winter.

    Two things got me back to normal. I did do physio but without great effect.

    The first was that I swapped to using a right handed mouse left handed. I don't swap buttons as I often use shared computers.

    The second is that I now play bass with a pick.

    Doing either of those things as I used to gives me a sore wrist in minutes but I am otherwise normal.

    One thing I discovered is that using a mouse left handed with the buttons reversed causes me left wrist issues. I have not yet tried right handed mouse with reversed buttons to see if it may give me fewer issues.
  20. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014

    I have had an issues with my left wrist and it was getting to the point where I thought I was going to have to switch over and play synth bass using only my right hand. However the wrist seems to be getting better and the only thing that has changed is that I started doing some trigger point massage in the muscles of the wrist and surrounding. You might want to look into that as a possible solution to the problem. Many years ago I thought I had carpal tunnel also but again it was just due to some muscle trigger point issues that responded very well to the massage.

    I hope you get better and can continue to play bass - I can relate with what you are going through.

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