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I seem to have lost feeling in my left (plucking) arm...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, Mar 16, 2009.


  1. Damn it! My tendonitis keeps flaring up, and this time it's gotten so bad my arm keeps cramping up up to my elbow. I am also currently in a wrist splint to keep my wrist immobile.

    Any idea how I can adjust my playing to take this into account.
     
  2. onlyclave

    onlyclave

    Oct 28, 2005
    Seattle
    Stop typing completely.
     
  3. I'm typing with my good arm...
     
  4. Stay off of the computer and stop playing your bass for a couple of weeks.
     
  5. Stop....playing....bass? Man that's not going to be easy....
     
  6. You need to give yourself time to heal otherwise it will just get worse. I have tendinitis as well in both hands, and I have to really limit my playing and computer use.
     
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    +1
    For at least three or four weeks.
     
  8. OK will do.....at the end of the week when I finish uni for Easter.
     
  9. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    Tendonitis is often a nonspecific diagnosis for any tendon pain. Inflammation is typically short in duration. Consistent, long standing tendon pain is often not inflammatory in nature but rather the result of tendon tearing and degeneration. If cortisone injections don't address the pain then you may have a different condition - Google tendonosis. If you are experiencing numbness and/or tingling in the hand you may have compression/entrapment of nerves as they pass through muscle tissue in the arm/forearm or higher up say in the neck . You may want to find the best physical therapists in your area and look at the big picture - neck, shoulder, hand alignment as well as your playing habits - a good teacher will review your technique. Splinting and rest will help but the big issue is how bad is the tendon damage.
     
  10. ^ Good advice. I'm going to try and see if I can get some sort of physio appointment and see if that makes for any improvement.
     
  11. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I had tendinitis in my elbow (of my plucking hand).

    I've switched to playing with a pick (to alter the muscles used to pluck) which helped a lot. Now I vary between pick and fingers.

    Also, my chiropractor showed me an interesting thing. The pain in my elbow shows up right where the tendons meet the elbow joint. But THAT is only the symptom, not the problem. The REAL problem, the underlying cause for the tendinitis is in muscles elsewhere.

    She showed me points all along the muscles of my forearm and the back of my upper arm...and after digging in and massaging with her fingers, found the REAL source of the pain. The muscles on the top of my forearm (opposite the side of the tendon pain) were even more painful than the elbow! So were the muscles just above my elbow on the back of my upper arm!!!

    She told me to massage those areas while stretching my hand out backwards (like against a wall or table). Those areas hurt WAY worse than my elbow (who knew? 'cause without massaging those areas I didn't even know they hurt under normal use). But get this...after putting up with this tendinitis in my elbow for over two months, after two weeks of massaging those other areas...my elbow doesn't hurt any more!!!

    I stretch those muscles before I play and ice them down and massage them after gigs. No more tendinitis.

    My Chiropractor told me that it's the muscle fatiguing and cramping up from using those groups of muscles without stretching them first that causes too much stress on the tendons...and therefore the pain shows up in my elbow, when the problem isn't really the elbow itself.

    But not anymore!!! :hyper: :bassist:

    She did recommend lightening up on my playing as much as I could. If you are experiencing pain in your wrist, then check out all the muscles in your arm and hand. Dig in with a couple of fingers of your good hand all along every muscle of your hand and arm and see if you don't find some extremely painful spots somewhere other than where you are experiencing the pain now. The source of your pain is not where you are feeling it right now. I guarantee it.

    Use drugs or surgery as an absolute LAST resort. My regular doctor wanted to dope me up and recommended surgery if that didn't help. NO WAY! Unless you specifically injure an area (broken bone, sprains, etc.) the problem is coming from overusing muscles that aren't properly warmed up first and the pain typically shows up elsewhere. Think about that. You didn't injure it, right (fall on it, twist it, pull it from lifting)? It just kind of slowly came on from playing and now it won't go away, right? If you really think about it, chances are you noticed the pain long before now, but probably blew it off because it wasn't all that bad. Over time, it gets progressively worse (because you ignore it or don't do anything any differently). You overdid it with a muscle or group of muscles from playing (or from playing awkwardly using improper technique that put a strain on those muscles), but the symptom is showing up in your tendon(s). Medical doctors often want to treat the symptom when in fact the cause is typically something else entirely.

    My son has ADHD. Doctors wanted to put him on drugs to treat the symptom (very first thing they recommended...and while effective, those drugs are really bad for your body). We changed his diet and it went away. Drugs and surgery are not always the answer, and in fact are more than likely never going to get to the root cause of your problem. Even if you get cortisone injections, or have surgery the problem will just keep coming back if you don't change what caused it in the first place. Worse, would be getting injections to help you deal with it, but you keep playing without warming up (thinking it's OK now) and actually make the problem worse, or you have surgery and then scar tissue causes even more problems. There is a place for drugs or surgery, but that should never be the first attempt at becoming well again and staying that way.

    If you use your hands for a living (and I do as an artist and musician), there is no way in hell I'm letting anyone mess with my body (with drugs or surgery) without exhausting ALL other possible treatments first.
     
  12. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    Agreed that surgery should be a last resort. But get an MRI done!! You really have no idea what is going on inside of you without this. If surgery is necessary, you can do permanent and lasting damage if you wait too long. I have had very direct experience with this, as I also exhausted all of my other alternatives. See this thread:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=508846

    Good luck with whatever your eventual choice is!
     
  13. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Go to your Dr. This is not something to take lightly or to fix by using TB as a medical resource. Don't delay getting real a medical opinion or two or three.
     
  14. OK, so I went to the doctor and they merely brushed it off as tendonitis and nothing more.

    I did try and explain about playing bass and how it's affecting my playing, but few doctors here understand this kinda thing.

    I think I'm just going to sit this one out and if it happens again make sure I'm referred to a specialist.
     
  15. Lincoln

    Lincoln

    Nov 3, 2006
    You should see a Licensed Massage Therapist. Most issues of numbness or pain in your wrists, hands and fingers comes from lack of blood flow to these muscles. Lack of blood flow comes from knotted up muscles in your forearms. I guarantee if you press your thumb into the muscle on your forearm you will feel the knot.

    That lack of blood flow is what damages the nerves and causes the pain and numbness. Before I married my wife ( an LMT) I had similar issues. She work on my arms and showed me how to take proper care of my arms and I haven't had issues since. That was 4 years ago.

    Treatment ideas:
    Massage,
    Ice and then heat twice a day
    take an anti-inflammatory once a day
    drink lots of water!
    Always gently stretch all the muscles in your forearms, hands, shoulders and neck.

    and don't over practice - limit the amount consecutive minutes you play
     

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