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!  

just found out I have carpal tunnel in my fretting hand

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by drewphishes, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    SO been having numbness for a while in my left hand. finally today was diagnosed with carpal tunnel. Playing has actually helped strengthen my fingers and relieve me of some numbness.

    Im sure Im not the only one and I refuse to let this stop my playing.

    Anyone out there have any words of advice for me? any exercises to help? anything at all?
  2. I would hope whoever diagnosed would have given you what to do. Here is what my Doctor recommended for me. Go to WalMart and get the CT brace. It costs about $20. Wear it at night while you sleep. That gives your tendons 8 hours of rest and may do the trick. Other than that Motrin or Advil. However I do not recommend those drugs for long term, they flush through the kidney and can be harmful if used for long periods.

    My CT pain has stopped from just wearing the brace at night. Best to find out what you are doing wrong and stop doing it. No really, there is no pain in bass done right. There is a reason for the CT pain, find out what it is and fix it.

    If you are right handed I suspect the left hand pain is from fretting with too much angle. Use the pad of our finger not the tip of your finger - this may ease the pain. Using the pad will also help with killing the string sustain, thus help with the muting.

    Guitar guys use the tip of the finger so each note gives a clean sound when strummed, we don't strum, but, we do sound each note - one note at a time, thus the pad of the finger does a good job of this. See if that helps.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The only advice I can give is to listen to your doctor. I'm sure he/she has given advice as what to do and what not to do to help you recover. Personally I would not continue to play unless you get the OK from the doctor. Otherwise you could make things even worse.

    Best of luck..and here's to a speedy recovery. :)
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sorry to hear about the CT diagnosis. I hope it is a mild case and a quick recovery. :)

    My suggestion for avoiding stress injuries in the left hand is this: Don't make your palm look like a butt! Try this: Hold your hand in front of you, palm up. Now touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your pinky finger. Notice how your palm compresses and squished together to make a deep crease, like a butt crack? That is the absolute worst and most damaging hand position you could possibly hold!

    Now spread your thumb and pinky apart, like you are opening a baseball mitt to catch a pop-up. Notice how your palm becomes smooth and flat. That is a relaxed and comfortable hand position that won't cause pain or injury.

    Here is a photo of a player with the dreaded "butt hand." Notice how the palm at the base of his thumb is compressed and deeply creased, which is causing it to turn pale from lack of circulation. Not good!! This photo is a great example what NOT to do.

    fearceol likes this.
  5. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    No push-ups. See a chiropractor. Most CT is an issue up in the neck. Often our posture while texting, reading, watching TV has our necks bent at a serious angle. This causes issues all the way to the hands. Please do the research on the long term efficacy of surgery. It's not impressive.

    Avoid the cortisone shots. One side effect is spontaneous tendon rupture. Again look it up. You don't need just pain relief you need the causes reversed.

    Have your chiropractor or a good PT watch you play bass sitting and standing. They will have you adjust your posture to continue playing. This is not a death sentence or permanent condition. Regardless of how the doctors see it you choose your health not them. Get well, be well.
  6. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    Side note, it is most likely unrelated to playing. I just picked the old 4 er 5 string up after a long hiatus about 6 months ago
  7. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    One more vote for wearing that wrist brace while you sleep. I have carpal tunnel in my plucking hand but this pretty much fixed it or at least made the symptoms not noticeable. As for stretches / exercises, stand up straight, look to the right, extend your left arm straight so it's parallel to the floor and pointing directly to your left with your palm facing forward. Bend your wrist back (fingers going towards your back) and gently move your arm further back, around a bit, up and down a bit, back forward, back again, etc (only move it a couple inches tops in any direction). Now rotate your palm 180 degrees so it's facing back, then bend your wrist towards your back again and repeat the process. This is called "neural flossing" and a physical therapist showed it to me. It helps a bit. Do it before and maybe after you play. The brace though, for real...
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  8. I've moderate to severe CTS in both hands: left (on the fingerboard) is worse.

    Seems to me that the more use the fingers get the less the problem is. So that personal practice helps ease the symptoms.

    I had all the tess at hospital. The surgeon said playing bass was one of the best things I could do to speed my recovery. In the end I decided against the op!

    Every night for some years I've worn a Cockup splint on both hands. It basically stops the wrist bending whilst in bed. These things are available from surgical appliance dealers: I got mine via eBay at around £10 / $10 each. They're relatively cheap-o plastic ones - but with an internal, steel bracing piece - but they last a year or two which is long enough and cost effective enough to see if they work.

    Hope you get it sorted.

  9. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 23, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.