My left hand went numb today!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by TFunkadelic, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. TFunkadelic


    Apr 9, 2006
    So today during a rather lengthy jam session (no breaks or anything), I noticed a slight tingling sensation in the fingers on my fretting hand. I didn't want to stop the groove, so I just kept playing and figured I'd deal with it later. It continued to worsen until it felt like my entire middle and ring finger were numb, especially when I used them to fret notes. It spread some to my pinky and pointer finger some as well, though not nearly as much. It was not accompanied by any pain at all, but it was definitely not a comfortable sensation. I'd liken it to the feeling you get in your foot or leg when the circulation gets cut off and it's fallen asleep (prickling tingling feel, almost like a mild electrical shock).

    I just played through it for the rest of that jam and after we finished, I shook my hand out and it returned to normal almost immediately, and the sensation never returned the rest of the night. Any ideas what this could have been? Is it possible one of my veins got pinched off or something or does this sound more like a nerve issue?


    *for what it's worth, I play with excellent technique*
  2. bobalew


    May 21, 2005
    Aledo, TX
    Fatigue can cause you to compromise your technique with out even being aware you're doing it. The cause could easily have been a change in the position of the elbow or the shoulder, even the lower back.

    None of us will be able to tell you exactly what happened. Based (bassed?) on what you have written a case can be made for "too much of a good thing".

    Just make a note to put the axe down and do some simple stretches every 45 minutes or hour.

    Blues? Rock? C&W? Jazz? Foxtrot? What did you find so compelling? :bassist:
  3. TFunkadelic


    Apr 9, 2006
    fusion/funk. I've been putting in an average of 3-4 hours a day for the last year or so, with a week break here and there due to fatigue. Maybe it's that time again.
  4. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I'd think your doctor's office would be a better place to look for an answer to this question than the internet.
  5. ^^Agreed. I find it quite strange that people have all sorts of hand problems and then come on Talkbass and type all about it. Just see a doctor!
  6. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Might be early warning signs of carpal tunnel. I'd see a doctor and see what they say. You might want to take an anti-inflammatory before a long session like this for next time.
  7. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Pinching a blood vessel would not cause numbness like that; it would cause your hand to turn purple. This sounds more like a pinched nerve, which is more-or-less what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is (compressed median nerve at the wrist, causing numbness). It's extremely common for electric bass players.

    Take breaks often to relax your hands, DO NOT PLAY THROUGH THE PROBLEM, stretch thoroughly & warm up before playing, and see a doctor. Wearing a splint might not be a bad idea (ask your doc first), especially at night (people tend to curl up their wrists while they sleep, exacerbating the problem, if that's what it is) and while playing.
  8. trust24


    Nov 4, 2008
    Go to the doctors and dont play as much. Surely 3-4 hours with one break is way to much. I have a question though, does playing bass increase your chance of getting arthritis in ur hands?
  9. TFunkadelic


    Apr 9, 2006
    I ain't made of money, and doctors don't work for free.
  10. guitarrock24


    Oct 18, 2007
    about 2.5 years ago i broke my hand
    i randomly felt numbness and pain
  11. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Maybe you had a stroke?
  12. tedw

    tedw Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2006
    Northwest U.S.

    Todd Johnson talks about topics such as yours in some of his training materials. I suggest you leave a post for him in Ask Todd Johnson forum. He's really great about responding.

    Todd's advice along with a physical therapist for performing artists has been very helpful. Hope that points you in the right direction.
  13. solomon707


    Dec 12, 2007
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I had a very similar problem (a few instances of numbness in exactly the same place, combined with some wrist pain). The research I did led me to take more frequent breaks, play for shorter sessions, stretch, and use my left ring finger less. Especially on the lower frets, the fact that your ring finger is your weakest finger can cause nerve and tendon problems. My issue cleared up. FWIW a visit to the doctor is still a good idea.
  14. TFunkadelic


    Apr 9, 2006
    I finally got to the doc, and he said it sounded like carple, though I seem to have caught it early enough. I've been prescribed a splint and no playing for 2 weeks. Hopefully it improves quickly.

    At any rate, thanks for the advice guys.
  15. Sounds like carpal tunnel. Try stretching your hands by grabbing the finger tips with your arms straight out and pulling them back towards you to form an L with your hand and arm. Don't over do it, and hold it for about 10 seconds. Do this about 3-4 times before you play. You will feel the tendons in your wrist stretching. Give them time to stretch out, and don't force it.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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