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Nerve Damage, now what ?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by buzzbass, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    :atoz: As a bassist with cholestrol level of 200, I took vytorin and/or lipitor for about 16 mths. One of the supposed side effects that you're supposed to be aware of is unexplained muscle weakness, if it happens stop taking the drug. ok, fine. I never fealt any weakness, I'm a bodybuilder and fealt strong as ever. What I did notice is grip issues with my hands, about 6 months in. At 1st I'd get hand cramps while working on cars. You know, crank on a wrench and the hand cramps up & you drop the tool. At that point in my life, I wasn't playing in a band, so I never gave the bass playing a thought.

    Fast forward to today, I figured out that the drugs were causing my issues. I stopped taking them and I'm treating myself with natural supplements. The symptoms have definitely decreased, but I'm left now with much less grip strength, some motor difficulties, and a definitely diminished set of bass playing skills. My hands just don't work like they used to. Of course, I'm in 2 working bands now, and playing more than ever. Yet, I just cant do the things that I could do on bass just a couple of years ago.

    Anyone out there have any advice on how to fix myself ? Would therapy help, do those grip exeerciser things work ? Also, should I consider suing the drug company(s). I know that's what caused this, as things got a bit better after I stopped taking the drugs. And, the symptoms did return as soon as I tried a different perscription. I've been trying to fix this for about 6 months, on my own, with no luck :bawl: I'm really bummed about this. Anyone have any advice, on any of the points I've mentioned ? Just a warning to you guys, STAY AWAY from statin based cholesterol drugs.
  2. Wow. My doctor wanted me to try one of the cholestrol drugs after mine came back pretty high. My mom couldn't take any of them because she got hand cramps. I didn't realize they had long term effects like that. Sorry to hear you've got the problem. I would talk to the doctor that prescribed the drugs and tell him what's happening and see if he has any recommendations. Most regular doctors don't seem to know much about natural treatments though, but they sure know how to doll out the pills.
  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    My boss had a similar problem and stopped taking them pretty quickly. There isn't much data published yet, but from what I've read, it potentially has something to do with mitochondrial damage which would explain the muscle thing. It's listed as a side effect, so besides becoming an adverse event statistic, you wouldn't get much from suing. You could try the hand grip thing, stuff to keep up function of the muscle. Build the tissues back up.
  4. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    so far, I'm squeezing a tennis ball. But I plan to get one of those grip trainer things that have a button for each finger. I played for 4 hrs today going over new material for the band, and my hands are so wiped out now, that it's hard to type. I do think I can rehab this, I just need to find out what will work for me. As far as natural cholesterol remedies go, I'm using the following;

    red yeast rice
    fish oil
    oat bran

    I do think it's going to be a long road back though. Anyone have any suggestions ? I do plan to seek out a physical therapist for help. Luckily I'm in bands that don't require Steve Harris' right hand or Geddy Lee's left hand.
  5. Papazita


    Jun 27, 2008
    I'm wondering if your troubles are from a muscular condition, as you describe, or from actual nerve damage, as stated in the topic title. If it's nerve damage, well...

    I have some significant nerve damage in my left (fretting) hand due to an accident a few years back. Two surgeries, one at the elbow and one at the wrist, haven't done a thing to help. My ulnar nerve, running from my elbow up to the ring and little finger is, frankly, fried. It hurts constantly, most days its a dull throb that I can ignore easily enough, some days...some days, I swear I can feel them doing the surgeries all over again! Every cut. :bawl: I have little feeling left in my ring and little fingers, mostly cold and pain and a little bit of heat and pressure.
    Needless to say, having 2 gimpy fingers kinda hampers the bass playing! Most of what I can do comes from muscle memory, since I can't really feel what those two fingers are doing. Some days I can do it, some days I can't. I tried all kinds of gimicky little hand-therapy devices, even those riff-grip things, and they do help, to a degree. After the first surgery, that riff-grip was my best friend! But those only work on the muscle, not the nerves inside. To my knowledge, there really isn't anything that can fix a damaged nerve. Nerve cells don't grow back; they don't heal. They only get weaker, untill they finally die completely. A good b-complex vitamin is said to help, but it hasn't worked for me during the last 2 years, so that's not a claim I can believe in.

    It sucks. You just have to do the best you can with what you have left. I know that's not much in the way of advice, but I don't know what else to say. Nerve damage can't really be fixed; you just have to deal with it.

    Good luck!
  6. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    I like how the side effects of the drugs are usually worse than the actual condition you have.

    Try and stay clear of most pharmaceuticals.
  7. Wow, welcome to the world of enlightenment :rolleyes:

    If it's a weakness, it doesn't sound like nerve damage (but get it checked out of course). Cramps are a muscular thing, as i'm sure you know. If it was nerve damage you'd be more likely to loose sensation and loose the ability to control the muscles, not to mention the possibility of random shakes etc. And loosing your grip strength, hmm, thats a sign of muscular weakness, just like what was stated in the warnings, but more on that later . . .

    You're a bodybuilder right? I'm guessing you do a lot of gym time trying to look strong, as opposed to being strong (sorry, weightlifters jib there ;) ). Why not do some pinch grips with plates they have there. Also, do you use straps when lifting? If so, then stop, as they sure as heck don't do anything for your grip. (granted, it helps you target specific muscles more and not be bottlenecked by grip, but, you want to improve your grip strength and dexterity here).

    I'm not a huge fan of the hand-grip squeezer things, I'd say go for a powerball (or similar) when out of the gym, they are more fun :). But, its more a personal preference there, try what works best for you.

    Have a look here aswell:


    Statins have side effects, sure, but you are meant to monitor them yourself, and if it happens, drop them and take an alternative. Different people react differently to different drugs. Statins are actually a very successful medication when it comes to reducing cholesterol, and have, without a doubt saved many lives.

    And please don't go recommending that people don't take certain drugs and try the natural alternative. Just because you didn't act on a warning, doesn't mean others will be careless in respect to their medications. Scarily enough it could even put people off taking a medication which is helping them, and put their health at risk.
  8. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Go to an occupational therapist that specializes in hands. They can help you with fine motor movements.
  9. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    In practice, 'natural treatments' are useless for hypercholesterolemia. It would do patients well to exercise and improve their diets, but most do not want to make such major lifestyle changes. I could be healthier myself if I lost 10 or 15 pounds, but I won't do it. Then you have guys like the OP, who presumably lead a healthy, active lifestyle, yet STILL have high cholesterol (probably because his body is making too much of it).

    Statins have been alleged to cause motor neuropathy, rhabdomyolysis, and other side effects in some patients. Though the majority of users (and there are millions of them) are fine. There are other treatment options that you should explore with your doctor (bile acid sequestrants, ezetamide on its own, etc).

    RE: critiques of pharmaceuticals: It's all about risk vs. benefit. In this case he has no case against either his doctor or the company, because he was made aware of the risks. Furthermore, natural remedies can cause just as many problems. Pharmacological (high) doses of niacin, for example, can cause bad side effects as well. Taking high doses of other vitamins (A for example) can kill you, but with the exception of a few very harmless ones (vitamin C for example), many vitamins can have serious side effects at high dosages.

    Hopefully the damage is reversible. The first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor about it, and hopefully you can work out a plan. You may need to be evaluated by a neurologist, or have therapy. And if you're really lucky, it may just go away on its own.

    PS: Are you diabetic? That greatly increases the risk for neuropathy while on a statin.
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Read up on Coenzyme Q10
  11. Just wondering why that is?

    I've seen instances where they are promoting the use of statins for diabetics.

    My old man has had T1DM since he was a teen and suffers from naturally high cholesterol (he has a great diet and is active for his age, considering). But I know he's been on the statins for years.

    Or is it just because both diabetes and statins can cause peripheral neuropathy?
  12. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I take statins and don't have any hand or muscle problems.
  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS


  14. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
  15. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    It sounds like you have carpel tunnel or Ulner /radial(elbow) nerve damage, so exersizing your hands like you have actually causes more damage to the nerves in your hands & wrists. I had it and caught it early. Now I do not suffer from it.

    The reason actauly could be from using computers, playing bass & for your Ulner Elbow nerve, doing repeated reps.


    You could have all three. See a specialist ASAP and do not do any more exercises, as little as possible computer, no bass. You can try wearing Wrist braces at night. Sold at Walgreens.
  16. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    thanks. I have no pain or tingling issues, just the grip strength and cramping issues. the symptoms will definitely increase or decrease with the meds. I think I have the cause pretty well figured out. Thankfully no injuries here.
  17. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Had ulnar nerve transposition done on both my elbows. The braces won't help if there is truly nerve entrapment and damage. Surgery will relieve the symptoms, but there is no way to "fix" it back to normal.

    It looks like you got the issue pinned down to the meds, but keep an eye on the cramping, especially if it happens when you wake up in the morning.

  18. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Those are also symptoms of carpel tunnel, ulnar. When I went to a Dr, one of the tests for carpel tunnel was grip strength. Not everyone has every symptom.

    Really a wrist / hand specialist is in order. Why not go to one?

    Arm chair diagnosis is not a great idea if you damage things further, what ever the cause.
  19. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Cost for one. If a person does not have health insurance, visiting a family doctor to get a referral and then go to a specialist is going to be $$$$. If the specialist wants to order a NCS or similar, add some more $'s.


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