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Pressure wrap - Carpal Tunnel

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by rhapbus, May 7, 2009.

  1. rhapbus


    Feb 28, 2009
    I have bad carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist (fretting hand)

    You know that pressure wrap stuff you put on sprains? Its that brown bandage stuff

    I use it to straighten my wrist while i play, it works wonders.

    I used to have bad aches and pains in my left wrist after i would play for more then 20 minutes, now i can go hours without hurting myself.

    Does anyone else do this?

    And i also want to know, does anybody else have wrist problems and have ways of dealing with them while you play? I wanna hear them all !
  2. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    I have had a radial nerve palsy in my right arm (plucking hand side) for almost 2 months.

    I basically can't lift my wrist at all and today was the first time I could move more than my index finger (playing with my middle finger for the first time in 2 months).

    My right wrist and most of my hand is basically temporarily paralyzed. The doctor figures it will last another month or two and quickly go back to close to normal. Complete pain in the ass.

    Anyways, the wrist "limps" in the same position I normally play bass, so I have been able to actually gig almost all of the tunes I normally play (no slap at all though as I can't physically do the slap motion).

    I had a tensor bandage on my wrist and a plaster splint, but couldn't stand it. The doctor also told me moving it, using it, playing bass, etc. will help in the healing process.

    Fretting hand would be worse though!
  3. hentor


    Jan 2, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Umm...in my day job, I work as an occupational health and safety advisor for several companies. I have also suffered from CTS over the years due to a combination of playing bass and handling my day duties.

    This is written not knowing how you use the pressure wrap but...as it exists to tighten and constrict motion in an area....

    Putting direct pressure over the wrist is a good way of making the CTS worse. CTS is caused by the tunnels in your wrist becoming constricted, either by improper body mechanics combined with overuse or direct trauma. Ace and Tensor bandages would seem to constrict the motion in this area...

    Have you talked to your doctor about this and discussed proper splinting or playing mechanics? If you have coverage, you can even talk to a sports medicine specialist to make you splints that are tailored to help you.

    I used to play with a splint until I got used to using a hand position with a straight wrist. This may involve adjusting how you hold/wear the bass.

    It doesn't take much to retrain yourself to hold your wrist in the proper position, once you get used to it.
  4. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I've had to change my left hand technique in the last few years due not to CPS but some other kind recurring sprain-like injury to my wrist.

    I used to play with my hand like this:

    In this interview she describes her left hand technique using the thumb as a pivot and keeping it more pointed towards the headstock. More importantly, she keeps the wrist as straight as possible instead of cranking it around with a bent wrist.

    I've had a fairly significant reduction in problems with my wrist since then, because the fingers and hand are simply a lot stronger with this kind of positioning. It's harder to do on my 6 string than on my 5, but my 5 is my main instrument anyway so I take advantage of the thinner neck. I still have to crane a little bit when I'm down in half position, but it's helped by using fingers 1-2-4 (or even just 1-4 for pentatonics) down there rather than the "one finger per fret" technique.

    So adopting this may help. Carol Kaye is the master of being able to play for days and weeks on end without getting injured, so when she talks about that I listen....

  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't think Myung's technique is bad. Looks like it would hurt but I just tried it and it doesn't. I think he was just trying to get a stronger octave tap with the ring finger and rolled his wrist around to get more of an angle for octaves.

    But I'd agree that the Simandl fingering Carol espouses is a good thing for people who have difficulties making stretches and pivots like that.
  6. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold Gold Supporting Member

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    take a break, if you can. Let your wrist heal up a bit. I wish I would have followed the advice, if it hurts stop. I have severe problems with CTS and tendonitis. I have daily pain and if I were to get a dream gig tomorrow I would have to say no. Try different positions on your bass and play where you feel the least amount of pain or discomfort.

    If you have to play, stretch and take some anti inflamation drugs like advil or aleve. But this is just temporary.

    Best of luck ,

  7. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    You may be right, and I have nothing to offer except anectodal evidence.

    But I get a pain in my right hand at the wrist once in a while, (thumb tendon) and if I ace bandage it the pain goes away immediately. I've found in situations where you have to play, an ace bandage or wrap works well for me to eliminate the pain.

    Most say that taking time off is best of course.

    Also, by the way, my son's guitar teacher who is supposed to be some kind of hot shot says that taking one day a week off from playing should be mandatory for everyone. Sort of a "day of rest" thing.
  8. mndean


    Mar 20, 2009
    First, I don't know why that's working for you, but it shouldn't. maybe it's forcing your wrist straighter and that's doing more for you than the wrap is hurting you.

    Second, I restarted playing bass after many years away. I had CTS and surgery (do to workplace injury), and even now I still suffer from intermittent pain. Pile that on top of the fact that my fingers are shorter than most people (though my hand isn't that small), and I had a hell of a time playing, even though I did fine before CTS. I never could do OPFP on a regular scale bass and with the fat neck on my current regular scale bass, I was in pain constantly, so I got a short scale bass w/a much thinner neck and don't ask me why, but it helped me a lot with technique. So much so in fact that I just recently went back to the fat neck regular scale bass and have far less pain than I used to.

    It's amazing to see that Carol Kaye vid and realize that my fretting hand's thumb is positioned now a lot more like hers than what I usually see from other bassists (and what I was doing before), and I changed my thumb position just to keep the pain away. If it's good enough for Carol Kaye, it's more than good enough for me.

    If it works, do it, is my motto. But when you're dealing with CTS, better try to get it taken care of. I had the surgery and it helped but was far from a cure. For others it is a cure.
  9. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I also think this is strange and would like to ask where you got the diagnosis that it is CTS. There are a few other conditions that have a similarity to CTS, but are no way related in their treatment.