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So I have tendonitis..

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Garrett Mireles, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. It's in my right elbow, my finger-plucking side.

    Originally, I thought I was hitting the weights too hard. Curling 65 pounds at age 16, I figured I should lay off. So now I'm down to 50 pounds, and I even took a week off of curling.

    It's gone down a little bit, but it's still there. It sucks because if I do more than 6 reps it hurts like a mofo when I drop the weights.

    So last night I was flipping through some old BP issues while watching some murder movie, and I came accross the issue with the "Tendonitis: The Great Silencer" story. I was reading it..and I started to realize..maybe it's my bass playing technique that caused it?

    Now that I think about it, I've had the pain ever since I got my first 5 string bass (a few weeks ago)..give or take a few days.

    Could this be it?

    I don't sit like most people. Most people have their bass (if you're right handed) resting on the outer edge of their right thigh. But I have it resting between my legs, on the inner part of my left thigh.

    Is this the problem? I've been trying to find a bass instructor, but I can't find one. @&@#%^$ local hawaiians "oh no cuz we no teach da bass heeya bra"

    Oh well, what do you guys think? Oh that article also mentioned icing down the area after practice..I'll start doing that.

    Edit - Also, I just remembered, one of the guys said "i got it from doing too much too young, i got so fast it was rediculous". Could speed be a factor? I can't hit 16ths at 180 yet, it's more like 172 or so. And I do that for about..45 min a day or so.
  2. No one seems to be helping you with advice so here are my opinions. I have tendonitus.

    Yes, if you are serious about playing at that speed for 45 minutes (!!!) that alone could be responsible for your pain. Play quality more than quantity at least until you heal up!

    In my opinion, playing on your left knee, in the classical guitar position should be helpful not hurtful for you. It allows you to keep both wrists straighter while you're playing. Probably the very best thing that you can do. Also keep your neck straight as possible and breath in a constant relaxed manner while playing.

    Gary Willis' video will show you that he does this for these very reasons. Under NO circumstances bend your wrists or play with your bass slung low in the "thrash rock" position.

    Definitely ice after playing. From injury books I've read, you're not supposed to overdo it. About 30 seconds sliding the ice pack up and down your arm just until everything gets cold and numb. No longer than that. The flip side of this treatment is to warm your hands in very warm water BEFORE you practice.

    Check out a chiropractor who deals with tendonitus. It can really help. Dont screw around with this injury. The scar tissue build up can become permanent. Either lay off entirely for a couple of weeks or if you can't bring yourself to do that, play gently and slowly for short periods (half hour) with a couple of hours rest inbetween sessions. In my opinion (I'm no doctor) playing at 172 with a repetitive strain injury is "suicide". About twice a year I get a bad "attack" and it's VERY depressing not being able to do just about anything and worrying that it's permanent this time!!!!

    Although your rapid playing may have caused tendonitus, other causes and/or contributers are computer typing/mousing, your shoulders are always forward which is bad. A bad fall onto your bent back hands can cause tendonitus from the impact. Get a book of repetitive strain injury stretching excersises and DO them EVERY time you practice. It makes a HUGE difference. Good luck!
  3. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I have it too - fresh in the past two weeks :mad:

    My PT told me yesterday that it was probably more due to weight lifting and not bass playing, but any activity that puts a strain on your wrists won't help.

    Playing fast is probably not the underlying cause if you warm up properly and have good technique, but it probably is aggravating it. (but, as always, if it hurts, STOP).

    Also, lay off the weights until the pain is gone. I'll bet they are responsible.

    Good luck!
  4. Yes, weight lifting can be a cause. Lou Ferrigno (spelling?)-the TV "Hulk" had to have carpal tunnel surgery a few years back from weightligting/body building. I still think that it's not going to help to play at 180 bpm for 45 minutes everyday though! One would have to have hopes of making big money or already making big money to put themselves through that kind of repetitive strain and not suffer some consequences! There was a Canadian guy whose name I unfortunately can't recall now, who had ads for an independent album claiming to be the fastest per second bassist in the world. That guy can't play at all now due to RSI! Careful what you wish for, maybe.
  5. Wow :eek:

    Jim, you've been a big help man. I find it odd that you can get CTP from weightlighting though..you don't make many finger movements when lifting.

    I'll definitely be more careful. Last night I tried practicing with my bass on my right leg...nope, too awkward.

    You guys heard of Enrique (i think)? He has infomercials on tv for his acoustic guitar, he's a mexican looking dude with the black clothes/hat, I just realized that he plays like I do, when you mentioned the 'classical position'.
  6. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Most wrist problems don't arise from finger movements so much as bending of the wrists - which does happen a lot with weight lifting, especially if you are working on your biceps.

    Hey, I also use "classical position" :cool: ... less neckdive, I find...

    Jim - what is RSI? :confused:
  7. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Sorry to hear about your injury, Garrett.

    Yes, that could be it!! 16ths @ 172 for 45 minutes a day sounds like a *bad* idea to me, unless your technique is spot on. Which presumably, since you have developed tendonitis, it is not.

    Sure I guess Jaco could play 16ths at 172 for 45 minutes a day without injury, but he had the technique (not to mention the stamina).

    I find it difficult to play fast without getting tense - and being tense is not good, I believe. And trying to play fast while tense is even worse! But I don't try to improve my speed by carrying on practicing fast regardless until I can do 16ths and 180!! I simply practice it slowly, and gradually speed it up. The aim is to play without that tension. If you have to play slowly to do it - then so be it. But sacrificing that for speed seems like asking for trouble.

    Playing that fast is really *not* that important - especially so when it causes injury like this.
  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Repetitive Strain Injury.
  9. Yep. Repetitive Strain Injury. Yes, also it is the bending back of the wrists during weightlfting.
    ( I also lift...) I'm pretty sure that I got my original injury from tripping over new-ridiculously high street curbs in my town and falling hard on my hands-wrists bent backwards natch. Playing aggravates it if I'm not careful to keep wrists straight and take frequent breaks. Read up, talk to chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. DO THOSE STRECTCHES in the books. Rest from bass and weights first for two or three weeks and stretch and you may lick it right there if you're careful later. It's a drag I know...
  11. HotRoded


    Jun 6, 2003
    The best, if not only remede to tendonitis is to rest. Medecin will help lowering the pain, but will not really cure. I know that's not great, but this is how you will recover the fastest.

    The tendon is not like the muscle, you can not educate it, make it stronger by working out, etc...

    Good luck, and I hope you get better quickly.
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    You sit there dedicating 45 minutes of your day to playing 16ths at 180bpm and yet you arent't willing to learn the slightets bit of theory to support your playing?

    Why do you want to play 16ths at 180bpm? Does one of your bands songs require that?

    Do you use a pick or fingers to play at that speed?
    If you're trying to use your fingers, try a pick instead, that's what they're made for, guitarists use them remember!

    Hmm, I have my doubts whether anyone could handle that sort of repetative excercise, great technique or not. That's like cracking one off about 10 times a day :eek:

    Garrett: as general rule of thumb, if doing something hurts, don't do it!
  13. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    You haven't been in the chat room have you Howard? Suffice to say, for certain members of TB (who happen to be 15 years old or less), 10 times a day isn't all that much! :eek:
  14. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I wouldn't be so sure that you're not getting tense. It's very easy to do without realising.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think this is is a good point that deserves to stand out and be remembered.

    I was getting treatment for a bad back and discussed many things with the London-based physiotherapist - so of course we talked baout bass playing and he mentioned how had treated many pro bass guitar players.

    So - many self-taught players end up injuring themselves in some way, as they are liable to be using bad technique. The physio's brother was a symphony orchestra conductor and his family were classical musicians, so - he could contrast/compare how correct classical technique and bad self-taught technique varied.

    So his experience was that bass guitarists from a rock/pop background, were particularly susceptible, in away that clasically-trained Cellists and Bassist weren't.
  16. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I can well believe it. I wonder if the whole (IMO ridiculous) thing of having your bass or guitar dangling around your groin (and lower) has a part in it too, as well as bad technique.

    I suppose the desire not to learn good technique comes from the same thing as not wanting to learn theory... whatever that is... and I'm not convinced it's just laziness.
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    ...this IS bad technique surley.

    and abolsutley yes, I used to wear my bass at waiste level, now about low chest because my fretting wrist started to give me grief when I started on my 5 string (MUCH fatter neck!).. and it's got a lot higher rencetly because it aloows me to play cleaner, better and easier and i care much more about that than how I look :) ...as was probably apparent when i came to your gig ;)
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well that's certainly going to give you a bad back if you do it for long enough - but these types of bands usually end up with something else getting them first - heroin addiction, premature death or just losing their record contract when they go out of fashion a few weeks later!! ;)

    But playing the bass low is likely to have a bad effect on the position of your wrists - especially the left one, which could easily lead to RSI.
  19. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Lots of pro bassists do it night after night.
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Meow!! :D

    Nope, sorry, I think that's nonsense!

    Name me ONE genre of music, one band, heck even one SONG that would require a bass player to play 16ths at 180bpm for 45 minutes... regardless of whether it's required every night or not, I can't think of any scenario where a bass player would be required to do that! It's 12 beats per second :eek:

    That is way fast than a disco 16th note groove, as an 1/8th note groove oty would 360bpm for Gods sake - nobody plays at that speed for 45 minutes! Super-nasty-death-filthy-rampant-dirty-rough-norweigan-Metal maybe, but it's really just flurry of notes it probably wouldn't even sound musical on many instruments!

    Garrett is not taling about 16th notes as an accent to a line, or a couple of bars in a song, he's talking about solid 16th notes at 180bpm for 45 minutes! That's why he's starting to get RSI!

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