Stenosing Tenosynovitis aka Trigger Finger Surgery and Capral Tunnel

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Reviresco, May 20, 2016.


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  1. Reviresco

    Reviresco It’s all success if it’s what you need. Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England
    Hello all...

    So over the past year, I have a a lot of pain in the index finger on my right hand (my plucking hand) and in my wrist and pinky on my left hand. Recently, the index finger got so bad that when I wake up in the morning my finger is stuck in the bent position and it takes me 5 hours to get it to straighten out. After that, the pain last all day and night.

    Finally, a few weeks ago, I went to the doctor and they gave me a cortisone shot. That hurt like the dickens! How ever for a few weeks the finger felt much better. Then, this week, the shot wore off and the finger became so swollen it looked like a hot dog!

    The doctor is now telling me the only way to fix this is with surgery to repair the damage of the tendon in my finger.
    I am just curious if anyone else on here has had the surgery and if it effected their playing at all. I'm so worried that I will never be able to play again or won't be able to play as well as I can now. The docs reassure me that I should recover well, but interested to hear from anyone who has had a hand survey before.

    As for my left hand, it seems to be carpal tunnel that will require surgery at some point as well.

    Also, I have sold off many of my basses due to my inability to play recently. I'd like to see what suggestions folls have for good basses for people with hand problems such as trigger finger, carpal tunnel, etc. should I use thinner neck bass? Short scales? Etc...

    Thanks so much in advance for the feedback!
     
  2. My CT is under control. I sleep with the CT brace each night. This keeps the wrist straight thus gives it 8 hours of rest. That seems to do the trick for me.

    Brace cost $19. Might give this a try.......
     
    Reviresco likes this.
  3. I had Carpal Tunnel release surgery as well as Ulnar Tunnel surgery, and I've had no problems with it. Playing as well if not better than before. As far as your plucking hand, use your middle finger more, use a pick, or what I sometimes do is use a thumb pick. Shortscale will make it easier for your left hand but won't do anything that I can think of for your right. Might be a good time to develop two hand tapping also if you haven't already. I don't do it, but if I had an issue and wanted to play I would learn the technique. Try a Kala Ubass or similar uke bass. They are small and light and have soft rubber strings and sound incredible! I recommended fretless if you go that route. Its easy to learn, it's not like a full size fretless. I used mine a couple days after I got it playing with friends some rock and blues with no issues. The surgery you need will more than likely allow you to return to normal after a few months of healing. In the meantime work on using a pick, tapping etc... It will all be good!
     
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  4. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Chris Poland former guitarist for Megadeth has trigger finger in the middle finger in his fretting hand:



    Bio | Chris Poland

    I had tendinitis in my left elbow and for me it was one of the best things to happen for may playing. It forced me to set up my bass with lighter strings and lower action and made me play lighter.

    You may also want to pay a visit to a sports chiropractor. A lot of times tendinitis has to do with joints being out of alignment in your neck and at various points between your shoulder and wrist. Most chiropractors focus on just the back whereas a sports chiropractor works on all of the joints.

    Also regarding surgery I have 2 plates and 5 screws in my left wrist due to a skateboarding accident that took 9 months to heal. So you can come back from surgery.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
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  5. I have a bit of osteoarthritis in some joints, including my hands. My knees are pretty well shot, got bad discs in my back and something going on in my foot that I haven't seen a Dr for yet. These days I try more preventive maintenance. When I get off work at 2 am I hit the gym three times a week and do some weight training. Sounds crazy to some working out at 2:30 am for 30 to 45 minutes but that works for me! I don't use free weights just machines. On the off days I have an elliptical machine that I do when I get home for 30 minutes or so.
    I try to eat reasonably healthy and drink a fair amount of water. I also use supplements for support and to try to minimize future damage. That includes fish oil, 10,000 IU of vitamin D, Curcumin, magnesium, calcium a multi vitamin and a liquid glucosamine supplement with msm and chondroitin. One thing I'm lacking that I need to add is more stretching and yoga. I used to do it every day but I'm a slacker right now! Weight training and yoga can go a long way to prevent your body from pain and damage including your hands. A lot of hand pain can be the result of nerve damage to the spine especially in your neck. Stretching can help a lot. For pain I try not to take much aleve or tylenol. I use kratom for pain at times but be careful if you have addiction issues. Anyway I'm confident if I didn't do the stuff above I would be in pretty bad shape and maybe not able to play much if at all.
    I also don't smoke or drink, but I do struggle with my diet soda addiction which is terrible for you and leaches calcium out of your bones. Hope this helps. PM me if you have additional info on supplements.
     
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  6. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.

    Instead of Weights and Yoga I've been slowly working my way through "The New York City Ballet Workout." It is the same type of workout dancers use to build balance, coordination and flexibility. It's amazing since I have a bad back from my work and now while doing a simple seated hamstring stretch I can almost touch my forehead to my knees. It is also all body resistance.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
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  7. I used to study martial arts and had great balance but I have issues with my ears now so even standing on one leg is next to impossible for me! It appears I had an infection in the nerve in my ear that causes some vertigo, and to compound that I have tulio's syndrome which is a sound induced vertigo. If I don't wear earplugs when I get around loud music, especially drums, my whole world will start spinning around and cause nausea etc... I work in manufacturing now and it can get a bit loud so I wear earplugs when working also. Ballet workout is a great idea!
     
  8. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    It took me 3 years and half the skin on my body learning to ride a bicycle. I was diagnosed with balance and coordination problems when I was a kid. It's funny because the same people that made my diagnosis said I wouldn't be able to ride a bicycle or play a musical instrument. Ironically my first job in SF was as a bike messenger, and I've been playing bass since I was 16 Here's a sample of my playing:



    Also one of the dancers that they got to do a testimonial for the book had the same issues so the doctor told her parents to send her to dance class as an alternative form of therapy. When I tried gymnastics the experts told my parents not to let me do it.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
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  9. I'll try to give a listen when I'm at home. I'm working right now and the speakers are disabled on the computers.
     
  10. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I had a trigger finger release surgery done about 8 years ago. I'm fine now. No problems playing. For a month after the surgery however I had very little strength in that hand. You'll be fine.

    I had an older adult DB student a while back who had CT surgery on both of her hands and had no problems playing once everything healed.
     
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  11. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I was also going to suggest playing a 5 string bass. Not so much for the extra low notes but by putting those notes that are in first position on the E string into 5th position on the B string will straighten out your wrist a bit. There is also less tension on the strings there, and the frets are a little further apart so it will feel more comfortable under your fingers.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
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  12. Reviresco

    Reviresco It’s all success if it’s what you need. Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England
    Thanks for all the feedback!
     
  13. PJustice

    PJustice

    Apr 21, 2007
    Sarasota, FL.
    I'm trying to cope with trigger finger right now. I have good days, then bad days and can't really track the why's. Middle finger, right hand and I'm a right handed player (upright bass mostly) who uses a lot of slap technique. I also favor medium tension strings for their strong fundamental, a recipe for trouble right there. Super Silvers mostly, but I use Evah Slaps now as well, but with the Super Silver "D", they're a bit lighter tension. I had two cortisone shots ( now there's a bag full of fun!) in 2015 about five months apart and found the first worked well for a while, the second hardly gave me any relief at all. My hand specialist has recommended the the trigger finger release surgery described in earlier posts, and intend to do that.

    I've very recently relocated to Sarasota, Florida from Massachusetts and need to find a surgeon. Due to the move I have some insurance issues right now so I'll have to delay and cope for a while. If anyone in the TB community has experience with hand surgeons, or therapy in the Florida south coast-gulf coast area I'd be very grateful to know about them. I'm in the process of shopping for insurance down here.

    I'd like to humbly offer my experience as advice and help. I use cold therapy ( gel packs ) to reduce swelling. The cold really does relieve the pain for me, although not for a long time, relief is relief. At night, use one of those metal finger splints, you can find them in the big chain pharmacies (they also come with a little finger size gel wrap) this prevents the finger clenching up during sleep. I find if I can wake up without the "death grip finger" I have a much better day. You'll still wake knowing the finger tried to close, but reduces or even eliminates the unpleasant process of pulling the finger open. You'll find comments that warn about over doing this. The fear being the finger could get stiffened by this. Measure the pros and cons for yourself.
    Pain relievers don't have much affect for me, but, I still use them cautiously. My hope is that they're reducing some inflammation. Finally, VERY gentle stretching which helps all the muscles and tendons in the area.
    My surgeon in Massachusetts says the surgery is common, routine and by and large very successful with little down time. For a bass player he claims a week. Of course "your results may vary". Thanks, good luck and good health to all!!
     
  14. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I know I've weighed in on this but I feel there is more to be said. I haven't had problems with tendonitis in about 20 years but at that time I was trying to be Stu Hamm and have learned a little about alternative medicine and playing since then.

    Here are some of the things that I have learned besides what I've said about chiropractic and exercise.

    First is about set up/instrument choice. Before playing a 5 (and now a 6) string bass people told me that going to that would screw up my wrists/arms even more. I found the opposite since on top of the fact that I can hit notes easier on the B string than on the E string. From there I also use Ultra Light strings and low action making it easier to play. Plus using active electronics, turning up the amp and using some type of overdrive as a preamp allowed me to lighten my touch as well as refining my technique.

    Another handful of things I learned about lifestyle. Smoking cigarettes is bad for circulation (I still have that bad habit) drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine and alcohol will help. Eating healthy helps. I've read that hot peppers are good for circulation and that capsicum the part that makes hot peppers hot is also used in arthritis creams. Tumeric is also a natural anti inflammatory. Both of these are in curry.

    I try to be neutral about marijuana usage but if you are going to smoke try to use strains that are high in CBD as opposed to THC as these strains are generally prescribed for people with arthritis.

    For me in general lifestyle changes are a better alternative if possible if not along with surgery.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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