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Taking care of your arms and hands outside of bass playing

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Hiromakuta, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Lately there have been several threads about injuries that may happen to your hands while bass playing. It's great that these issues are being discussed, but I believe that some of the injuries one might have are the result of some unhealthy habits most people have.

    In this thread, we will discuss ways how to prevent these injuries in your daily lifes.

    For starters, one must consider the position he takes while sleeping. If someone has bent wrists while sleeping and supposing that he sleeps for 8 hours, some kind of damage might happen to his wrists in the long term.

    How to solve this? Simply lie on your back and put your arms by your side with your hands flat on the matress. Or even better, get two pillows, put each one of them under your elbow and put your hands in your belly. The wrists won't have any kind of bend. The first time I did this, my hand felt loose and nice.

    Try this and post here if you noticed a difference.
  2. Earthday


    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    That's good advice.

    The computer is the biggest culprit. Watch your wrist angles when you type and use the mouse. Develop good technique, take breaks and stretch. That's especially true for gaming, especially hyper-clicky games like Diablo or FPS's. Once I had my first run in with developing tendinitis I decided to never play a computer game again. That probably saved me from surgery.

    Going to the chiropractor is a great idea too. If your insurance covers it, it's just a $20 copay, and does wonders for your back, neck, and arms.
  3. grifff


    Jan 5, 2009
    Towson, Maryland
    Good ideas, I mainly try and stay relaxed while playing and also while not playing. If something feels uncomfortable I stop or move.
  4. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I avoid manual labor as much as possible. :D

    But seriously... anything with a blade is pretty much a no-no for me unless I'm eating. And if that blade is being driven by some sort of motor, then all the more. I know there are guys out there playing with less than 4 whole fingers and a thumb on each hand, and I have a world of props to give them, but I really do not want to join their ranks.

    So no, I will not be taking up woodworking.
  5. sirpug


    May 8, 2008
    Everett Wa
    Yes, but sitting around all day can cause it's own issues. Oh the irony! (I know it was a joke)

    I recently took a job at work that turned my physical to non-physical work ratio from about 75/25 to 25/75. Since then I've noticed that my wrists have been hurting more. I've been trying to watch my posture and the angles of my wrists, I've been looking at stretches and strength training to help them. I'v also adjusted how I'm playing a bit. I'm going to pick up some wrist braces to help keep my wrists in their correct positions at work to minimize the wear and tear.
  6. with thick callouses you can be touching something hot (cookie sheet, etc) and not notice just how hot it is. immediately put your finger in your mouth (or whatever is burned) to stop the already hot flesh from cooking further. i bbq a lot (kababs especially), and often pick up hot skewers and dont notice for a second or two. this trick helps. trust me. i also immediately and repeatedly drain blisters, and they seem to harden up quickly.

    for any other finger pad problems: electric tape. ive got several pieces taped to my rack for easy use live.

    as for sleep, i have a bad back, and can tell you that two pillows is good, but three is better. the absolute best way to sleep is a firm pillow under the neck and between the knees, and then one to hug (was trying not to use the word snuggle here... oh well).

    as for computers, quit gaming and go play bass. i got sucked into that online gaming crap for ten or eleven months and thatll kill your nerves and tendons. oh, and buy a pair of those squishy elbow rests. that the best ten dollars you will ever spend if you are at a computer a lot.

    i think thats all i got.
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Word of warning on the braces or any kind of muscle/joint support. Use it sparingly. Prolonged use of such supports can weaking the very function you seek to protect. The joint or muscle does not get the correct ammount of usage/exercise because it dependes on the support for help. Take away the support and it is now vurnerable. By all means put then on and take them off for situations but beware of mis-use. Heres some good links about snow boarders and wrist guards and how use has cut injuries dramaticly. Also good link for the correct type of guard.


  8. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    Man, my wrists might be worse off - if I sleep on my back, my snoring is so bad I think my wife will cut them both (mine, not hers)! :rollno:
  9. KsPiNeSh


    Mar 28, 2008
    Kansas City
    One of the best things I've ever done was rock climbing (even an indoor wall is great). Not only is it good exercise, but you will be amazed at the strength that develops in your fingers, wrists, and elbows. My playing and stamina improved immensely and my stiffness went wayyyy down when I started doing this.
  10. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Many of my arm/hand problems are actually referred pains from my back (thoracic outlet syndrome). Many of my bass playing friends have it, and up right players. I know of no players with CTS (not saying it doesn't happen, and I fear it myself!) but lots with associated back problems.

    My exercize routine includes complex movements with bands, modified pushups, where you reach for the sky with one arm etc. These open up the shoulder capsule.

    I also have a foam roll I use, two tennis balls taped together for a back routine, and a single tennis ball to find 'knots'.

    Never use a basket to grocery shop if you are buying heavy items like juices/milk etc this can give you tennis elbow.

    My chiropractor is an orthopedist and mainstream, I would definately only go to a mainstream chiropractor.

    Soemtimes ya feel like an organic pain collector!:p
  11. gmarcus

    gmarcus Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2003
    Use a touch pad and a mouse if you use your computer a lot. The motions are different enough to relieve some repetitive strain problems
  12. Trapezius


    Mar 1, 2009
    Oslo, Norway
    I don't have a problem with manual labor. I carry the PA, backline and everything when we play out, and never have any problems whatsoever. Over time it has built up strong muscles and tendons, and it takes a lot to damage them. I also do some weightlifting to prevent injury and learn good technique. My hands have never suffered at all, except the usual soreness a day or two after a really hard workout. A few days rest, and everything is fine.
    The key to everything is; don't overdo it. And don't start by lifting your 8x10 alone, build up strength over time.
  13. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Below is a link to an interview in 1995 with one of the worlds top doctors and surgeons, Robert Markison, he disagrees with that statement.....amongst other things.:D


    Here's more information that may save you some injury with the computer mouse


    And just for good measure the wrist has always been a problem in the 20th century, here's a link to patents for devices to help prevent wrist injuries. These patents are dated and documented, notice the first is 1915 and still we go on...;)

  14. I've had all kinds of work-related injuries that's hampered my playing over the years.
    My line of work is one of the most physically demanding jobs a person can do.I work on a drilling crew (natural gas).I've come to face the fact that injuries are just part of the job I have.
    Seen the show on Tru TV called,"Black Gold"?My job is virtually identical,with the exception that I work miles from civilization,back in the mountains,they're on flat ground.Big difference!!

    I've come to find out over the years that a regular exercise regimen helps me in all aspects of life.It really helps with the healing process of most any injury.Believe it,or not,exercise actually GIVES you energy!!
    On top of brute-labor (60hrs. per wk.),I also run 3 miles a day,5 days a week.Also,I lift weights 3 times a week.

    Hey,I'm not gettin' any younger (I'm 42).I'm working a young mans job.I've gotta do 1 of 2 things.Get a promotion,or,keep up my healthy habits to keep up w/those young bucks I'm working with.

    Also,I'm a BIG fan of thoroughly warming up before I go on to play.Before warming up,I'll go to the bathroom and run my hands under the hottest water that I can tolerate.It loosens tendons up and drastically improves circulation,too.
  15. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    LOL i with you on that,

    "there comes a time in life when you need to working from the neck up, not the neck down"

    My grandfather
  16. After I started having pain in the wrists I knew I had to do something, or lose bass forever. I chose to stop playing video games. I still play on the computer too much, but I try and stretch a lot.
  17. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Or, the waist down.
  18. Yerf Dog

    Yerf Dog

    Jun 29, 2009
    Carol Stream, IL
  19. That reminds me of the "Seinfeld" episode where George had a "very brief" career as a "hand model".

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