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upper arm/shoulder problems

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by saltydog, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. saltydog


    Nov 17, 2009
    I am having incredible upper arm and shoulder problems. Lots of pain especially after sleep, in the mornings. I don't know if it is caused by or just related to, my relatively new arco lessons, but it does seem to be worse the day after lessons. I see from earlier posts that some bass players have problems with their hands and wrists.....have any of you had upper arm/shoulder problems?
  2. jdepriest


    Sep 20, 2005
    Waynesburg, Pa
    I had issues like that, but it was almost alwas related to bad or just lazy technique. Its really hard to say without seeing you play. Talk to your teacher, if they really know what they are doing on the instrument they will spot something your doing.

    You didnt say which arm is hurting. If my students told me they were having these isues I would have them play something and really watch their technique. For the right hand/arm are they gripping the bow to tightly or pressing to hard? For the left side, are they gripping the neck to hard? I would also look at the bass height, and their posture. Are they reaching above their head to get to lower positions? ThatÂ’s usually my issue if I'm hurting during or right after a gig. I get lazy on long gigs and start slouching. Pretty soon my back hurts and my left forearm is cramping because of my bad posture is forcing me to reach above my head.
  3. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    You may have some underlying musculo-skeletal issues that are being lit up by playing. I, for example, have an ongoing problem with "impingement" pain caused by weak rotator cuff muscles. These muscles are not regularly exercised by my (mostly) sedentary lifestyle and this allows a muscle in my upper arm/shoulder to be pinched between two pieces of bone when reaching up. (This is somewhat oversimplified.) Doing the exercises the physical therapist taught me has greatly minimized shoulder and upper arm pain.

    You may have something similar going on. A visit with a good PT may identify the problem and some visits may get you started on recovery. Most insurance will cover most of the cost on PT since it's much less costly than surgery.

    Good luck.
  4. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    The pain in my left shoulder gradually got more and more severe, especially when reaching up for the 1/2 and 1st postions and stretching down for the thumb positions. The middle part of the board--3rd position-- felt fine.
    I thought I was just being a wimp until I went to an acclaimed sports doctor who confirmed my fears with an MRI--a tear in my rotator cuff. I hate the idea of surgery and the required rehab, but the doctor assured me that these kinds of injuries never get better on their own and usually get worse. He said he could give me a shot to stop the pain but it is only kicking the can down the road.
    Have any persistent pain checked out.
  5. saltydog


    Nov 17, 2009
    Thanks gerry, Turf and JD. three different answers, and amazingly enough, they all apply. Yup JD, my left hand is often above my head for the 1/2 and first positions(and I slouch). Will work on this right away.
    Turf3....I just returned from PT where the doc told me almost word for word your reply. Amazing!
    Gerry, the doc mentioned your concepts also....and even talked about kicking the proverbial can down the road. Thanks for all your input.....obviously an issue I am going to have to pay attention to.
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I, too, had impingement of the supraspinatus tendon in my left shoulder right where it passes under the acromion.


    In my case, it was a combination of age-related weakening of the muscles allowing the humerus to float upward against the tendon and a congenital curve or "spur" on the acromion. So the poor supraspinatus would get pinched in between. The picture above shows it clearly. I had no rotator cuff tear at all.

    I did the exercises for years but, in the end, I couldn't play for more than 30 minutes without causing my shoulder to be out of commission for the whole next day. I finally had acromioplasty. The surgeon went in laparoscopically and trimmed back the acromion. After the rehab period (which was not fun), I basically had a new lease on my shoulder and DB playing. I only wish I had opted for the surgery sooner!


    See a good orthopaedic surgeon.

    By the way, the shoulder, with the threading of the supraspinatus between the humerus and acromion, is one of the best arguments I know against "intelligent design." :)
  7. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Thanks for the great capper on this thread. I think we all learned something.
    I hope all of us are as successful with our ailments as you were with yours.
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    More to the point, I hope saltydog is as successful! :)

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