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Wrist+4thfinger pain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by chimp, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    this is all in my left hand. and only down the side of my hand and on the side of my wrist. are there somethings i might be doing that could cause this problem? my technique is pretty good and has been complemented on by professional players but is there some small part of my playing that could cause this?

    Attached Files:

  2. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat

    I have a sore pinky when I play and it remains sore for a day or so(nothing blinding, just a mild throb).

    When I had a physical I asked the Dr. about it while I was there. He said it was over-exertion. I asked why did this not happen until 10 months after picking up the bass? He answered you're getting older and the body sometimes handles stress in some areas longer than others.

    Anyway, I disband the end of July and I am going to take one month off to allow my pinky to relax.

    I don't know if you are in a position to do this, but I'll let you know how I fare out with my pinky.

    Hopefully, some vets will reply to this thread and help you out.

  3. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    Im practising 6 hours a day 3 on upright and 3 on electric. I can't take time off as i have to be ready for the National Schools Big Band auditions in a years time. I also have holidays coming up which means im going to be practising 10 hours a day so relaxing is something thats not going to happen.
  4. My first thought was that you were probably squeezing the neck between your thumb and your fingers (which you may well be doing), but now that you mention your practice regimen I'm not so sure. Make sure you're arching your pinky properly, always support it with other fingers on the upright, and put your action on both basses as low as you can.

    You really need to cut back on the playing time a little. There's a lot of important stuff you can work on without the bass in your hands. Memorizing chords and scales can take place completely in your head, learning theory (if you need it) works best with a keyboard, and learning your neck can be done very effectively by visualizing note positions as they would appear on your bass.

    Also, playing the upright and the electric are very similar things, as instruments go. Playing the electric will help your upright playing, and vice versa. Well played bass lines are the same on any instrument. It's important to practice both, but not to play both every single day. I recommend that you cut it down to three hours work with the instrument per day, max, and you switch between the acoustic and the electric each day.

    You probably have tunes to learn. You'll benefit most by practicing these for shorter periods of time, but doing it better. Put your energy into identifying trouble spots, figuring out exactly what the problem is, and targeting that when you practice with the bass. When memorizing, it's very helpful to do it from the last measure to the first -- backwards. Learn the last, then extend that to the last two, then the last three, and so on, 'till you know the whole thing. That way you know the song better as you go on instead of worse.

    You may also need a day in your week with no practice, or with a shortened practice. You've got to have time for your brain to deal with all the info coming at it. If it were me, I'd set up a schedule with daily 90 minute practice sessions, probably replacing one of those with a 45 minute session, and maybe a no practice day as well. Three hour sessions are the longest I'd recommend to anyone. Plan out your sessions ahead of time and stick to that plan. What you need is better use of your practice time, and not more practice time.

    If you are using your practice time well, then you can afford to lay off. If you're not, then you need to use your time better and lay off. You need to lay off, both for you physical well-being (remember that pinky?) and your mental well-being. You'll burn yourself out if you don't adopt a more reasonable regimen.
  5. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I would stop using it for a while. I'm talking months, and let it recover FULLY.

    You don't lose any ground when you take a brake.

    It's a bit like riding a bike, once you've got it, you've got it for good. I haven't riden a bike in years, but when I get on one, I ride it as though I've never stopped riding.

    When you think it's fully recovered, start using it again. If the same problem occurs, I would stop using it altogether. It's not worth it.
  6. I agree mostly, but if the pain is only there when you play and it doesn't set in for a little while, then cleaning up any technique problems and merely lessening your playing time might let you recover. Better safe than sorry, though; your health is more important than playing as much as humanly possible.
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Sounds like could be the beginnings of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but affects the pinky and wrist)

    Just remember the R.I.C.E. Method

    When injuries occur associated with joint pain, minor muscle pulls, severe muscle strains or tendon discomfort, use the R.I.C.E. method to keep swelling under control and speed healing.

    R = Rest
    I = Ice
    C = Compression
    E = Elevation.
  8. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    im fine with six hours a day ive always practised alot. I do theory on top of that practising. taking a break for extended periods means i wont be able to pick up where i left off, try sight reading something after a month or two of no playing. taking a break is my last resort. I will go see the bass teacher at the university near me and ask about my playing technique and point out the areas that are a concern to me. if it gets worse i will also go see a doctor.
  9. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I have this, I dont have wrist pain though. For me its the results of a Neck/Shoulder injury. its a nerve that runs down my arm and follows the path on my hand that you describe.

    Mine is agrivated by me sleeping on that shoulder more than playing.

  10. Proper stretching before and after (and if you're practicing 6 hours a day, every hour or so) should help as well.
    Find out what the problem is now and work to remedy it or you'll really be sidelined later.
  11. Maybe so, but, on the other hand, you've got a pain in wrist and finger now. It had to come from somewhere and over-long practice sessions are a likely culprit.