Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by *ToNeS*, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    Jeez, the agony of it all! My 'career' is currently being venomously threatened by a whole lot of chaos going on in my right (plucking hand) wrist - it's not RSI, nor tendonitis, but it's hell. I have hyper-stetchy hands, and thus my technique is such that I tend to bend my right wrist at almost a complete 90 degree angle whilst fingerstyling. I believe that over 3 years of this combined with the added strain of plucking has led to a) buggered and gnarly tendons, and b) a small pocket of fluid smack-dab right in the centre of it all, called a 'ganglion cyst'. Surgery has been suggested, and I'm kinda... EXTREMELY TERRIFIED. I was hoping for a bit of reassurance and perhaps some advice on what steps to take? Maybe some personal experiences with this kind of injury would help? I'm currently having a form of acupuncture (utilising infra-red lasers rather than conventional needles), and some musicians swear by this whilst others recommend physiotherapy - so I'm still a bit hazy on it. Please, TB. Help me.

    *Below is a picture of myself in a live environment. Yes, I've shown it off before but this time check out my right hand too see what I mean. Doesn't like happy, does it?
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Man, that's tough. I have had wrist pain, but never had anything that bad.

    Hopefully Doctor Mike will see this and have some advice.

    Before considering surgery, I would definitely get a second opinion, preferably from a specialist who works with performing artists, or at least sports medicine.

    And lay off of the self abuse too, or at least use the other hand!:smug:
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    i had ganglions (is that how they're spelled?) on both my wrists years ago, and they just disappeared. in the old days they use to slam them with a textbook and squash them. some people i believe still do that, i didn't have the nerve (pun intended).

    it may be time to work on that playing style. i messed up the middle finger on my right hand pretty badly by constantly reinjuring a bruise on the knuckle in the middle of the finger. it was really painful to play and slapping was impossible. it started to develop what a doc told me was arthritis, and i got pretty nervous that my playing days were coming to a real slowdown. i refused to let that happen. i adapted to a way i could play comfortably, affirmed constantly that my hand was in perfect shape, stretched it a lot whenever possible, and a couple of years later it's as good as it ever was.

    while many consider it flaky, i also applied reiki to it (a form of energy healing that was passed on to me at a pagan festival a while ago). i have a rough time believing any of that psychic sorta healing stuff, but experience has shown me that it works, so i don't question it. don't talk about it too often either as it usually gets :rolleyes: :rolleyes: .

    lastly, i believe we perpetuate our ailments with fear, and while i'm sure this goes against ALL medical advice, i've playing through lots of pain in my left wrist. i'm sure i've had the start of carpel tunnel syndrome many times but i refuse to buy into it. i stretch my wrist a little, massage it maybe, do the above mentioned reiki
    :rolleyes: and play. sometimes it's there, more often it's not. when we start worrying about a pain and put a lot of focus on it, it tends to get worse.

    rant over.
  4. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    Yikes...that's pretty serious. Technically, it is indeed an RSI (repetitive stress injury) - that's just a blanket term for these kinds of injuries.

    It's a drag... some people can get away w/ the bent wrist thing but guys like yourself (and myself, for that matter) are just prone to this kind of injury due to their physiological makeup.

    Unfortunately...if you want to keep playing, ultimately you're going to have to modify your technique - straight wrist w/ a floating thumb anchor technique.

    Best wishes..I'm sure it willl work out.
  5. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    A ganglion cyst is a bump or mass that forms under the skin. Most commonly, ganglions are seen on the wrist (usually the back side) and fingers, but they can also develop on the shoulder, elbow, and knee. These form when tissues surrounding certain joints become inflamed and swell up with lubricating fluid. They can increase in size when the tissue is irritated and often can "disappear" spontaneously. These masses or cysts appear to grow sometimes but they are not tumours or cancerous.

    Yes, Marc is correct, usually associated with repetative motion, such as playing Bass.

    The first line of treatment is usually splinting and rest, sometimes aspiration of the fluid inside can help. Unfortunately most I have seen eventually require surgery. Very simple procedure, can be done in an office setting with local anesthetics.

    Hope that helps.

  6. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    The inhouse TB Doc in fine form. Was waiting on your professional observations on this subject, mike - I'm now on a buncha anti-inflammatories, and will probably go in for surgery as soon as the E.P is finished (that stupid-arse cyst is on the back of my wrist. Merely prodding it gently yields a bizzare sort of 'numbing agony'). Yes, my band is in the middle of recording our first official release and I'm due in the studio next Tuesday - gotta lurrrrrve that timing, hey! :meh:

    Thanks for the thoughts, lads. Youse are tip-top.
  7. I find that using a computer mouse puts a lot of strain on my wrist- getting a gel wrist rest helped a lot.

    I think James Eller (UK session bassist) posted something about changing his computer desk to deal with similar problems.
  8. I suggest do the surgery or whatever and it may be hard...but change your technique...

    Lower your bass some so your wrist would be less angled...

    I dunno man...my wrist is kind of like that when im play....you're scaring me:(

    Good luck.
  9. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Hey do a quick search and you'll find a couple of threads about this subject. There is one thread in particular that has a link for some streching exercises that helped me alot. If I can find it I'll post a link here. I play with a similar bend in my right wrist and have had problems with pain and numbness. Streching before playing and even on days when I don't play helped. I played a warwick Thumb V that was neck heavy and had a small body which (I think) contributed to a sharp bend in my right wrist. Once I changed to a more balanced bass with a larger body. (Fender Jazz) the angle of my wrist was reduced a bit and I've not been having any more pain or numbness. I think I was lucky to make that change before the problem got worse. Hope this helps. Good luck.
  10. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Dude, you have to get that forearm straight.

    I naturally play with my right hand in a good position, nice and straight, wrist not bent, but then I watched a gary willis video and he explained why you need to play like this, and it made me even more careful about playing this way.

    The way you are playing, there is not a direct transfer of energy from your tendons to your fingers. When your arm is straight up and down, there is a direct transfer.

    Yes. Straight arm > than bent.
  11. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Here is the page.
    but yes the best adcvice is to keep that wrist as straight as possible. easier said than done. You can see by my photo to the left that mine sure wasn't when I was playing that warwick. Still isn't with the Fender but it's much better. Wouldn't hurt to get it checked by a doctor either
  12. Do you see cb56's avatar? thats about how I have my right hand...I have been playing like that for quite awhile now...and it hasn't hurt a bit...just relax...

    Good luck man.
  13. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    I think you'll be fine, 'Sama bra. I don't know anything about your musicial history and whatnot, but I've been a 'professional' musician since I left high school last year, and my schedule has been heavy and stressful ever since. That and my three little, crumbling fingers somehow manage to cope with straight-up 32nd notes at pick-worthy bpm's most nights - the stress on everything has just been grinding away at me for a while, and now it's just at that point where my body is going, 'Hey, dickhead. You're doing it all wrong.'

    I've attempted to make some adjustments to my right-hand technique (gah. Currently slinging my bass at a vertical angle. Fieldy would be PROUD), and you lot have given me a few ideas. But know that as I type my thank you's to ya's all, it hurts. That's how far my love extends, TB :D
  14. Ok,thanks man...I was a tad bit worried.

    Good luck:)
  15. try doing hand stretches and mini warmups before doing a gig, that's always helped me and my wrist problem...mine is temporary but it still feels like forever when it gets in the way of my bass playing.