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Wrist pain. Carpal Tunnel?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by volerium, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. volerium


    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    I just got a bunch of new gear this week and super excited about playing and today my wrist started to ache and hasn't let up. It goes from the right outside of my right wrist and into the bottom of my palm. I can play through it just didn't know if I should. It's my right hand which is the hand I'm picking/strumming with. First time I've had any sort of trouble like this at all.
    I play pretty much everyday and usually just stretch my fingers out and go at it for an hour or more.
    So should I just keep playing through it? Take a few days off.. ice, tylenol? I know a lot of you on here have been playing way longer than I have so tell me what's up! Thanks in advance
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
  3. DeMayunn


    Dec 12, 2012
    It's carpal tunnel alright, ain't no cure about it, just let your hand rest for 24 hours. ointment could help alleviate the pain, but best is to let it rest. also try to avoid using the computer as well, most computer mice arent designed for carpal tunnel and can worsen the effect. (speaking from experience.)
  4. Seek prof. medical help don't guess. Maybe nothing maybe CT have it checked hopefully it is just you pushing yourself to hard. Let us know how you make out. RTS
  5. ajm


    Feb 19, 2013
    I would stop playing for a few days/weeks and let it rest. days/weeks might sound crazy but you may end up doing a lot more damage if you play with the pain. I had a nasty case of tendonitis in my left wrist and kept trying to play, ended up having to go to physical therapy for the past three months. Finally got released from therapy last week! My wrist did get better but i had to avoid playing all together for about a month and limited playing for a few weeks after that. I would really recommend having a professional check it out, couldn't hurt.
    best of luck
  6. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    Actually, there is a cure, carpal tunnel is a nerve problem which can be fixed through surguery. I had surguery to correct my carpal tunnel (which I got from running a forklift for many, many years)
    The operation is quick and the numbness and pain goes away almost instantly.... at least for my situation, it did.
  7. volerium


    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    Thanks for the replies. I've done a bit of reading and have found it can be CTS, tendinitis or even arthritis. From what I've read all of those can afflict your hands/wrists. My job is at a computer all day, typing 8 hours a day. I've done that job for 8 years now with no pain or problems but I guess now it's taking it's toll. Typing for work and playing bass for fun and my hands have had it! haha. I've been doing the stretches/exercises posted on youtube, stretching the wrist, thumb and fingers. I'm going to get a splint tonight, so far this is only hurting in my right wrist and palm. No pain in the fingers at all. I'll wear the splint at night and when I work for a while and see how it feels. I've been off work for the last three days and haven't played any music either but when I wake up in the morning my wrist still hurts. So I'll pick up the splint and keep at the rehab regimen up for a week or so and see if anything changes.
    The only thing I haven't done is use any ice or anti inflammatory medication. The area doesn't feel or appear swollen at all. Just hurts.
    I'll post again in a week or two.
  8. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Like the others have said, time to give it a rest for a bit.

    I did read an interview with Billy Shehan at one point where he talked about running his wrists under warm water before a gig to loosen up the muscles a bit.

    It also helps to remind you to make a pit stop before hitting the stage. :hyper:
  9. bander68


    Jan 29, 2013
    I'm just digging in to Bass Fitness by Josquin des Pres, and after 3 days I am having some new pains in my left wrist and leading up to the muscle group below my left elbow. These pains reminded me of a bad case of tennis elbow (tendonitis in the elbow) that I suffered a few years ago, so I did my stretches that the therapist gave me. It helped ease the pain for the rest of the day yesterday, but I didn't play anymore. I'm getting ready to start for today, and I'm a little nervous about it.

    What this got me to start thinking about was posture. I have no idea if I'm sitting properly when I play. I've been using a stool that's about 3 feet tall, and putting my right leg up on one of the cross-braces. Bass sitting on that leg. This is ok, but it gets very difficult to play the low E and low B strings when I get up around the 12th fret. My left wrist is bent back extremely awkwardly. Yesterday, after all of my pains started kicking in, I switched to a regular chair and tried to pull the bass a bit lower. I'm not sure that really helped a lot. A guitar player visited with me yesterday and showed me his posture, and he sits with his right leg crossed over his left knee, but that's not practical for very long since I'm a big boy. My right quad starts burning fairly quickly.

    To top it all off, I woke up this morning with a very stiff lower back.

    Can somebody post a photo or send a link to something that shows various proper postures for sitting and practicing?

    Your help is appreciated!
  10. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    Good luck - in october I was diagnosed with tendonitis in both wrists and mild carpal tunnel in my right.

    Did PT for a few months and that helped, however it is now back with a vengence. I do stretches and exercises every day, ice every day, and whatnot. I work on computers all day and I've changed my posture, keyboard, just about everything (even switched to a standing desk). I think I'm just SOL.

    I've read up on surgery and it isn't always a cure, esp. for tendonitis. (A keyboard player I used to work with had surgery and it did nothing for him, which scares me).

    Good luck.

    I have no idea how I'm going to get through my gigs this week. (Doesn't help I'm typing all day then my main hobby also involves the 'ol fingers).

    Try to take a break (if you can) and read up. also you should consult your doc and perhaps try some physical therapy.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    I have some wrist pain in my left hand. I thought it was arthritis or CTS. It turns out it was tendonitis. I have a habit of sitting in front of a computer and working the mouse with my right hand and leaning on the chair are with my left forearm. Well in the forearm there is a tendon that goes to the wrist and hand. I apply arnica to the area and it feels better. Also I try to not rest my arm in a way to cause tendonitis.

    A good doctor can halp you determine if it is arthritis, CTS or tendonitis.
  12. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The generally accepted idea is to use your strap and have the bass at the same height as when you are standing. Ideally this would be having the main body of the bass at belt buckle height. Also, use a hard chair with has a back support.
  13. DO NOT play through the pain. I had a similar incident two years ago. It was late one night at a party, and many drinks were being consumed. I decided to jam with some friends for the better part of three hours without stretching beforehand. What resulted was a severe case of TENDONITIS which hampered my playing abilities for months. I had to wear a wrist brace, constantly ice it, and had to avoid playing bass altogether. Severely painful. Just rest for a few days before picking up a guitar again. Not worth the trouble.
  14. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    I have carpal tunnel in both wrists. Here's what helps me love. Get a really good quality carpal tunnel brace. I wear mine to sleep and when ever else I can. Find a relaxed feel to fret with...nice and easy. I use over the counter arthritis meds to address over problems(list is too long). I am in 2 bands. Yesterday I had roughly 6 hours of rehearsals w/ breaks. Wrist is doing OK. I have also had cortisone shots where my thumb meets the wrist bone. Thats nasty...wont do it again. The brace does it for me.
  15. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    I have had carpal tunel. I was converting code on a computer 9+ hours a day and riding a lot of mountain bike on rides as long as 100 miles.

    What helped the most was acupuncture. But you have to find somebody who knows what they're doing -- not somebody who took a course for 8 weeks.
    And you have to learn to keep your wrists in a neutral position and relaxed. The worst thing you can do is hold a position with tension and then force movement out of that held tense position. As it was explained to me you're trying holding things still at the same time you're trying to move and it causes a lot of micro tissue tears and inflammation. Most people do this with the way they use a mouse -- tension holding still but moving in quick bursts -- what we should do is learn to relax between movement. Same thing with posture for typing and playing. Let the tension go when its not necessary. Wrist braces help with this because they force neutral position and also support letting go of tension.

    Good Luck. Since that really bad case I've had to switch mouse and keyboard about once a year to unlearn bad habits and give some tissue a rest, so expect to deal with this going forward. Trying to heal inflamed soft tissue that in daily use is a challenge.
  16. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    i just had surgery on both hands last month due to longtime CTS/tendonitis in hands and arms. really bad actually; did a fair amount of damage to my thumbs muscularly.
    i was one of the lucky ones who had almost instant relief after the surgery-the numbness disappeared and so far, the chronic inflammation.
    now the hard part-physiotherapy.
    the nerves have recovered; the muscles in the hand now are getting the proper nutrients and therefore will heal but might take awhile.
    the surgery was a five minute procedure, but the recovery is a full time job between stretching, massaging, soaking, moisturizing and exercising the hands back to health.
    been 6 weeks today on hand one and 4 weeks on hand two and have a long ways to go; i suspect another month.
  17. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Last time I had nerve issues, I had to stop using my hands/arms for anything except the bare necessities of life for two months (got the issue on a gig on which there could be no subs). Don't screw around with this.
  18. ahdowns


    Feb 25, 2012
    I have CTS in both hands. The ortho doc sent me to a neuro doc for a nerve study and that confirmed it. The good news is that I don't have any nerve damage. My understanding is that if there is nerve damage the surgery doesn't work as well. Going to see the surgeon next month. I've cut my computer time way down and had to hang up my bass for now.
  19. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    I had severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. Symptoms were non-stop numbness & tingling in the fingers, not pain. I had carpal tunnel release surgery on both, one hand at a time. Each time I cleared the gig calendar for one month. Each time the cure was complete, though in one case the tingling took months to subside. In each case the cure was complete and total within 6 months. I would not try to self-diagnose. See a hand doctor.
  20. bander68


    Jan 29, 2013
    I'm quoting myself to give an update. I took the advice of fearceol and pulled my strap out and did my practicing standing. The pain while playing was much less, but after I was done my wrist was majorly throbbing. When I got home, I iced my wrist. Upon awakening this morning, I realized it was still pretty stiff, so I iced again first thing. I will ice a 3rd time around noon. Just to be safe, I'm taking a day or two off until the pain subsides. This has GOT to get fixed - I'm just starting to make progress!

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