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Anyone else go through this?...


JBFLA

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After reading last months BassPlayer article on tendonitis, I thought I'd ask:

 

In Sept., My ring/pinky finger (left hand) went numb...couldn't feel the strings. After 3 months of jumping thru hoops for the Insurance Co., it came down to surgery.

 

My ulnar(funny bone)nerve in my left elbow had been crushed by the elbow bone, leaving those fingers in my left hand numb, and growing weak.

 

This is not an easy surgery...they removed part of the bone structure (shaved/cut it away).

 

Good news: 1 week after removal of the cast, I could sit in with some friends at a club for an entire set.

Bad news: After 3 months of damage to the nerve, I won't get it all back....but enough to keep playing.

 

If you are going through this (or know someone who is) DO NOT WAIT! It's not common, but it is irreversible!

JBFLA

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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Wait a minute...you got this injury playing BASS?

 

It's quite common to have carpal tunnel damage from bass playing. I'm not aware of ulnar damage on the left arm.

 

I have a touch of this in my right arm...due to bowing. In school, many years ago, I used to practice bow technique during the year, and in the summer I'd concentrate on electric playing. Pretty soon I started feeling that old "tennis elbow" ulnar pain every September...dis-use followed by massive use.

 

It would seem the only way you could damage this by playing a bass would be if you did a lot of theatrics raising and lowering the neck (or, if you didn't use a strap.)

 

I'm no doctor, but this is a curious issue to me.

 

I did have a similiar problem, however. One summer I maximize riding bicycles and I didn't use gloves. One day, both hands fell asleep, and didn't wake up for about 2 weeks. Doc told me there was a nerve running across the palm of the hand at the finger joint area...and when I stopped stressing that, my hand woke up again. Makes me wonder if THAT nerve was the one causing your problem all the time....anyway, I dunno.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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A sax player friend and mine had no feeling in one of his hands all the way to the elbow. ODn't know how it happened, but he had it for years. I hope you get better, but if your hands function, but you have a loss of feeling, its not the end of the world, you can would still be able to play.
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Originally posted by JBFLA:

My ulnar(funny bone)nerve in my left elbow had been crushed by the elbow bone, leaving those fingers in my left hand numb, and growing weak.

 

Yeah, exactly how did you do this? Please elaborate.
I have no homepage.
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Originally posted by davebrownbass:

Wait a minute...you got this injury playing BASS?

It's quite common to have carpal tunnel damage from bass playing. I'm not aware of ulnar damage on the left arm.

Sorry to mislead - the injury (Cubital Tunnel injury) was not caused by playing. Fact is, the docs don't know specifically why it happened.

Typical weekend - Played softball Friday evening, gigged Fri/Sat night, no problems Sunday, and woke up Monday morning with numb fingers.

 

More likely a combination of things, and getting old(er), hehe.

Jim

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Yeah...that makes a LOT more sense. And we all know about how getting older is a bitch.

 

Playing softball, vigorous swinging...add that to a tight grip on the bat which compresses those hand nerves....

 

This injury, if I'm not mistaken, is the same thing as "tennis elbow" and to the extent that your activities mirror playing tennis, I think you can develop it.

 

Back to the problem...my wife is a physical therapist, and she's always telling me how to take care of my aches and pains (thankfully)

 

When I have such problems, she advises me to:

  • Preceed playing with appropriate, gentle stretching
  • Never play past the point of tenderness, or especially, swelling
  • Ice affected areas after use
  • use a glucosamine tablet daily.

You might also talk to the doctor about that nasty nerve in the palm of your hand. If the neck of the bass puts undue pressure there, you might need a softer hold on the thing, or a differently shaped neck. (amazing what that will do)

Good luck, keep us informed

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Originally posted by Alan Dalton:

Originally posted by JBFLA:

After reading last months BassPlayer article on tendonitis...

Which issue was that? I hope I haven't missed it. The issues usually take a month to find their way to European newsagents.
It's the February 2003 issue. You haven't missed one
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Originally posted by davebrownbass:

This injury, if I'm not mistaken, is the same thing as "tennis elbow" and to the extent that your activities mirror playing tennis, I think you can develop it.

I'm not sure it's the same as tennis elbow. There was never any pain or discomfort, just numbness. The doc said the 2 bones in my elbow had moved (for whatever reason), and crushed the nerve. I could still do most day-to-day activities, but there was a growing weakness. Right now, I'm 100% in the ring finger, and 90% in the pinky, and that may improve even more.

 

I posted this (originally) because I've been told of cases where people have waited YEARS to have it attended to. Injureed nerves can recover, but nerves that have 'died' will not. Without surgery, you can lose the total use of your hand. Nerve and muscle apathy cause "claw hand", which results in the curling-in of the fingers.

 

Off topic (to all that have responded): I'm new here and appreciate your input. I'm also trying to figure out how to navigate this site...I'm not sure I'm doing it right, so any constructive criticism is appreciated!

 

Best to all!

JBFLA

Jim

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Yeah I've dealt with tendinitis off and on for a few years now, and my ulnar nerve suffered a bit of damage but really hasn't bothered me for quite awhile now. For whatever reason, it kinda disappeared.

 

That article in Bass Player makes me want to go back to see another doctor, the others were no help previously. "Just lay off it if it hurts." Gee thanks.

Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end.

--King Crimson

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I wouldn't wait. As it is, I'll lose 5-15% of strength and sensitivity in my pinky/ring finger...not enough to keep me from playing (and I may not even notice it), but the possibilty of not being able to play again is staggering.

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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