Bass player tendonitis in right wrist and forearm

by Carson Binks

Hi Joshua,

I'm 32 years old and have been playing bass for about 16 years now. I play with my fingers (pluck the strings with my right hand) and have been experiencing pain in my right wrist and tightness in that forearm, especially in the tendons connected to my index and middle finger, the ones I use the most.

The music I play is generally very fast involving rapid plucking by these fingers and as my band is going on tour soon and rehearsing a lot right now

I'm wondering if there is a way to ensure I don't do any damage.

I also experience pain and weakness in that hand when typing or using the mousepad (navigator pad?) on my laptop for more than a few minutes at a time.

Most guitarists have tendonitis problems with their left (fretting) hand but I'm pretty diligent about stretching before playing and my left hand has given me relatively few problems.

I also do carpentry work which involves some repetitive motion such as hand-sanding. I consume a moderate amount of caffeine and have heard this can contribute to such problems.

I'd appreciate any insight.

Thanks for your time,


Joshua Answers:

Hi Carson.

Caffeine uses up various nutrition so can help leave you nutritionally insufficient/deficient.

For instance, Inflammation Causes Vitamin B6 Deficiency. If you have inflammation from all the irritation of playing bass guitar, lacking nutrients due to coffee isn't helping anything.'re 32 and not getting any younger. My point with that, is that you've had 16 years of playing, and a lifetime of using your hands.

Due to how the body works, specifically with the operation of the Pain Causing Dynamic, it just slowly (or quickly) adds up until you feel pain and problem.

That's just how Tendonitis works.

There Are Two Types Of Tendonitis. Maybe you have 'injury', maybe you don't. I'm guessing not so much, but who knows.

For sure you have muscles and connective tissue that are TOO TIGHT. Way too tight. And you're stuck there. And the body doesn't like that and continuously keeps a pain mechanic in place.

So you're stuck.

Rest won't heal you. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen will help you get through the day, but don't fix anything.

And as you want to ensure that you don't get any further damage, you will want to reverse the dynamic. Meaning, reduce the tightness of muscles, open up connective tissue, dial down the nervous system's defensive response. As well as start paying attention to nutritional issues.

Also, guitar players tend to have a specific structural variable that keyboard users don't. You have to dig into that too if you really want to 'fix' the problem.

(How convenient that's all in my Reversing Guitar Tendonitis ebook.)

I hope that gives you some insight.

More questions, more answers.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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