Fret hand numbness from playing bass guitar very fast

by Mike

Hi - I picked up my bass after 10 years retirement. I play very fast. I play lots of chords with all 4 fingers stretched to the limit. I play similar to a classical guitar player. My problem is my fret hand (left) is numb most of the time. I take lots of magnesium. I rinse in hot water for 10-20 minutes at least once a day. I am beating myself into shape again as I have been practicing at least 4 hours a day for over a year now and as much as 12 hours or more in a day.

My numbness is in all 4 fingers and my thumb BUT mainly it is in the index finger next to my thumb and the webbing in between the thumb and 1st finger and the 1st, 2nd & 3rd knuckles after the fingertips, (NOT the fingertips themselves or the fingertip knuckle section) and it hurts so bad and is so swollen I can hardly bend them.

I stop playing immediately and shake vigorously to relieve the pain temporarily and continue what I was working on till I can't play any longer again and again and again repeating my efforts over and over.

I don't want to damage anything but I am on a mission; a purpose, so I know I am pushing and pushing in an extremely focused way to get the results I want. I need my left hand to be a cooperative component of my purpose. It cannot be the weak link.

I will back off for a day if I must. I don't know what to do. My Dr says maybe its a circulation issue. I take lots of niacin, arginine & hawthorne for the circulation.

I also take hydrocodine, advil, sometimes soma & diulaudad and that helps but I want to REALLY fix the problem as I want to do a full 2 hours of live performance at my extreme physical playing level with no pain. I will be working with professionals and celebrities so I need results.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Mike.

You're taking hydrocodone and dilaudid for numbness?!? Do you have pain too? Or just numbness. Because those are serious painkillers and will have no effect on numbness (aside from your perception of it).

I'm curious if you have more going on that you've described, or if you're just anxious to play through the symptoms.

So that's good you're taking Magnesium. How much?

Hot water is good, but I'd rather see you Ice Dip as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

Certainly you have some Tendonitis dynamic at play, which includes the Pain Causing Dynamic.

If you're not familiar with what Tendonitis is, read this page and the links off of it: What Is Tendonitis

I rather suspect that a bunch of your numbness is coming from up at the front of your neck/chest/shoulder. But I'd need to know more.

If you're serious about getting back to playing symptom free, then you're going to need a plan a bit more detailed than your doctor handing out pharmaceuticals and cluelessly stating 'maybe it's a circulation issue'.

Granted I'm biased, but I suggest my Reversing Guitar Tendonitis ebook. And once you're into that and see what happens, we may or may not point you to specific work to open up the front of the neck/chest/shoulder.

A Phone Consultation may be a good match for your motivation level too. I'll ask questions, you'll give answers, I'll set you up with a specific plan and follow up.

It just all depends.

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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Sep 02, 2014
Inflammation of entire thumb and pain after tendon injury
by: Sharon D

Hello there

I'm much of a naturalist these days so I'm looking for natural remedies or assistance to my issues.

4 weeks ago I hurt my thumb and an Xray was taken which showed tendon damage and he mentioned the shield of the thumb. Told me to go home and rest (I understand this) but I work (cannot afford not to work) - home talked my husband in to helping with cooking and repetitive type chores.

Concerns: I'm 51 years old and have been a sports person, played the piano on/off, netball, athletics danced etc etc. I play the guitar now - started learning a year ago and love it (unfortunately my thumb and other finger that is inflammed doesn't quite like playing at present.) Doesn't like doing much actually.

With my prescription of rest and hot/cold method I'm also concerned about are my days of guitar playing over. I do a lot of cooking which means chopping and unfortunatly the thumb and finger that is inflammed is on my left hand (yes I'm left handed).

Also in the past 12 months I have been experiencing on/off numbness in my left thumb and fingers - I have been trying to stretch the hand/fingers daily which I feel does assist .

So in essence how else can I assist with my recovery quickly and go back to my lifestyle I love? Which DVD's would assist?

Appreciate any professional assistance - there is a lot of stuff on the net but want to be sure.
Thank you kindly and have a nice day.



Joshua Comments:

Hi Sharon.

For the tendon injury, see: Thumb Ligament Injury. That's good for acute injury, which you're a wee bit past by now, though may still have specific tendon pain.

Having said that, what 'damage' exactly did the xray show?

And what in the world is the 'shield of the thumb'? Maybe that's a New Zealand doesn't show up on google and I've never heard of it.

I'm not exactly sure what would serve you best. Reversing DeQuervain’s Tendonitis ebook (Dequervain's is just a fancy name for thumb tendonitis), or The Carpal Tunnel Treatment That Works DVD and the ebook that comes with it.

If you hadn't said 'numbness' I'd go with the former. But if you have numbness in the thumb and fingers then there are some carpal tunnel aspects as well, and very often thumb/finger numbness comes from compression up at the front of the neck and shoulder.

Probably I'd go with the Carpal Tunnel option because if you only work the thumb/hand/forearm, and the numbness is coming from higher up the structure.......

In the long run, Rest is a terrible treatment recommendation.

At age 51, I don't see any reason why you should have to stop your favorite activities, but it's just the name of the game that if you want to be active as you pass the threshold into 'elderly' (you're not there yet!), you need to learn how to keep/help your body working and able.

More questions, more answers.

See Related: Sudden Pain Bruising And Numbness In My Thumb

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