Wednesday, 04 February 2009
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Has anyone ever experienced elbow pain(tendinitis?). If so do you have any recommendation's for a cure or alleviating the pain. I've been playing bass for 6.5 years(fanned fret for 1.5 yrs) and guitar for several years before that. Never had a problem until now. It's not bad enough so I can't play but I want to do something about it now to prevent that from happening. Any advice would be appreciated.
12 years ago
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#12223
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We are not getting young and RSI (repetitive strain injury) is part of our practice (and part of our trade for some of us) In a very short reply, I'd suggest you find yourself a rehabilitation doctor (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) that you can feel comfortable with, take your main Dingwall and have him/her observe you, while playing something that causes strain (and consequently pain). He will be able to pinpoint the problem and suggest some physio as well as relieving exercises and other treatment modalities (pain-killers and anti-inflammatory medication are advised in more severe cases). Adhere to what he/she proposes and meet regularly with him/her to check on the progress. Prevention of the condition is the best. If not prevention, then it's reversal to a better level and keeping things under control I've suffered wrist RSI 13yrs ago (work related, but bass playing was inhibited due to the pain, swelling and discomfort) and I've been sign and symptoms free since then
12 years ago
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#12224
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Thanks Fullie, I have just made an appointment. Fortunately it's not that bad yet to prevent me from playing but I don't want it to either.
12 years ago
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#12226
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Can you be specific? Which arm? Have you changed your playing position recently? I found I had right hand wrist pain when I practiced sitting down a lot, and when I strapped fairly high. It disappeared when I did a bit of an ergonomics lesson and also moved the playing position of my bass a bit.
12 years ago
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#12227
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My left(fretting arm) elbow. Most all of my wood shedding is sitting down. I haven't changed the way I play. I have started to play some etudes at higher tempo's than normal playing speed so maybe the tension and speed has aggravated the condition. I don't do any stretches before I play but I do warm up with scales,etc. I'm going to a physical therapist as Fullie suggests.
12 years ago
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#12228
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I'd like to add that my doctor (while at his specialty training) had the benefit of having a specialist team (those who were teaching) that were specialized for the people of the Classical Orchestra of the City that he was studying, so he had experience with musicians related RSI
12 years ago
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#12229
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Being a Physical Therapist with a keen intrest and experience in ergonomics, I'll weigh in on this. RSI is definitely the problem here, but unless you play the bass many hours per day, I'll bet a Dingwall t-shirt that the source of strain is going to be from another cause. There is not only repetitive strain from movement, but the other source is static (postural) strain, i.e. maintaining the position of a joint long enough to cause ligament/tendon strain. You have to analyize every activity involving that arm, and rule it in, or out, as the cause. Then you have to stop doing it. Posture is largely a habit. I have personal experience with this type of elbow pain, BTW, from the habit of sleeping with my right arm under my pillow with my elbow fully flexed: 8 hours of postural strain = ligament strain = elbow pain. I switched sides of the bed with my wife and started sleeping on my left side, and the pain went away. Guess what? Now my left arm is starting to hurt a little. I still sleep with my arm under the pillow :cry:. Habits can be a bitch to break. :twisted: There is great wisdom in the old joke, "Doctor, it hurts when I do that". "Then don't do it", replies the physician. I'd like to know: -What your main occupation is -Which side of your elbow hurts (determined with palms facing forward) -Which arm is affected and is that your dominant side -What physical activities or sports are you involved in I'm confident that fanned frets are not the problem here. Let's see if we can figure it out. In the mean time you need to frequently and aggressively massage the tendon/ligament directly at the sore spot perpendicular to it's orientation: T E N <--Massage--> D O N And, unless contraindicated by other health problems, you can take 800 mg of ibuprofen 3x/day for a while to decrease the inflammation. Keep us posted on how it goes. Mark
12 years ago
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#12232
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Eddy had a great suggestion to seek professional help. I know what he does for a day job, and these guys are prone to problems from postural strain more than nearly anybody. I've had to work on and give advice to "my guy" before - his neck and shoulders are a wreck from postural strain. You need to keep in mind that the problem here is tissue strain. Many therapists will have you stretch the problem area. This is where I disagree with them. Stretching = strain, and that's the problem here. So, we're going to strain it more by stretching? No! The area needs a break from the strain. Here's what I would do: do what they suggest, but avoid anything that strains the area, be it exercise or stretching that causes pain. Mark
12 years ago
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#12234
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I used to play tennis allot and at one time I did get severe tennis elbow on my right arm. So bad I could not pick up a glass. I did receive treatment for that and finally it went away fortunately never to return. This is my left(fretting hand) arm. I certainly do not blame it on the fanned fret. In fact I think my Dingwall 5 is easier to play or the same as my old MTD 4 string. I do sleep as you do Mark with my left arm under my pillow. To start with anyway. I may have a battle with my wife if I tell her we are switching sides of the bed. HA!HA! The only thing that I can see that I'm doing different is playing etudes. I play them over and over again increasing the tempo when I can to the point where I can't play it any faster. I know I tense up at the higher speeds. I usually practice between 1 to 2 hours per day. I play in a contemporary Christian rock band. I am going to a Physical Therapist as Fullie suggested. I'm going to bring my bass so they can observe how I play if they desire. I'm also going to slow the etudes way down until I can play them relaxed at tempo. I do take lessons from a professional electric bass player and have talked to him about it and he has also made some suggestions on my posture when I practice. I will certainly keep you up to date on this as you never know when it might help someone else. Thank's to both you Mark and Fullie. David
12 years ago
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#12237
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...it was that my technique, well, sucked. First... listen to everything Fullie and Mark are saying. They're on target. I had RSI hand pain (different, but still) fifteen years ago. The first two doctors and my PT assumed it was from typing 10-15 manuscript pages of technical manuals a day. Seemed logical. But the problem persisted, and my doctor sent me to see a plastic surgeon who specialized in hands. She was also a classical guitarist, and when I told her I was a bass player, she said "show me how you play." So I did. She very confidently told me that my technique was my problem, so I basically re-learned how to play (neck much more upright, wrists relaxed, etc.). I'm still not the King of Technique or anything, but I'm way better. Problem got solved and I became a better player to boot. Can't beat that with a stick. I'm not saying that's your problem... just sharing my experience.
12 years ago
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#12238
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Having had extended periods of time where I was playing/practicing 6+ hours daily on both electric and upright I have a sincere appreciation for technique, both good and bad, and an extensive understanding of the pain and trepidation involved. These days I generally log about 12hrs of hard gigging time Thursday-Saturday with 4-8 hours of lighter gigging/practicing and session work the rest of the week, almost exclusively on Dingwall. While proper technique is very well defined and implemented for upright bass, it seems less so on electric. Along with a good wide strap one of the advantages of playing a bass with exceedingly good balance and ergonomics is the ability "change-up" the playing position of the bass. My neck goes from being parallel to with the floor to pointed-up at a pretty sharp angle and everywhere in between through the course of a night, all while maintaining pretty good technique and playability. While there may be songs/passages that require specific positioning of the bass for technical reasons there are also bound to be other times when you can sort of sit back and cruise. Through the 25+ years of playing I have also had to alter my technique due to various injuries and conditions, i.e. plucking with my first and third finger only, cut tendons and lacerations which required me to plug "overhand" with my thumb only, etc, etc. These days I work many of these variations into my playing when appropriate in musical context. This really works for me, and after years of hard surfing, street skating and heavy lifting there aren't too many days where something isn't hurting somewhere.
12 years ago
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#13396
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Just to add to the "technique" stories: I've never had [i:3edbvd6f]any[/i:3edbvd6f] playing-related pain, and have been playing for several decades. A few years ago, I got my first five string, and within a few weeks, I started getting pain and numbness in my right hand. It really scared me. Not knowing what to do, I simply stopped playing five string, and went back to playing four strings-only. Within a week or so, the pain went away. Long story short: I realized that I had poor form (I bent my right wrist too much when playing), and for whatever reason, I would bend my wrist even [i:3edbvd6f]more[/i:3edbvd6f] when I'd play the fiver. I started playing with a much more straight right wrist. The pain went away and never came back (thank God). It was a real drag, because to some extent, I had to re-learn how to play. But man, it was worth it. Anyway, best of luck with finding your solution, dsincjr!
12 years ago
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#13397
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Lots of great info and advice here. I would agree that ibuprophen (you have to take it 3 times throughout the day) will help tremendously and ice it, preferably numerous times a day (learn how to ice properly). Again, if you are serious about treating tendonitis of any type, the ibuprophen and ice works almost everytime. The pitfalls here are that people don't take the ibuprophen throughout the day and/or don't ice properly and frequently enough... Good luck.
12 years ago
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#13607
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On http://www.elutherie.org/ There's a lot on RSI and ergonomic guitar basses. It was calle builidingtheergonomicguitar before. I have problems myself having a sore thumb joint om my fretting hand. Lots of info for you there. To original thread starter, Dsincjr : [b:2mkcxj1w]So sorry to ask this, but has it become WORSE since you've started playing a fanned fret bass? It seems like that. [/b:2mkcxj1w] There's a luthier called Jerome Little of Little Guitarworks which you can check out. He make TORZAL necks, however, not fanned. JUST to adress these RSI things. Those necks are deliberately warped. Rick Toone is another private builder, who concentrates on the back of the neck on Trapezoidal necks, which means you have to move your thumb further back. This eases pain and does not require that much force to "keep it in line". The reason my playing has resulted in the RSI problems, both shoulder, elbow and the thumb, is because I play headless basses. They require a lot more steady holding from the fretting hand thumb to prevent it from wiggling back and forth. So the thumb behind the neck has to use slightly more force to keep it in line. And that my shoulders are too tense for absolutely no reason. I have no or less problems with this, on headed instruments though. So bad technique from the start on. Sort of. Inspite having played classical guitar - with a real teacher - from 10-11 years old to really get all things, posture, fingering, hand position right. I've heard from both camps regarding fanned frets. It ain't THAT ergonomic by some, while others says "this is it, no hurting anymore". /Mats
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