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Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive: 2007 » Archive through December 12, 2007 » Wrist problems. Advice? « Previous Next »

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Username: seanhinkle

Post Number: 10
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 3:10 pm:   Edit Post

Hopefully this isn't serious! I practiced yesterday with one of my bands and my wrist was noticeably hurting, but it wasn't unbearable, so being the genius I am I just powered through a 2 hour practice. Now today my wrist hurts like hell.
The pain is here:

It's more of a popping feeling. I wear my bass high with my wrist resting on the edge of the bass, my thumb resting on the pickup, and my fingers playing (obviously). Any advice would be great, I'm guessing I'll just have to take it easy on the playing for a few days, but it's also not a good feeling to have my wrist hurt when I play. Thanks guys.
Intermediate Member
Username: oggydoggy

Post Number: 169
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 3:51 pm:   Edit Post

So the pain is in your pluckn' hand? When I first made the transition to Alembic Long-Scale, my Fretting wrist hurt, but it was simply poor technique. Pain in your other hand could be caused by weak/developing muscles...or past injuries to that area...among other things...I always stretch throughly before and after i play. Some of the best advice I was given was to run my hands/wrists under warm water while massaging.
Hope your can play comfortable again soon.
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5630
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 6:02 pm:   Edit Post

In addition to Ed's suggestions, a couple of things off the top of my head:

- When you are playing, are you putting a lot of pressure on the thumb that's anchored to the thumbrest? If so, that could be the problem.

- What kind of angle is your wrist at while playing? The straighter your wrist is, the better. If it's sitting long periods of time at a severe angle, that could be the problem.

So, give it a rest for a few days, and I like Ed's suggestion of warm water and a massage. Then, start observing your hand while playing; it should be loose and comfortable. Observe how much pressure you are putting on your thumb, and observe at how much of an angle the wrist is bent. Experiment with changes.
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 1196
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 6:05 pm:   Edit Post

I have been told that pushups are good for relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel and/or tendonitis, as long as it's not too far along.. Pushups stretch the tendon and as a bonus side-effect eventually make you look like you work out. :-)

I used to get that all the time when I played a 7-string bass, due to having to flat-finger the big strings...

Senior Member
Username: groovelines

Post Number: 495
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 6:49 am:   Edit Post


Sounds like you are applying pressure and resistance to muscle and tendon groups that are designed need to glide freely. A simple test would be to lower the playing position of the bass for a few days to allow a more natural positon/flex for the wrist, the straighter the better. If that doesn't suit you, then elevating the right elbow will change the wrist angle. You might look like a flightless chicken for a song or two, but at least you'll provide temprary relief to the wrist while you play.
The previous posts' suggestions made are good ones. For better or worse, the body is a holistic envivonment, if something gets out of whack in one area it can often affect a seemingly unrelated area. Now, excuse me while I lumber back to my Cheetos and Dr Pepper-fortified channel surfing.


(Message edited by groovelines on November 05, 2007)
Senior Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 407
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 7:31 am:   Edit Post

Lots of good advise, as Mike mentioned, one area of the body can and will affect others. But is it your playing position or something else ? I recently went thru a bout of tendonitis which made my left hand almost useless. The problem was in the shoulder and elbow (mostly self inflicted from passing out on couch in front of the tv balled up like a pretzel). A couple simple stretching things helped..stand in a doorway with your hands on the jam at shoulder height, lean forward for a count of 20 or 30..that'll stretch the shoulder and upper back muscles, you could also try an isometric thing, hands behind back at waist level, tense the muscles for 20 or 30 seconds. Of course if it hurts don't do it. It's also become mandatory for me to do a few hand stretching things before I play, some scale patterns in 3rds etc usally do the trick.

And Mike, please wash your hands before playing, that cheese stuff is a pain to clean off the fretboard.

Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 1602
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 7:47 am:   Edit Post

Playing your bass in a high position can definitely put your wrist in an awkward position. I play my bass pretty high too but I use my thumb a lot so my wrist flows in and out of a straight and bent position.
If you do a lot of finger style or pizzicato style playing with your bass slung high you may try changing the angle of the bass on your body, i.e. raise the end of the neck higher which should change the angle of your plucking hand. Or as suggested already maybe by lowering the bass a tad you can resolve the problem.
Either way if itís uncomfortable while you play it is not good. Your playing will suffer and you can cause some more permanent damage.

Hope all turns out well,
Advanced Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 324
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 7:57 am:   Edit Post

seanhinkle..sounds like you have tendinitis of the radial tendons. the popping is in the inner tendon catching on the inflamed area of the tendon sheath(tendons are like brake cables -outer cover with inner wire.) The sheath inner can beome inflammed and causes the pain.
Crepitus(crackling) sometimes occurs when you move the affected limb.
Rest the area and take anti inflammatories to reduce the pain BUT don't rest it completely, it is a combination of resting it and gentle movements. rest it too much and it stiffens up, move it too much and it aggravated the condition.
You have to find a compromise..in the severest of cases hydrocortisone & lignocaine can be injected into the sheath(by doctor only) but that is only a last resort.
Terry C
Occupational Health Advisor & Orthopaedic Nursing Certificate
Username: seanhinkle

Post Number: 11
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 8:50 am:   Edit Post

Hey guys, thanks for all the advice. I believe that you are all correct and the band I am playing with is all very technical fast finger style playing and it puts my wrist in an awkward position. My wrist is still quite sore so I'm taking it easy and trying to find a more comfortable position to play (which ain't easy). Thanks again for answering to quickly! I'll keep this updated and hopefully this darn pain goes away soon!
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2696
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 10:53 am:   Edit Post


Put some skin on that hand! lol

Bill, tgo
Advanced Member
Username: jet_powers

Post Number: 346
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2007 - 3:40 pm:   Edit Post

You didn't mention a lump, but that's the area ganglions have been know to occur...

Advanced Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 327
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - 3:09 am:   Edit Post

Ganglions..hit them with a heavy book..not very medical but it works..disadvantage..can cause a fracture oops!!!

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