This is a comprehensive list of the major symptoms of carpal tunnel symptoms. Of course, if at any time you begin to experience these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately for proper treatment and care:
- Numbness or pain in your hand, forearm, or wrist that awakens you at night. (Shaking or moving your fingers may ease this numbness and pain.)
- Occasional tingling, numbness, “pins-and-needles” sensation, or pain. The feeling is similar to your hand “falling asleep.”
- Numbness or pain that gets worse while you are using your hand or wrist, especially when gripping an object with your hand or bending (flexing) your wrist.
- Occasional aching pain in your forearm between your elbow and wrist.
- Stiffness in your fingers when you get up in the morning.
How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel and Prevent It For Bass Players
1. Leave your left wrist and right wrist in a neutral position when playing. The number one causes of carpal tunnel for bassists with regard to the left hand is poor form when holding the neck. Long periods of time, without breaks and high stress on the wrist can come from the baseball grip on the neck. Moving your wrist as well as your fingers, according to form sticklers, isn’t the best way to hold a bass guitar let alone play with one and is usually a big reason why bad things happen to wrists.
As for the right hand, the primary culprit is for similar reasons why we get aches in our wrists from typing too long: our wrist is arched in a strange way for too long too often. When we arch our right wrist over the back end of the bass, we’re imparting an unnatural flex onto the wrist and when you compound this with rapid finger ligament movement, this is only additional stress being put on the area. My advice: position your elbow slightly more upward, relieving your wrist from pressing against the back end of the bass. You’ll feel the results immediately.
2. Limber up before playing – gigs in particular. When you practice, you have time to be aware of your form for both your left and right hands and have the ability to adjust accordingly. But come gig time, the energy is up, the crowd is keeping you going, you’re having a great time (and maybe a few beers were aiding in the fun), but you become less focused on your playing form and could pay for it in the morning. A few moments of wrist flexes can really make a difference and improve your playing stamina.
Setting yourself up to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t a particularly tedious task – especially when you know what to do and in what capacity to do it in. More often than not, a few pre-playing stretches and positioning your left and right hands in the right way on the bass guitar is a pretty common sense way to begin keeping carpal tunnel at bay and keeping you happy and playing.
Check out this cool video on wrist stretches and flexes – guaranteed to limber your wrists up before a good gig.
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