Bassist Elbow aka. Tennis elbow

Hello community. So back in Aug 2019 i was unlucky enough to develop so called ‘tennis elbow’ in the left arm/fretting hand (or lateral epicondylitis for any medical headz out there). I refrained from playing for the rest of 2019, then picked up the bass in January 2020 and played gently for a month or 2. Me and friends were back in the studio late Feb then COVID happened. I signed up to B2B in May and it was all good for a few weeks but then towards the end of the course the pain started coming back. I’m a bit upset by this and bummed out as it is effecting my progress. Has anyone had this in the past, and if so how have you coped with it. A fellow bassist took 12 months out and got over it, but 12 months…??? Nooooooooooooo!

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Oh man, that sucks! :no_mouth:

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Sometimes it just takes…time. About 10 years ago I got plantar fasciitis [sp]; went to doctors,injections, orthotics. But in the end, it was rest that fixed me. It took about a year. I was more careful with my feet after that.

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I have not developed any shoulder, elbow or wrist pain.

What I have right now is Bassist Thumb. My thumb got wrecked last week, and it got to the point where I was playing thru the pain, wake up, thumb hurts bad, start playing, it hurts like hell, but then gets better, and soon I am bearably playing thru it again. I was hoping it was like weak muscles, and would get stronger and hurt less over time like the rest of my hand, but it is more like bruised muscles and bone.

Now, I know you will say, stop gripping so hard, and my first thought would be, yeah, you are right, but the problem did happen from gripping hard, but it was in an instance, where you kind of must grip hard.

So it got bad while learning and playing over and over for many hours, a few days back to back, the bass intro to NIB, and there are so many 1/2 tone string bends in it, then you need your thumb backing for a split second, but over and over.
PLUS
There is a fill 2 times in the so.o which is the same as the end of the 4th measure of the NIB main diff, where you fret across 3 strings (5th fret, E to D) and hammer on the 7th fret starting (E 5-7h A 5-7h D5).
That takes thumb pressure too.

When I play normal, most other stuff, I don’t use much pressure, and I can still play much stuff with no pain , but there are times it will hurt, and if I play the NIB intro or end of the riff, I will play thru pain.

So sadly, I took 2.5 days off, so far. My thumb feels better, but still has that “bruised” feel to it.

I can pick up and play some, but it gets me to want to play things that will hurt, so, I have just stopped for now.
Hopefully it won’t last much longer, or I may go batty.

I guess it’s time to learn GB and get closer to seriously building my pedalboard, that may help.

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I am sorry for you @MikeyD and I can understand not wanting to wait that long. Unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions on what you could do about that.

@T_dub same about your thumb.

Reading those comments actually made me calm down regarding my practice a little bit. I really had a hardcore schedule and yesterday when reading the comments I “tested” my left hand and it was hard to stretch the fingers straight. A little bit like the muscle ache I get in my fingers from climbing so I took a break again yesterday. My hand is much better now.

So since I want to learn a lot and fast but don’t want to put a roadblock in my own way: Apart from the stretching exercises in hand care - are there any tips to prevent those issues from arising in the first place?

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Ice after maybe?

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I got bassist thumb on the right thumb. I guess I anchor too hard. Hurts. :frowning:

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same - even did shock therapy at 2000 pulses per foot after ankle injections (those were nasty)…i used to be in shape and run 50km a week - now…i can eat a bag of chips in 6.32 min flat!

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@MikeyD! Sorry to hear about this. Not fun at all. I have been diagnosed with everything related to repetitive-motion injury in my arms and hands.
I have a tennis elbow diagnosis, a tendonitis diagnosis and also a carpal tunnel diagnosis.

The things that have helped me most were:
Massage
Physical Therapy / Guided work to focus on supporting muscle groups (core and shoulders)

The person I was seeing before COVID would do targeted massage, occasional neuro-muscular therapy, and shock-wave treatments.

I was touring for my living on bass when this was all reaching it’s most debilitating point, and I didn’t feel I had the option to stop playing.
I massaged my forearms every night after a show, cut down on typing and computer work (a severe exacerbation of symptoms when I get heavy into computer work) and worked very hard to play lighter, more relaxed, and with more breathing.

This period of inactivity and no body work during lock down has been brutal for me, as all my work has gone back to the computer.
But playing bass is still a huge part of my life and my income, so I am still playing.
Still massage my arms after recording sessions or lessons, and still try and focus on light and economic technique.

Good luck.

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This^^^

Nobody teaches about that (or very, very rarely), but @Gio has mentioned this a couple of times of already, and now, at least, I find myself becoming aware that I am totally tense, almost not breathing (especially when recording) .

It is, of course, the hardest thing to do when, at the same, you are trying to convince your hands and fingers to do something that they have never done before, much less in sync…

Maybe @JoshFossgreen could do a video about breathing while playing, relaxing while playing, how to find focus, how to get into the “zone”… I guess one could bring some martial art/zen techniques to bass playing :smile:

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I developed a “test” for myself if I can play a song relaxed. I am currently revisiting the whole course after finishing to clean up technique/get more relaxed and get used to a different position of the bass which I changed in the slap module and found if I can play something while walking around/in circles at the same time I can breathe and relax. I think there’s a zone in there for learning new things in which you can not be totally relaxed but not so overwhelmed as to not reach the state at some point in the future.

I don’t really have any tips to reach the relaxed state though. When learning something/new harder I think it just takes practice in the zone I was talking about until you are able to. And of course rule #1 as I call it from now on: learn to play slow. Get faster later.

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thanks @Gio

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thanks @juli0r

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interesting comments everyone. I think maybe some instruction on playing lighter, more relaxed as mentioned is a good idea as it’s real easy to tense up without necessarily realising when concentrating and trying to get it right. Oh yes, and remembering to breathe too!

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@MikeyD I think warming up helps, both with gentle exercise and I’ve found with my neck and shoulder a hot water bottle. For my fingers and wrist a bowl of warm water. Try to be gentle to yourself
Jamie

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Yes, it has been pure hell on my body.
I was rehabilitating Physically while I am rehabilitating Mentally and spiritually.

When they closed the gym, I was walking around fine, moving all about, standing for long periods, able to enjoy being up and about.
I have slowly deteriorated to the point just standing up from sitting is hell on my knees, feet, ankles, hip and low back. Walking first 5-8 steps brings more mysery. It gets better from the 9th step on, but it’s not great, and nothing like what it was back on March 15th, the last day the gym was open.
I don’t have access to the things that helped my legs the most, and won’t til this silly mess is over.

My only option now it to stop taking a medication I am on, because it does things to my legs that are a big part of my leg problem that is easily managed by going to the gym, but without that option to manage the problem, I am left titrating off this medication, and that is a whole mother journey thru hells gates and back.
But I remain hopeful, I know this shall pass, and grateful for many things, one of which is I am able to play bass as much as I want.

This I think is a phenomenal idea, and agree it would be a great subject for a future @JoshFossgreen and / or BassBuzz video.

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