Hand/Arm issues? Problems? Solutions? Do tell


Hey folks.
I’ve been battling all kinds of hand and arm issues for the last 15 years. I’m 38, and in my early 20s things started to hurt.
I’ve had all sorts of advice and all sorts of different iterations of arm problems. Anyone out there deal with:
Carpal Tunnel?
Inflammation in hands and fingers?
Holler with any and all solutions / ideas / commiserations!!

The best thing I found to date was the Arm Aid - a self administering forearm massage tool. That and a CBD ointment for my hands and arms.
Holler, doctor folk and healing peoples! Help my arms!!

Problems with a shoulder

The Doctor. Go see one. Please.


Oh - I’ve been to all of them.
Doctors, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Acupuncture - it’s all great. They’ve all helped with different things in different ways.

I was thinking that this thread could be a place to share experiences or helpful treatments.

I’m always watching my own situations and conditions, and I have a bunch of tips and tricks for dealing. So - if anyone has tips, I’ll take 'em, and if anyone needs tips, I’ll give 'em, and if anyone needs commiserating, lets commiserate!


The obvious one is not putting any of your joints in overly unnatural positions. What qualifies as overly unnatural? Well, I guess anything that causes pain when repeated. I’ve not had any issues with this with bass but did with my computer mouse/keyboard set-up… I noticed I was getting pain in my right shoulder when using my computer then I realised my mouse position was being pushed too far to the right because of the number pad on the keyboard. I got a keyboard without a number pad which allows me to position my mouse more centrally, now my joints are all set more “square” when working and zero pain.

And I guess the second thing is repetition injury. Another non-bass analogy here… I hit the weights every now and again and one thing I’ve noticed is if I religiously say do squats every time with my feet exactly the same width apart, my toes pointing in exactly the same etc. I get niggles. I figured out changing stance variation, slightly adjusting toe position, changing bar position etc. even if just a cm or two I don’t get niggles. Extending that to bass… maybe each time you play bass adjust your strap height a cm or two, anchor your right hand in a slightly different position etc. I can’t say for sure but I’m guessing having the consistent small variation will help considerably rather than hitting the exact same positions over and over. What it does for you bass playing though, I can’t say.

Would love to hear some expert opinion from someone in the trenches


I LOVE this idea. I’m gunna apply it, for sure. Thanks.


When my fingers give out and I’m left the next day after the gig, with finger cramping, I switch to a pick. I keep some picks in my wallet at all times and get one out at the break to keep the hand doing different things. It saves my fingers. Let’s face it, not all bass players have iron fingers. I lose some of the subtlety of playing with a pick but I choose songs that are not subtle when I use the pick.


Yes - picks can certainly help. Nice solid advice here.


Yea what I do is look at the set list and then decide if I want to start the evening using a pick or end it that way. Either way you’re only using your fingers part-time. I have found, too, that even playing 2 or 3 songs with a pick helps rest my fingers tremendously.


I’m all about this. I am constantly changing my shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, finger positions, as well as neck angle during a show. Seems to let me get away with occasionally having intense wrist bends since I don’t stay there for long and everything stays fluid and lubricated.

I also feel like my exercise routine away from bass helps keep my body running well for bass. I do a lot of bodyweight exercise à la Convict Conditioning, and I think having bodyweight on my hands a lot, plus doing forearm exercise like fingertip (knee) pushups and bar hands, helps make everything work. Not that I would necessarily recommend that to @Gio or anyone else with existing issues, just something that I feel keeps me running injury-free.


I’m going to start a kickstarter, everyone. Let’s get Josh out of prison!! Free Josh! Free Josh! Free Josh!!!

But, really, this is alllll good advice here: exercise routines are crucial. I love swimming, so that’s my go to. Anything but jogging, really. Please don’t make me jog.


Lol yeah jogging is a solid “no thanks” for me. I wish I swam more, I really love how it feels but I can’t stand the usual level of chlorination in swimming pools.


I’m with you. Neil Armstrong was asked why he doesn’t run, like all the other astronauts. He said, “We only have a finite number of heartbeats. I’m not going to waste them running.” :smiley:


Lol, for some reason I read “Neil Young” instead of “Neil Armstrong” on my first pass and was like “that’s some quality folky wisdom right there,” and then I thought “wait, astronauts?”


Anyone know - does Neil Young like jogging? I’m guessing, no.


I’m coming in here a bit late but I would like to relate some knowledge from my past experience. For a large part of my life I was both a tennis player (hacker) and in the tennis industry. I was with Prince in it’s early days as well as Wilson. I also ran Time Sports which held the tennis and clothing licence for Wimbledon. During this time as a result of playing 7 days a week for extended hours, at least 5, I suffered tennis elbow. At this time, the tennis boom, this was a big deal. We discovered that the string vibration had a lot to do with this condition. So, tighter or looser strings would help. Changing the position of you grip, or grip size would also help. Strengthening, the arm really worked but it went hand in hand with some time off. I believe that this would apply to the bass as well.


Interesting @nicholas.richino!


Cant really blame the bass for my issues cuz they,re hereditary. I have severe stenosis in my cervical spine area and get pinched nerves for extended periods. The latest one has lasted for a couple of months. I find resting helps and have been taking frequent breaks for 2 days lately. Im trying to avoid the slippery slope of fusion surgery cuz once you fuse 2 it spreads to the other ones. So just rest, physical therapy (too expensive unless you learn how to self administer it), and cannabis to keep the opiod use to a bare minimum. Cant really see giving up playing as an option right now though. I just have to be patient and take long breaks sometimes. Ive just come to accept that if I want to do certain activities pain is going to be part of the deal.


Holy cats, Madden! That’s some serious perspective. Thanks - the self-administering is HUGE. Any kind of physical help - massage/bodywork/therapy etc is so damn expensive. Not the kind of thing most people I know (myself included) can afford.
Best to you in everything, and thanks for sharing this.


Great info here, too. This is a very cool and helpful thread. Thanks team!


I just do what i can. Nice thing about bass is u can truncate your more difficult lines and “hide” if u absolutely need to as long as u stay in the pocket and most wont notice (Not as a permanent solution but more of an emergency measure). This would only work with sympathetic bandmates of course lol.