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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so 4 to 5 weeks ago it feels like my little finger half of my ring finger and the bottom of my palm feel like they have gone to sleep, pins and needle feeling. I massage, soak it in coffee (just kidding) and other things to get the feeling to go away. No luck and it is still the same today. I go to the doctor and it appears the the ulnar nerve, which is your funny bone nerve, has done something and now thw nerve is in a pinched state which causes the numb feeling in the hand. Sure is a bummer trying to play like this I've had to adapt as the little finger is almost useless and the ring finger feels weird. Needless to say when I play for a half an hour or more things start to get achy. I have a specialist appointment in August, that's as early as I could get an appointment. In 4 more months nerve damage could set in as muscle deteriation has already set in. Has anybody ever had this problem and if so how did you get out of it. The doctors keep talking about surgery but I hope that is a last resort and I really don't want to wait until August. I have a appointment with a private doctor on Monday coming up. Hopefully they can do something before August. In the meantime I play with three fingers, kind of limits things.....
 

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I had carpal tunnel symtoms about a year ago. Not from playing guitar but, from Unreal Tournament 2004 :D. i got rid of the problem by putting a pillow or foam pad under my elbow for about a month. observe where and when you rest your elbow/arm and stop doing it or use padding for your arm....this should work regardless of what doctors tell you. try it for a month, if it doesn't take care of it, than you prolly need surgery :(
 

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I know exactly what you are describing. Do you play a Les Paul or other heavy guitar? The ulnar nerve (not the same nerve as carpal tunnel) goes through a different channel in the wrist, across the elbow (funny bone), under the armpit, across the shoulder blade, and up the side of the neck. If the nerve is compressed at any of these points it can affect your fingers at the end of the line. It may actually be compressing at your shoulder blade even if it's your fingers that are affected. You may also notice that some days it will be your elbow or shoulder that seems worse than the wrist.

In my case it was because of having a heavy guitar strapped across the shoulder for many years. I was unable to play for 9 months. I had x-rays and compression tests done and the doctors could find nothing wrong. I eventually had acupuncture treatments which seemed to help a bit. I also had to buy a lighter guitar.

My advice would be to take a break from playing for a week. Gradually try to play a bit but stop if it still bothers you and don't play with the guitar strapped on. You have some time to experiment before August. The good news is, there is likely nothing wrong with your hand, even though that is where it seems most bothersome. My guess is, since you are a guitar player, it's your shoulder, but you should also consider things you do at your job that could be the source of the problem.
 

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Not really knowledgable in this domain and I feel for you. It's bothersome and scary when it happens. I think it was sometimes last year for me, I had a hard time sleeping, it felt like I was sleeping on one of my arm (and that arm would go to sleep). Only it also happened during the day. It lasted for awhile. It wasn't painful but very annoying (and kinda scary).

Like it's been suggested here, I started analysing my posture, my guitar playing, physical work, at home at work etc. I ended up taking it easy for a while. Overnight is when it bothered me the most. It was an awful feeling, like my arm was going *to sleep* for no reason. It eventually went away.

I hope it does for you too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lester B. Flat said:
I know exactly what you are describing. Do you play a Les Paul or other heavy guitar? The ulnar nerve (not the same nerve as carpal tunnel) goes through a different channel in the wrist, across the elbow (funny bone), under the armpit, across the shoulder blade, and up the side of the neck. If the nerve is compressed at any of these points it can affect your fingers at the end of the line. It may actually be compressing at your shoulder blade even if it's your fingers that are affected. You may also notice that some days it will be your elbow or shoulder that seems worse than the wrist.

In my case it was because of having a heavy guitar strapped across the shoulder for many years. I was unable to play for 9 months. I had x-rays and compression tests done and the doctors could find nothing wrong. I eventually had acupuncture treatments which seemed to help a bit. I also had to buy a lighter guitar.

My advice would be to take a break from playing for a week. Gradually try to play a bit but stop if it still bothers you and don't play with the guitar strapped on. You have some time to experiment before August. The good news is, there is likely nothing wrong with your hand, even though that is where it seems most bothersome. My guess is, since you are a guitar player, it's your shoulder, but you should also consider things you do at your job that could be the source of the problem.
Well the guitars are not too heavy, alder tele and strat and another ash strat.
The private doctor I have went to see says that she feels it is a double crunch, in the shoulder lightly but in the elbow significantly. I go to see her again on Monday after she has had a chance to look at my xrays and we discuss treatment.
 

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It's good you've got things happening fast. It's a shifty thing, hard to pinpoint the problem area. Yeah, it's a scary thing to suddenly "lose it". It'll get better I'm sure, if you give it time. Don't dive into surgery, "Musician, heal thyself!" I'm just giving advice based on my own experience but each must judge his own. Best of luck.
:rockon:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yea I would like to stay away from the surgery option. The doctor I am seeing privately is into other methods so hopefully she will be successful. She sounds very confident on fixing it and her exam was pretty thorough. I had to go this route, the public system was too long of wait, could progress to something that would take a hell of a lot longer to heal from if I waited on it.
Thanks for the advice lester. I have been playing for a long time, just a tad shy of 40 years and to have to stop is probably the most drastic thing to happen to me.
 

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Yeah, I'm the same age as you and I thought I was going to have to become a singer.:zzz: I felt naked without a guitar on stage. I found a lightweight Tele Thinline, all sanded down and singin', that was my saviour. That guitar came to me when I needed it. I used to hate Teles. What all this rambling is leading to is, I think you've still got some more guitar playin' in ya! :DevilGuitar:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well the doctor says that I show signs of bone degeneration in my spinal discs at the top of my spine which is contributing to this syndrome. She recommended a combo of chiropractic and accupunture as treatment. Since I have 18 weeks or more until my specialists appt and this treatment is for 6 weeks I decided to go with it. I have had one session so far so no results yet although she took care of the kink in my neck and shoulder. The accupuncture was interesting, when she inserted the seven needles along the nerve path I could feel a real warm sensation in the affected area. The first for some time. I am hoping this will work and I'm sure I'll find out. I post again as the treatment progresses so if anybody else has this problem you will have this for referance. And oh yea Lester your right, I got a lot of years left. It's amazing how when the chips are down you can take up the slack with three fingers. Some things just don't work but I can still play..:food-smiley-004:
 

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Well at least you have three fingers still working. I play right-handed but I write and eat left-handed so I could'nt even hold a pen or a fork let alone fret a string, but as you say, when the chips were down, I HAD to play something so I played lap steel for nine months.

I hope the acupuncture works for you. They used the needles as well as mallots and suction cups on me. A positive outlook always helps too. I think there is a clinic in Toronto or Montreal that specializes in musician's ailments. Repetitive motion stuff. Drummers, pianists and guitarists all have their particular problems that non-musicians would consider a minor nuisance, but the finer motor skills required by musicians make it a big deal. I don't know if the average doctor is hip to this stuff. If I can find a link to this clinic I'll post it.

:rockon: :DevilGuitar:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Yea I thought it might be time to brush up on slide playing, but I was playing the other night and amazed myself how I was doing without the little finger. It should be even better when I get it back. Lap Steel might be cool also I know where there are a couple hanging around. I did play pedal about 15 years ago, quite a beast. Lovely instrument but requires a lot of dedication. Fun tho....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I have been seeing a Chiropractor/Accupunturist for treatment for the last two weeks (4 sessions) and believe it or not I am starting to get feeling back in my ring finger. She has said that she feels my problem is in the neck.
I will post again after a few more treatments to see where this is going but so far it has been positive. Even got rid of the kink in my neck (bonus)...

:wave:
 
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