Ouch

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
576
Location
Alberta Canada
Well, medical step one today. Heading in to the city to get a steroid injection for my wrist/hand. Before anybody goes off and says the negatives on this, I'm aware that it's a short term band-aid and not a fix. I'm no stranger to cortisone and the like from other injuries along the path of my life as an athlete. I can't get the nerve conduction testing done for several more months so this is just a first step before the full meal deal to see if it helps in the interim. The exercises have helped some in the strength department, the braces have not. I've done some session time changes and experiments as to what gives me the most grief when I play. Stretching warmups (that I sort of got away from, totally my bad there), watching what I play how soon into my time, how long I play, and how long resting between playing sessions. Results are a total mixed bag. Sometimes I can play for a couple hours with no pain and/or numbness/tingles, other times 15-20 minutes and I'm in agony. Doesn't seem to matter how hard I'm going at it or how rigorously I'm attacking the fretboard. My thumb strength has returned somewhat, but the aches are still there, along with the needles and pins in my first two fingers and the center wrist/hand area. Sleep time is still the main pain and numbness issue. Still trying to bring back the stretch distance on my pinky; that really suffered the most when I scaled things back when this started. My GP seems to think this will be a good thing until I can get in for the main event. Can't hurt I reckon. Plus side, I can drop in at my favorite Long & McQuade store and see how much drool I leave behind...and you know how it goes, you can't leave without picking up something.;):p
 

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
576
Location
Alberta Canada
So it's update time. I think the injection went well for the most part. The injection site was frozen prior to the shot, so I felt nothing at all for several hours afterward. Then typical of any cortisone or or other similar agent, there was some pretty uncomfortable aching that night and the next day. Of course me being the sort that I am I totally disregarded the advice of my physician ("don't use the hand any more than necessary") and once the pain went away I immediately went downstairs and played for a couple hours Thursday night. Put the guitar down once there was some definite pain. Wasn't too bad the next couple days and since we were away I didn't play again until Sunday. A bit stiff and fingers/thumb took a bit of coaxing (limbering and stretching) but seemed pretty good. So I ran through what I thought was a reasonable time of playing and working on things (actually was close to 3 hours) and then bang, major discomfort. Oops. Been totally off for the last 3 days now and finally things are feeling pretty good. One ting I do notice is how much more sensitive my thumb and first two fingers are susceptible to cold. Anything done outside (shoveling, plowing snow etc) is pure torture. But, I have no pain or numbness when I sleep, and no pain during the work day. That in itself is a bonus. Now I just have to see what it takes to get somewhere close back to my regular playing schedule. With any luck I can bide my time until the fall and then if needs be, I can pursue the conductivity and surgical repair without worrying about missing work...because there won't be any work haha.
And yes, I did drop some coin at the store, but nothing major, just some bits and dabs that I needed anyway.
 

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
576
Location
Alberta Canada
Well, it's been a full month since my injection. Happy to report that it has worked very well for me. Very little numbness left at all, and the exercises I'm doing are bringing back the finger and thumb strength. I can sit and play for extended periods now (even on the acoustics) without too much pain and only if I overdo it (duh). Best thing is I get no pain and numbness during the night. Maybe I should get a shot in my arthritic ankle. Doubt it would do any good for my head though... LOL.
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
29,416
Location
Suburban Chicago
Well, it's been a full month since my injection. Happy to report that it has worked very well for me. Very little numbness left at all, and the exercises I'm doing are bringing back the finger and thumb strength. I can sit and play for extended periods now (even on the acoustics) without too much pain and only if I overdo it (duh). Best thing is I get no pain and numbness during the night. Maybe I should get a shot in my arthritic ankle. Doubt it would do any good for my head though... LOL.
Glad to hear it's helping!
 

rbert0005

New Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2019
Messages
159
Location
South Carolina
Get the surgery. The sooner the better.
You will wonder why you waited so long after you get it done.

I had mine done over a long weekend and was back to work on Monday.
As a toolmaker I had to use my hands, as well.
 

Slow Dog Noodle

New Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
71
Not sure if this will be helpful, but i've changed my playing habits over the years to alleviate some discomfort.

Up until 10 years ago or so I could play for as long as I wanted on any of my guitars. I now have to make sure I build up my hand strength to play acoustic for any length of time. It doesn't take long to lose hand strength either. If I go a week or two without playing acoustic I can only play for 30 minutes or so, and then work up from there playing every day or every other day.

When I wasn't playing as often (pre-pandemic) I took all my strings to light gauge. Now that i'm playing more i'm going back from 9s to 10s. But the lighter strings were easier on my hands.

A shorter scale length guitar might be easier to play too - the strings are under less tension so bending is easier. I've also noticed that neck shape can affect my hands and how long I can play before I feel discomfort. I seem to do better with the D shaped necks than C shapes but it probably comes down to preference and what you're used to.

I've tried to improve my posture and not play when i'm sitting on the couch - your hands end up in all sorts or weird angles if you're laying down, which I tend to do if i'm noodling on the couch.

Lastly and probably the worst is I've had to admit that I'm just not going to be able to play some stuff that I used to try to learn, like a lot of rags with crazy stretches and such. I'm sure that G where you're on the 3rd fret on the low E and the 7th on the high E sounds great. People just aren't going to hear me playing it. This is a tough one, and sometimes its fun to get creative and find other ways to voice things, but if you like to learn things "by the book" you might have to make some sacrifices. For me playing as long as I can is more important than risking injury or further discomfort.
 

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
576
Location
Alberta Canada
I will get the procedure done in the fall (wait times dependent). I just have too much on my plate right now to be even less able than where I was prior to the injection. Come October I'll more than enough time on my hands to deal with the recovery without impacting anyone else (no more work) if I'm down for a while. My wife has had both hers done, she was laid up for a significant amount of time on each. But everyone is different in that regard. I was back at work in 5 days after my m/c crash (7 broken ribs, my collarbone and a shoulder blade fracture) not that I was much good physically for a while.
Before I got the shot I toyed with using lighter strings too, but I'm glad I waited to see how it turned out. Not discounting it couldn't happen in the future as I continue to get older but I hope not. Most of us will end up making allowances as the clock marches forward. Some of the stretches are still giving me some moments, but there is still improvement. That plus I'm working on a couple projects that are coming along, but I have a completion deadline to make on one for sure. No firm date on the second one yet, but it could fall in around the same time frame. Whatever, I'm far from dead yet LOL.
 

12manD

New Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
82
My turn now I guess, going in tomorrow to see a hand specialist. I hit the back side of my hand behind my ring finger. Had a shooting burning pain going on. That was Saturday, Sunday sat down to practice and my pinky has lost majority of strength and coordination. Couldn't do simple hammer ons and stretching licks are a no go :/
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
29,416
Location
Suburban Chicago
My turn now I guess, going in tomorrow to see a hand specialist. I hit the back side of my hand behind my ring finger. Had a shooting burning pain going on. That was Saturday, Sunday sat down to practice and my pinky has lost majority of strength and coordination. Couldn't do simple hammer ons and stretching licks are a no go :/
Hope everything turns out ok and that it's not serious.
 

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
576
Location
Alberta Canada
12manD hoping for you! Sometimes it's hard to understand why our body complains the way it does. But then I think about how I mistreated it and the spotlight shines pretty bright.
 

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
576
Location
Alberta Canada
So, the shot has long worn off but thankfully, the numbness and overnight pain in my fingers and wrist hasn't returned with a vengeance. What has happened now is my left thumb is numb from the base of the wrist pad just about to the thumb nail almost half of the top and side. If I curl it tight or suddenly press hard on the back of the guitar neck when I'm playing (extra grip strength) I get a powerful burning pain in the whole thumb. Went in Friday for a nerve conduction test and it's actually in both wrists, just not as bad as the left. But the doc said I don't need immediate corrective surgery, I may get a couple more years before I have no choice...if I don't use the hand much. Pfffftt, yeah right. And a dog can be taught not to wee on a fire hydrant. But I shouldn't have to worry for now. My concern was come winter if I had to have the surgery I'd be buggered to do any snow clearing, shovel the sidewalks and deck. Using the plow would have been pretty much impossible with only one paw to use, so I get a reprieve for now.
My Ortho also told me a similar story about the torn cartilage in my knee. Can't do anything but take it out entirely and then it will wear the bones in the joint out in a year maybe two and then you can go for a total replacement. Duh. My 10 second 100's are history anyway so like I care. I can live with the thing locking up on me occasionally until I can't kneel or walk properly. I'll wait until it's a quality of life necessity thing on both accounts.
 

FDHog

New Member
Joined
May 18, 2022
Messages
128
Location
Jersey Shore
HaHaHa. My favorite subject. PAIN. 20+yrs as NYC Firefighter. Removed disc C5/C6, Rods and screws from L2-L5. Pinched nerve left shoulder.
Constant numbness in left shoulder, hands go numb when I sleep at night if I can sleep, walking can be a challenge when I first wake up, stiff back and left leg. Lot's of fun.
I can still hack away at my guitars and ride my Harley so it's not all bad. The worst thing was the prostate cancer from 9/11, can kill you, but at least it's not painful. Still have my sense of humor.
 

Daryl Jones

non-practicing pacifist
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
576
Location
Alberta Canada
That's awesome FDHog that you can still have a solid attitude with all that. I pi$$ and moan at times but I really shouldn't. And all my ills are self induced from being reckless far too long and early on.
 

Sybo

Jim
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
856
Location
Nashville Tn
Yea, I get it. I had shoulder surgery a week ago,Labrum and Rotator repair, It’s scary when you have had so much surgery in the past, knees 4, Spine 3, that it ain’t that bad…… PT today for the first time… I AM GONNA KICK SOME PT ASS! And try and play as long as no damage. Then tease you guys with a NGD! I am high drive with an extremely high pain tolerance. Could be worse. To all with maladies and things to work through. I wish pain free healing.
 
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alantig

Zombie Four, DFZ
Joined
Apr 28, 2012
Messages
13,123
The big bonus is, come winter if I had to have the surgery I'd be exempt from having to do any snow clearing, shovel the sidewalks and deck.

Fixed it for you.

My Ortho also told me a similar story about the torn cartilage in my knee. Can't do anything but take it out entirely and then it will wear the bones in the joint out in a year maybe two and then you can go for a total replacement. Duh. My 10 second 100's are history anyway so like I care. I can live with the thing locking up on me occasionally until I can't kneel or walk properly. I'll wait until it's a quality of life necessity thing on both accounts.

My wife went through basically the same kind of stuff w/both knees. Tore the ACL in one, and the doc said given her lifestyle (i.e., not an athlete), he wouldn't recommend repairing it. Turned out he'd torn his in high school and never had it repaired. Besides, they knew that the knee was going to need replaced in 10 years or so, and one of the things that goes away is the ACL.
 
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