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  #1  
Old 03-13-2013, 06:19 AM
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Default Bo's carpal tunnel update

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted that I'm suffering from CTS. And this manifested itself in both hands suffering from 'pins and needles' and going numb while playing for a few minutes. Here's how it's going so far:

My doctor started me on a medication that's used to control your uric acid level. This uric acid level is what contributes to gout - a form of arthritis that builds up these crystals usually in the joint of your big toe first making it painful for you to walk. But it could spread to any joint, it just so happens your big toe is at the bottom, and the uric acid follows gravity at first. So I've been taking this stuff for a little over a week now.

I'm also wearing wrist braces when I go to sleep to keep my wrists and hands from twisting or bending in during the night which causes stress on the wrists.

I'm also doing alot of stretches, and these are helping most of all.

I'm happy to report that I can play (and drive the car) for alot longer now before any numbness sets in. At its worst I'd play for about 5 minutes and I'd have to stop and let the blood back in to my hands. Now I can go up to 25 minutes.

Mind you, this is not painful at all. It's just a bit of numbness that I'm dealing with, so I'm definitely in the early stages.

I felt a little guilty at my first group therapy session because there were people there with completely dead hands, and some had begun to atrophy because no blood at all was there, and they were in serious pain. The therapist suggested bigger sticks (which I had already started) and these simple stretches. When I showed them the stretches I was already doing, they were impressed and told me to keep on it. So throughout my day I'll stop and do these stretches and everything is looking good.

I think the medication is helping as well since my joints don't feel as "creaky" as they used to. But I need to go back in for a blood test to see where my uric acid levels actually are at this point.

Of course, diet and exercise are also important and I've been dusting off my mountain bike to do some riding around my house and trying to eat less. Somebody told me 50 is the new 30, so I want to be riding that train when I get there.

All in all, I think I'll conquer this CTS thing given more time (I have til the end of the month to see how I'm doing), but it's been very positive so far. So if any of you is suffering any kind of hand numbness, get in to see your doctor and don't ignore it. I was initially freaked because it's half of my career to be playing (well, twiddling knobs mixing sound is the other, so I guess it's ALL of my career) and I don't want to be in this position where I'm asking myself, "So what do I do now?".

My playing has been feeling better since I'm stretching on a regular basis, and actually warming up. And even typing on a computer keyboard is not so bad either.

You folks take care of yourselves. You only get one body for this life!
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I'm also doing alot of stretches, and these are helping most of all.

Of course, diet and exercise are also important and I've been dusting off my mountain bike to do some riding around my house and trying to eat less. Somebody told me 50 is the new 30, so I want to be riding that train when I get there.
Glad to hear you've got both DIET and EXERCISE covered. There's not much else above health that is valuable in life. Perhaps relationships and memories (as mentioned by Warren Buffet).

Don't sweat 50 Bo. I can still press the same weight on a bench and more on a shoulder press as I did 20 years ago. Though I'm much slower and smarter nowadays in the gym :).
I was fortunate to stay active physically.

Keep us posted.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Glad to hear things are moving in a good direction.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

And on another note, I picked up some of those Radians Custom Ear Plugs kits and am preparing to actually make my plugs soon (these are identical to the Ahead Custom Earplug kits, but way cheaper). Normally I wouldn't have to wear them, but doing the Ringo thing on my 24" K Light Ride will definitely kill my left ear soon if I don't!

So I'm doing my best to protect my hearing too. Too many of my friends are going deaf!
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
and I've been dusting off my mountain bike to do some riding around my house
It might be safer if you took it outside. ;-)


Glad to hear it's on the road to recovery.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Take care Bo! I hope youre back to 100% soon.
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2013, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

I get the sense you're a strong man Bo. You'll get there. Good luck my friend :)
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Good so far. Massage was the other option you were looking at. The bod definitely complains in your 50s if you haven't been careful in the past.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Good to know you're already improving. Would you mind sharing the stretches?
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Good news and good advice!
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:49 PM
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  #11  
Old 03-13-2013, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
Good so far. Massage was the other option you were looking at. The bod definitely complains in your 50s if you haven't been careful in the past.
I've done full body massage at my chiropractor a few years ago once and I am trying to find a nice legitimate place that does hand reflexology for this sort of thing. In my part of town its hard because there's so many of those "x-rated type Asian" massage parlors sprinkled about, and the legitimate ones I know of don't just do hand/arm work. But I'm searching!
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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I've done full body massage at my chiropractor a few years ago once and I am trying to find a nice legitimate place that does hand reflexology for this sort of thing. In my part of town its hard because there's so many of those "x-rated type Asian" massage parlors sprinkled about, and the legitimate ones I know of don't just do hand/arm work. But I'm searching!
No, the Asian places are more like NC-17, but.... :)

Trigger point muscle therapy is different. Not the same as massage or physical therapy. Give it a try. It works. This place might be close to you. Get better fast...

http://www.painlesstriggerpoint.com/
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  #13  
Old 03-13-2013, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Good to know you're already improving. Would you mind sharing the stretches?
Ah, yes. If you took one hand and held it out in front of you with the arm extended straight out, then flip your hand so the palm is facing upward. With your other hand, reach under your outstretched hand and pull your thumb back towards you and down to the ground. That stretches the whole area up through your arm where the median nerve is. Hold that for 30 seconds at a time. I alternate hands and do it about five times each.

The other stretch you're in the same position, but now your other hand is bending your fingers down towards the floor. Hold that for 30 seconds at a time.

If you're never done it before, the pain can be pretty sharp because those bottom muscles on your arms have never been stretched. So go slow. If you can't hold it for 30 seconds, then don't and work up to it.

The carpal tunnel is that section in your wrist where all the tendons go through from your hand and up your arm. So if that area gets inflamed, pressure on your tendons ensues and blood doesn't travel back and forth through that small tunnel correctly. The stretches open up that area and as in my case, is relieving the pressure. The pressure could be from an injury, or on some people, the carpal tunnel just isn't big enough.

Hope that helps!
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Originally Posted by larryz View Post
No, the Asian places are more like NC-17, but.... :)

Trigger point muscle therapy is different. Not the same as massage or physical therapy. Give it a try. It works. This place might be close to you. Get better fast...

http://www.painlesstriggerpoint.com/
I recall you mentioning this before. I'll search for it. The one you linked is a bit far away (about 35 miles west of me through L.A. traffic) so I'll look around here or ask my therapist if we have one local. Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Good that you listened to the signs your body was giving you early. I know you won't stop until you've beat this thing, that's the kind of guy you are, plus there's not much choice. This is your livelihood.
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  #16  
Old 03-13-2013, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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there's so many of those "x-rated type Asian" massage parlors
Speaking of giving your wrist a break!

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Hey now! Thank you! We're here all week! Don't forget to tip the waitstaff!
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  #17  
Old 03-13-2013, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Glad to hear this Bo.There are lots of homeopathic alternatives to western medicine out there,that actually work but you heve to be the judge of what works for you.

Here's hoping you can beat(pun intended) this thing.:)

Steve B
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  #18  
Old 03-14-2013, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Damn that would suck (CTS). Good luck with the rehab.

1. Be careful on the bike. It can be a killer to your wrists.

2. I liked your old avatar better.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Good news Bo, take it slowly and get better slowly but surely, you'll make it, you love it too much to do otherwise :)
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:04 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

That's great news, Bo. Non-invasive treatment is always a good thing.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Originally Posted by New Tricks View Post
Damn that would suck (CTS). Good luck with the rehab.

1. Be careful on the bike. It can be a killer to your wrists.

2. I liked your old avatar better.
Actually you're right about the bike. I got on it for a ride and had to stop as my wrists just weren't ready to be leaned on that much. So instead I walked my normal bicycle route and still just about died from the uphill hiking. I'll keep doing that for now.

I need to get new avatar shots of Mo.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:43 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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So if any of you is suffering any kind of hand numbness, get in to see your doctor and don't ignore it.
Interesting read, thanks for sharing!
I started having problems with my right hand, on & off for the last two years.

I always assumed it was me not doing regular warm-ups anymore (and overall, not being a really good drummer to be honest). But after a while, playing, I my right hand, mostly the thumb, goes numb. Sometimes to the point where I have to hold the stick like a baseball bat because I cannot use my thumb anymore.

If I stop for 5/10 minutes goes away.
It's a bit of a problem while playing live, but if I play "softer" for a while, I can control it.

Looks like I'll have to see a(nother) doctor then!
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:51 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Actually you're right about the bike. I got on it for a ride and had to stop as my wrists just weren't ready to be leaned on that much. So instead I walked my normal bicycle route and still just about died from the uphill hiking. I'll keep doing that for now.

I need to get new avatar shots of Mo.
I ride road and mountain bikes quite often. On the MTB I used these grips made by Specialized.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/ftb...urlockinggrips

They are designed to reduce pressure on the nerves and put your wrists in a more neutral position. I don't have wrist issues to the degree that you do but I haven't had any hand numbness since I started using them years ago.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:06 AM
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The numbness usually starts in the middle fingers on an affected hand (ie, not the index finger or pinkie). My CTS was so severe my fingers on my right hand would lock in position for hours. I still have a little residual numbness following surgery in the tips of my fingers (very minor I hasten to add, but it is there) due to having left it too long before seeking help, although about 98% of the lost feeling returned within a week of the surgery.

I would be wary of a uric acid/ gout diagnosis. I was originally diagnosed this way, but in fact i had an underlying arthritic condition that was responsible for at least some of my CTS, to the point that after the surgery for my left hand ( I had the right done first, then the left in a period of about 3 months) at my first gig after recovery, i was setting up and then had a searing pain in my right wrist followed by an immense feeling of relief. I didn't think anything of it until I tried to tighten a tilter up and found that i could not bend my right thumb at all (the joint would bend but I could not move it physicality). I then played for 2 hours (the gig was recorded for posterity and is up on You tube incidentally- here http://youtu.be/KScRmrPpBG0) in true the show must go on style! When I eventually went to A+E, it was found that i had snapped the tendon in my thumb and had to endure another 6 weeks in plaster following a procedure to reconnect it. The surgeon berated me as he thought that he might not be able to reconnect as apparently the tendon disappears up through joints into the arm if you leave it too long. Apart from some scars and a slightly less flexible thumb, i have no residual issues from this, but the reason behind the failure was atypical rheumatoid arthritis- very common in gentlemen in their 40's and 50's apparently and the root cause of most of my difficulties it seems. I would ask them to test for arthritic blood factors when they are checking your uric acid levels, just to be safe.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

The wrist braces at night are a HUGE help. Right away it solved 1/2 the regular pain/numbness.

The cycling, pushing a mouse at work all day and some heavy labor was wrecking my hands...of course it wasn't the drumming... changes on the bike, using my left hand on the mouse (to draw!) and delegating the heavy lifting to others solved the rest of the problems.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Hi Bo, Matt here. How much thought have you given to re-working your technique? Do you attribute any of the injury to technical deficiencies?

The reason I ask, is that I am starting to suffer pains in my hands when rehearsing with my current band. I've only been playing for 3 years, well short of your lengthy stint on the throne. After rehearsal, I wake up with a dull ache in the back of the fingers and wrist, and when sleeping I feel I need to get my hands straight at all times. I stretch a lot but that does not seem to alleviate the problem. I do not warm-up as properly as I should but I will start doing so now, particularly after reading your thread. To put it in perspective, I also play guitar, and as I have been without work for 4 months now I have been dedicating 6+ hours per day to practice.

Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons DVD thinks that RSI conditions develop from choking the stick and absorbing the kinetic energy in the hands rather than allowing the stick to vibrate freely. What are your thoughts here? What did your doctor say re technique (if anything)? I've seen your video's it is obvious you are an amazing player, and you wouldn't be that good with poor technique in my opinion. So therefore your CTS arose for different reasons do you think?

However I am in a slightly different situation, I am fairly new to drums still and so I am considering re-working my technique from scratch. I am going to doctor tomorrow to get an expert medical opinion. But I just wanted to here your thoughts on this as well? I have taken lessons with a number of local teachers and all of them have generally implied my technique is sound, but now I am unsure due to the pains.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

I'm not a doctor, but I sometimes play one at home...

I don't have anything to add on the medical side, just that I've been reading your posts for years, Bo, and it saddens me to hear that you're struggling with pain. It always breaks my heart when I hear about other drummers having these problems.

Here's hoping your recovery is swift and complete.

Stay strong, you'll come through this even better than before.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:42 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Originally Posted by djmemjy View Post
Hi Bo, Matt here. How much thought have you given to re-working your technique? Do you attribute any of the injury to technical deficiencies?

The reason I ask, is that I am starting to suffer pains in my hands when rehearsing with my current band. I've only been playing for 3 years, well short of your lengthy stint on the throne. After rehearsal, I wake up with a dull ache in the back of the fingers and wrist, and when sleeping I feel I need to get my hands straight at all times. I stretch a lot but that does not seem to alleviate the problem. I do not warm-up as properly as I should but I will start doing so now, particularly after reading your thread. To put it in perspective, I also play guitar, and as I have been without work for 4 months now I have been dedicating 6+ hours per day to practice.

Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons DVD thinks that RSI conditions develop from choking the stick and absorbing the kinetic energy in the hands rather than allowing the stick to vibrate freely. What are your thoughts here? What did your doctor say re technique (if anything)? I've seen your video's it is obvious you are an amazing player, and you wouldn't be that good with poor technique in my opinion. So therefore your CTS arose for different reasons do you think?

However I am in a slightly different situation, I am fairly new to drums still and so I am considering re-working my technique from scratch. I am going to doctor tomorrow to get an expert medical opinion. But I just wanted to here your thoughts on this as well? I have taken lessons with a number of local teachers and all of them have generally implied my technique is sound, but now I am unsure due to the pains.
There are tons of clips Bo has put up here over the years, and I can honestly say, I don't think I've ever seen anyone with a more relaxed grip. If anything, the fact Bo is dealing with this despite a picture-perfect set of hands is proof that anyone can.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

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Originally Posted by djmemjy View Post
Hi Bo, Matt here. How much thought have you given to re-working your technique? Do you attribute any of the injury to technical deficiencies?

The reason I ask, is that I am starting to suffer pains in my hands when rehearsing with my current band. I've only been playing for 3 years, well short of your lengthy stint on the throne. After rehearsal, I wake up with a dull ache in the back of the fingers and wrist, and when sleeping I feel I need to get my hands straight at all times. I stretch a lot but that does not seem to alleviate the problem. I do not warm-up as properly as I should but I will start doing so now, particularly after reading your thread. To put it in perspective, I also play guitar, and as I have been without work for 4 months now I have been dedicating 6+ hours per day to practice.

Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons DVD thinks that RSI conditions develop from choking the stick and absorbing the kinetic energy in the hands rather than allowing the stick to vibrate freely. What are your thoughts here? What did your doctor say re technique (if anything)? I've seen your video's it is obvious you are an amazing player, and you wouldn't be that good with poor technique in my opinion. So therefore your CTS arose for different reasons do you think?

However I am in a slightly different situation, I am fairly new to drums still and so I am considering re-working my technique from scratch. I am going to doctor tomorrow to get an expert medical opinion. But I just wanted to here your thoughts on this as well? I have taken lessons with a number of local teachers and all of them have generally implied my technique is sound, but now I am unsure due to the pains.
I'm sorry - I totally thought I had answered this. Lo and behold - there was nothing there!
Actually, as 8mile has said, my technique is pretty relaxed already. So like everyone else, I'm not sure my drumming is what caused this. Now that I've been wearing the braces at night and seeing my condition improve with stretching, much of the numbness that I was suffering has alleviated. It's not completely gone, and when I drive a hand may go numb, but it just seems problematic and not painful.

Let me repeat this though: I'm not suffering any pain. It was just the initial freak out about my hands going numb that brought me to the doctor. When I look at what I do just to live, my hands are the true money makers so I'm paranoid about anything going wrong. I think I may have caught this alot earlier than some people and doing what I'm doing is helping me alot.

The one thing my doctor suggested (not being a musician) was bigger sticks. And I did that and that seemed to help quite a bit too. You sound like there may be more going on than sporadic numbing. Maybe your doctor will have you do an EMG test - they hook you up and send an electrical signal through your hand to see where the signal stops. Hopefully you're not suffering anything serious!
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

glad to hear that you are getting through this.
As it turns out, I went to the hand surgeon and was just diagnosed today. I got the splint and will start using it tonight. I'm not sure what caused it, I was doing a lot of things with my hands when the symptoms started.
Question for those of you who think you may have gotten it from drumming - the doc showed me the motions that would aggravate this - mostly flexion and extension at the wrist. I got it in my left hand and I use traditional grip, so I'm thinking it might be something else (including the stretching I did to try and prevent injury).
Have any other traditional grippers gotten this on the left?

Last edited by stormyrider; 03-27-2013 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:54 AM
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glad to hear that you are getting through this.
As it turns out, I went to the hand surgeon and was just diagnosed today. I got the splint and will start using it tonight. I'm not sure what caused it, I was doing a lot of things with my hands when the symptoms started.
Question for those of you who think you may have gotten it from drumming - the doc showed me the motions that would aggravate this - mostly flexion and extension at the wrist. I got it in my left hand and I use traditional grip, so I'm thinking it might be something else (including the stretching I did to try and prevent injury).
Have any other traditional grippers gotten this on the left?
I would think traditional grippers wouldn't suffer it from playing so much since the wrist is doing a 'sideways' motion as opposed to "up and down" you do with matched grip. But you never know, I guess. The one thing my doctor wanted to stress was the stretching part. He told me to take the stretching slow and deliberate, and hold the stretch for some time. I've seen guys stretch so fast that I had wondered if maybe that was doing the damage. Perhaps in this case it could be true?
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I would think traditional grippers wouldn't suffer it from playing so much since the wrist is doing a 'sideways' motion as opposed to "up and down" you do with matched grip. But you never know, I guess. The one thing my doctor wanted to stress was the stretching part. He told me to take the stretching slow and deliberate, and hold the stretch for some time. I've seen guys stretch so fast that I had wondered if maybe that was doing the damage. Perhaps in this case it could be true?
the stretch I was doing was hyper-extending at the wrist (for hand tendons), not the same one you're doing
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Old 03-29-2013, 02:02 AM
djmemjy djmemjy is offline
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I'm sorry - I totally thought I had answered this. Lo and behold - there was nothing there!
Actually, as 8mile has said, my technique is pretty relaxed already. So like everyone else, I'm not sure my drumming is what caused this. Now that I've been wearing the braces at night and seeing my condition improve with stretching, much of the numbness that I was suffering has alleviated. It's not completely gone, and when I drive a hand may go numb, but it just seems problematic and not painful.

Let me repeat this though: I'm not suffering any pain. It was just the initial freak out about my hands going numb that brought me to the doctor. When I look at what I do just to live, my hands are the true money makers so I'm paranoid about anything going wrong. I think I may have caught this alot earlier than some people and doing what I'm doing is helping me alot.

The one thing my doctor suggested (not being a musician) was bigger sticks. And I did that and that seemed to help quite a bit too. You sound like there may be more going on than sporadic numbing. Maybe your doctor will have you do an EMG test - they hook you up and send an electrical signal through your hand to see where the signal stops. Hopefully you're not suffering anything serious!
Bo, thanks for taking the time to respond (twice)! I went to the doctor and they said I should seek out a hand specialist. My symptoms are different from CTS. I tried relaxing my hands as much as possible during practice and I feel it did make a difference the next day. I'll also start experimenting with bigger sticks.

I wish you all the best in your recovery, like I said, I've watched your vids and I'm a fan

Matt
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Old 03-29-2013, 02:46 AM
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GruntersDad GruntersDad is offline
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Default Re: Bo's carpal tunnel update

I have mentioned this before but when you practice or play where the sound of your snare doesn't have to be perfect loosen your snare head. There is very little give on a tight snare head. I am sitting here now with ice on my hands because of what I assume to be arthritis. I am at the point now where the Gretsch may have to be sold to keep me from playing since I have no will power to stop on my own. I hope your therapy works. Good luck.
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