Hand tingling and numbness/ Posture

maxmagnus

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I’ve been experiencing tingling in my fingers at night, for the past several months. The discomfort sometimes grew to the point where my hand was partially numb. Exams show the tit could be a consequence of a cervical problem, pinching the ulnar nerve. I’m treating this without surgery for now, symptoms have almost disappeared, however the practice of the guitar is clearly a concern. My question is, has anyone experienced and solved this type of problems without surgery and do you have any advice regarding body posture or the type of guitar (weight, contour ..)?

For exemple, I am thinking about changing the posture, moving the guitar from the right leg, with the neck almost parallel to the ground, towards a more angled position, reduce left wrist extension like Beato is doing here

thanks
 

scrapyardblue

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You said hand, not hands. Could it be cell-phone related? I do most of my computering these days on my cellphone, obviously always holding with my non-typing (pecking) hand. Slight numbness in that hand has me researching RFR (radio frequency radiation). Can't say that's a cause of any numbness, but it is a thing
 

arlum

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I have a similar issue and found the cause to be the way I sit at my computer workstation on the job, the way I lean on my elbow while reading at a desk or even reading in bed lying on my side again using my elbow for support. My Dr. said that I was crushing the nerve that runs from my elbow to my hand. As I've aged I've lost a lot of muscle and fat in my arms and apparently this leaves the nerve exposed to possible damage. Your problem may be totally unrelated but that's what I found out in my case. I've gotten rid of the numbness completely just by adjusting the way I sit at work and when I'm reading. Now if I could just get rid of the hand shakes.
 

SRHmusic

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That pinched nerve could cause a lot of issues, perhaps tingling similar to sciatica in the legs? Good luck with it and don't over work/over practice, and be sure to warm up with slow stretching first.

The body is probably more naturally positioned with the classical approach. Note the traditional way of raising the left leg with a foot stool can cause back issues. There are other ways now to prop up the guitar with small stands ir blocks that let you keep both legs horizontal. Or use a strap.

One important part of guitar posture is the wrist angles. Classical positioning helps. Hold the guitar with the headstock about level with the eyes or just below. Let your left (fretting) arm hang relaxed at your side. The raise it to the guitar neck without changing the wrist angle, just moving the arm at the shoulder and elbow. Look at your wrist. It should have a very slight bend to it. The right (picking) hand wrist should be similar. (Beato might touch on that, didn't watch.)
 

archetype

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Does...
I’m treating this without surgery for now,
...mean you've seen a clinical professional and are following his/her directions?

If not, see a pro, don't guess about the origin(s) of the issue, and don't assume you can figure this out on your own. These issues can be debilitating, sometimes degenerative.

I have a bit of numbness and tingling in my left arm and hand when I'm underslept or overcaffeinated. It's leftover deficit from a couple of strokes years ago. I'm lucky, considering what happened.
 

Ricky D.

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Ok, I’ll ask.

Why not check with the doctor who diagnosed the problem? Sounds like he knows what’s happening and gave you good advice.

Don’t trifle with it. This is an important life activity and you need to last a long time.

Or just try that new position and see what happens next. At worst, probably would not do permanent harm. I guess.
 

scrapyardblue

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Ok, I’ll ask.

Why not check with the doctor who diagnosed the problem? Sounds like he knows what’s happening and gave you good advice.

Don’t trifle with it. This is an important life activity and you need to last a long time.

Or just try that new position and see what happens next. At worst, probably would not do permanent harm. I guess.
Always the correct advice is to check with your doctor. That said, there are two things about this issue that I'm sure of:
a) I know next to nothing about the subject, and
b) there probably are only a handful of doctors on planet Earth who would even consider cell-phone radiation as a possible cause.

Sometimes a harmless recommendation such as yours (switching positions) or what I might suggest (awareness of cell phone positioning) might be just what the doctor doesn't order.
 

maxmagnus

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thank you all for your messages. Let me reassure you all that I've seen several doctors/specialists, I still do, the diagnosis is still uncertain and I don't want you to bore you with the details. However, none of the doctors/specialists that I've seen so far told me I should stop playing, but I strongly suspect that playing is a factor (one among others, like holding the phone, leaning on the elbow, using a mouse ..).
maybe I should rephrase my question like this, what kind of posture puts less strain on the wrist, elbow (strumming hand)? is this a good reason to buy a new guitar :) ?
 

maxmagnus

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That pinched nerve could cause a lot of issues, perhaps tingling similar to sciatica in the legs? Good luck with it and don't over work/over practice, and be sure to warm up with slow stretching first.

The body is probably more naturally positioned with the classical approach. Note the traditional way of raising the left leg with a foot stool can cause back issues. There are other ways now to prop up the guitar with small stands ir blocks that let you keep both legs horizontal. Or use a strap.

One important part of guitar posture is the wrist angles. Classical positioning helps. Hold the guitar with the headstock about level with the eyes or just below. Let your left (fretting) arm hang relaxed at your side. The raise it to the guitar neck without changing the wrist angle, just moving the arm at the shoulder and elbow. Look at your wrist. It should have a very slight bend to it. The right (picking) hand wrist should be similar. (Beato might touch on that, didn't watch.)
thanks, that's exactly what I was thinking to do.
Beato doesn't talk about this at all, I just posted it as an exemple of the posture I had in mind
 

teletail

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I practice using the classical guitar posture. It’s helped a lot of issues.

E22BDB0A-F765-4FE5-9578-9355F48FC458.jpeg
 

Lawdawg

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I had a similar issue about 15 years ago (numbness from my fingers, hand and up my arm) and it was due to a slightly degenerative disc. I was able to address the problem through physical therapy and correcting poor posture habits I developed over the years. I also spent some time figuring out the correct neck angle for sleeping since I sleep on my side.

Good luck -- it's no fun dealing with those issues.
 

Tele-beeb

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Some years back I had a habit of falling asleep sitting partially up in bed.
My index finger developed a side-to-side twitch. I finally narrowed it down 100% to the position I was reclining in bed (pinching or pressuring something near the tailbone.)
 

dougstrum

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So many ways we can damage
our bodies 🙁
When I was 20, I broke my neck and it took 5-6 yrs before my right hand and arm stopped going numb~that was 50 yrs ago now🤔

This past winter while splitting wood I
did some kind of nerve thing to inside of right thumb. It felt like hitting your funny bone, just grabbing anything with my right hand set it off. That is just going away in the last week or two.

It always takes time to heal. PT/OT can probably give you exercises and things to that will help alleviate your trouble~
 

dented

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I had this exact problem. I started experiencing numbness and tingling in my right thumb and fore finger. Then the area of numbness grew to more of my hand. I thought it was carpal tunnel. But through some trial and error of exercising I found that if I put my chin down to my chest and held it there a few minutes the numbness and tingling went away. Therefore by stretching my cervical spine I was relieving pressure for a small moment to get a little relief until it returned.
I went to my PCP and she referred me to Neurology. I went to the Neurology doctor and they explained about pinched nerves in the cervical spine. They tested my hand elbow arm involved to rule out CTS. They explained the surgery involved, the dangers, the percentage of success and the 6 months of recovery in a neck brace. They gave me the packet to schedule the surgery. Eff that, they go through the front and move lots of stuff out of the way to get all the way back to the spine. The few people I talked to said don't do it including one nurse I knew that had it done and the surgery didn't work.
So I went to an alternative neurologist named Mozzafar and he used acupuncture.
As he was putting the needles in the neck from behind he hit one that gave me a small electric buzz sensation. At that very moment the numbness and tingling went away. It has never returned and that was about 7 years ago.
Please study up. Look at all the options and best wishes.
 

Vocalion

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Hopefully a simple change to your routine will help. Shortly after the COVID-19 shutdown, I created a makeshift workstation with a new office chair. I was experiencing symptoms similar to yours. To my delight, the symptoms went away while I was on vacation, so I was able to tie it back to my desk and chair. As it turns out, the way I rested my arms on the armrests of my new chair was the problem. As the armrests were not adjustable, I just went with an armless chair and no longer have the problem. I would encourage you to look for any changes you might have made just prior to the onset of your symptoms. Good luck!
 

oldunc

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That pinched nerve could cause a lot of issues, perhaps tingling similar to sciatica in the legs? Good luck with it and don't over work/over practice, and be sure to warm up with slow stretching first.

The body is probably more naturally positioned with the classical approach. Note the traditional way of raising the left leg with a foot stool can cause back issues. There are other ways now to prop up the guitar with small stands ir blocks that let you keep both legs horizontal. Or use a strap.

One important part of guitar posture is the wrist angles. Classical positioning helps. Hold the guitar with the headstock about level with the eyes or just below. Let your left (fretting) arm hang relaxed at your side. The raise it to the guitar neck without changing the wrist angle, just moving the arm at the shoulder and elbow. Look at your wrist. It should have a very slight bend to it. The right (picking) hand wrist should be similar. (Beato might touch on that, didn't watch.)
I've found the classical position to be the best all in all, though I've had to largely abandon it due to shoulder issues, but it doesn't translate exactly- the support point for the right arm is much different on an electric, obviously, but more important with the neck of an electric the left hand is quite a bit farther out, which creates problems with the wrist angle. No doubt this can be worked out, but it may seem pretty uncomfortable for a while.
 

NoTeleBob

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Have they ruled out Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?

Either way, I'd suggest sitting on a stool or in a guitar chair when playing. Back straight. Guitar position on the other knee. A different guitar may help.

A Tele is good for limited upper body use while playing; if you're playing a Strat... they use a little forearm pressure to keep in place. An SG will stretch your arm left and alter muscle position without changing knees (along with a couple other Gibson models that have a different bout to neck alignment).A LP doesn't need any upper body use at all - it weighs so much that it sits where it sits, for better or worse, it's not moving.

Also, exercise may help, by allowing different muscles to take more of the load. A hand exerciser, forearm exerciser, or even use of a curl bar to develop your upper body may help - Dr. permitting, of course.

Last though is that you can stand. There's a lot of neck variety position when standing. Note that where the guitar hangs when you stand changes - bout no longer matters. The length of the upper horn moves the guitar on the strap. A short horn moves the guitar to the left (e.g. Tele) or a long horn to the right (e.g. Strat). But you can vary neck position up or down quite a bit, which is another advantage to standing.
 

maxmagnus

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Have they ruled out Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?

Either way, I'd suggest sitting on a stool or in a guitar chair when playing. Back straight. Guitar position on the other knee. A different guitar may help.

A Tele is good for limited upper body use while playing; if you're playing a Strat... they use a little forearm pressure to keep in place. An SG will stretch your arm left and alter muscle position without changing knees (along with a couple other Gibson models that have a different bout to neck alignment).A LP doesn't need any upper body use at all - it weighs so much that it sits where it sits, for better or worse, it's not moving.

Also, exercise may help, by allowing different muscles to take more of the load. A hand exerciser, forearm exerciser, or even use of a curl bar to develop your upper body may help - Dr. permitting, of course.

Last though is that you can stand. There's a lot of neck variety position when standing. Note that where the guitar hangs when you stand changes - bout no longer matters. The length of the upper horn moves the guitar on the strap. A short horn moves the guitar to the left (e.g. Tele) or a long horn to the right (e.g. Strat). But you can vary neck position up or down quite a bit, which is another advantage to standing.
It's almost surely not CTS, since the fingers affected are the pinky and the ring finger. I play a strat now, I thought about trying a different guitar, a smaller scale, lighter one, like the LP DC junior in the orignal post, but I never considered that a heavier guitar might be beneficial, thanks for the suggestion.
 




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