#1
Ok, first up I will say sorry if I have posted in the wrong section, and if it can be moved to the correct section by a mod, cheers, much appreciated.

Well, I'll start my short story by saying that before I play, I stretch and warm up and make sure that every thing is moving nicely before I get too carried away. By no means am I a good guitarist, if anything I am just a hack who by the power of sheer odds manages to land the correct chord at the correct time...

About 6 or so months ago I noticed that my pinky and ring finger were numb, not all the time but very regularly (at that stage) however as time has gone by, they are numb nearly 24/7, with minor pain in the fore arm, accentuated maybe once or twice a month by a complete loss of strength in the left hand to even bend a string up one note. Now I have had a look around the net and the general consensus is that it appears to be an ulnal nerve entrapment (UNE) which best suits my condition. I have seen a GP and he was totally dismissive. Ive also taken into account that I have been in pest control since I was 12 years old (now 36) and that the insecticides have had a bit of a ravage of my system... On most sites that talk about UNE they describe 4 stages, of which I correspond to the third stage, the 4th being atrophy of the muscles in the hand and forearm and the likelyhood of that recovering is minimal.

Can this be associated to playing guitar while seated? Is there any of you who have been in this situation, and if so, what was the remedy and were you able to play guitar again in your normal hand or did you have to swap sides ie become a lefty and learn from the begining?
Last edited by dazza027 at Jun 7, 2014,
#2
It could be a repetitive injury such as carpal tunnel, but definitely not the sort of thing us guitar geeks are qualified to diagnose. You really need to see a doctor about it. If your doctor is dismissive find another.

I am currently dealing with some nerve issues that has my right hand nearly useless... can't straighten my fingers at all... they just hang there, very little strength, and poor coordination. The doctors think it will require back surgery, so these things can be serious.
Last edited by stormin1155 at Jun 7, 2014,
#3
I did not have the condition you seem to have, but somewhat similar. I had developed pain while playing in my left fretting hand, wrist and forearm. Bending my wrist seemed to cause the issue. It would become very aggravated each time I sat down to play, and at night I had issues sleeping on my left side because my wrist and hand would go numb with pain and wake me up. I went to my doctor and he diagnosed me with early carpal tunnel syndrome. He gave me a wrist brace to sleep in at night so I wouldn't bend my wrist. He also recommended shorter playing sessions for awhile to see if it would get better itself, and if it continued to get worse I would need surgery.

I play mostly sitting down. I had been playing daily on an Ibanez 1570 with a skinny neck for about a month when I began developing the issues. After doing some research I found others who developed my same problems and they attributed the problem to the skinny neck. So I put down the Ibby and played my les Paul for the next 6 months and slept in the brace during that time. Today I have no signs of the carpal tunnel. I don't know for sure the skinny neck was the root of my issues, but I no longer play skinny necks.

I don't know if any of this will help, but good luck. I would also find another physician that is more concerned with your issues. Also keep your head up!
#4
Yeah Starcounter I have both skinny neck and fatter necked guitars, no difference.
#5
You may need to have surgery on that arm.
Request a specialist if you have an HMO.
#6
pinky and ring finger numbness mean an ulnar nerve problem. if you're having pains in your forearm, a likely reason would be (as you suggested) an ulnar nerve compression most probably at the level of the elbow (commonest place where it's compressed). Does your elbow feel stiff or painful at all? Do you often rest on your elbow or did you damage your elbow in any way recently? I'm not a doctor (well soon to be in 2 weeks hopefully) and thats just my opinion...i'd definitely recommend seeing a specialist about this however, not just your GP. it's most probably something reversible so don't worry too much about it
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#7
If I were you I'd see a specialist, go back to you GP and demand he do further testing or recommend someone that will. You could risk never being able to play again, not worth it IMO.
#8
Thanks to all of you who replied. Some great suggestions there and I think Im going to be getting a new GP as well. Its a bit luck of the draw as far as the surgery I go to, some days you get the good ones some days you get the band aid boys who hand out antibiotics for headaches and sprained ankles... I'll just add the forearm pain Im refering to is on the lower side (palm) of the arm and not the upper, and when I say pain I mean a reasonably constant ache. @KnightOfCyd The elbow isn't stiff, unless Ive leant on in for too long at least, most times the elbow is fine. And as far as leaning on it, yes, I used to have a low slung computer desk (one of those ones on wheels which had the wheels taken off and wa therefore 4 inchs too low) which I did lean on a fair bit to be comfortable. This may have played a part. Good luck with the doctorate! @stormin1155 i hope you can get your arm sorted out as well mate, its a pain in the arse I can tell you just from my experience.