So I went to the doctors yesterday because I've started to devolop pain in my fretting hand pinky that travels down to my elbow. They asked me what I've been doing to help it and i told them (not playing my bass, stretches, taking ibuprofen, using ice/heat packs etc.) And they said there wasn't much they could do considering I'm doing everything they would hsve recommended. They gave me a splint and sent me on my way.

This is incredibly frustrating for me considering I've been having these pains since this past July and even with everything I've been doing its not getting any better. I even went to someonr who specialized in this kind of thing and I walked out more frustrated than before.

Anyone who has had tendonitis from playing please give me some advice. At this point I'm completely lost on what to do.
First of all, most of us have been there to one degree or another, so we offer our collective Bass Forum commiseration with your painful situation.

All right, let's get down to business.  Rule number one in this situation: Thou shalt NOT try to play through the pain!  Every high school gym teacher or football coach who ever told you to just "play through the pain" was a total moron.  Pain is your body's way of telling your brain, "Hey, asshole!  There's something wrong!  Stop doing that!"  You must listen, or you will be very sorry for a long time!

A lengthy healing period with such an injury is normal.  This is because as humans (or humanoids, as I have begun to wonder about some of the people who haunt TalkBass), we are constantly using our hands and arms.  As long as we are awake, they are in constant motion and use.  This makes any muscle or nerve-related injury one that takes seemingly forever to heal.  It sucks, but that is just the way of it.  Your lengthy convalescence is completely normal.  Unless you plan to remain completely immobile from the shoulders down, you just have to live with it.

I don't know what your doctor(s) told you, and I am not a doctor, but having suffered a plethora of injuries in my lifetime, your injury sounds a lot more like a pinched nerve than tendonitis.  Pinched nerves are a royal bitch, and they take quite a while to heal.  Soaking your hand in Epsom Salts might help, but that's about it.  Tendonitis can sometimes be made easier to live with through the judicious (read: under a doctor's care) use of muscle relaxants.  See if that is an option for you.

Your injury - be it tendonitis or a pinched nerve - is the result of your using your hands and fingers in ways that are relatively new to you, even if you have been playing for years.  Most people don't do anything that involves the dexterity of playing a fretted instrument from birth, so it takes a good long time to get used to it.  Some people fare better than do others, but we all have to get used to using our hands and fingers in such complicated and demanding ways.

I wish I could give you some magic cure, but the best thing to do is back off of the playing and let your body heal.  The last thing you want to do with an injury like that is make it worse.  I pinched a nerve in my hand years ago that rendered it almost useless.  For weeks, I could not hold a can of soda without dropping it.  You don't want to find yourself in that situation.

Hang in there.  This too shall pass.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley