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Tingling Sensation In Pinky

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#1 DaveM

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 11:33 AM

I'm currently dealing with tingling types of sensations in my left hand pinky after playing my English.

Note I rest the left hand side of the concertina on my leg.  Usually it is not a problem while playing, the

sensation comes after I stop or the next day.  I've also had it crop up from playing guitar as well.

 

 

I spent quite a while, just playing individual notes slowly, really concentrating, and monitoring my hands for any tension or extraneous finger movement.

Though a useful exercise in it's own right, it didn't really help with the tingling sensation. 

 

 

I now think the problem has something to do with Ulnar nerve entrapment, and

so the issue could be further up my arm(s) rather than in my fingers/hand where I feel the problem.

So far, I haven't gone to see a doctor, I haven't been playing much lately to try and recuperate, and when

I get back into it, I plan on just spending a bit of time making sure that I'm not tensing up anywhere (right now I think

the problem is that I'm tensing my upper arms against my torso).

 

Anybody else dealt with this problem in their pinkies?



#2 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 09:45 AM

As one who had some connective tissue issues with (intense) playing of the concertina you have my sympathies.  I've played english off and on for a couple of decades and anglo the past dozen years.  One ongoing challenge I've faced playing english was having arthritic thumbs.  For certain concertinas wrist straps proved a wonderful solution to distributing the playing load.

 

I also had some LH pinkie concerns (mostly playing anglo) that prompted a doctor's visit.  

 

In seeking medical advice: From my experience I'd recommend, if possible, finding a physician who either specializes or is familiar with problems musicians face.  They will be  more "atuned" to specific conditions and possible remedies.  FWIW I found the referral to and working with the physical therapists the most helpful part of seeking professional advice.

 

There seem to be a myriad of factors that influence playing an instrument comfortably.  Age related conditions, past injuries, ergometrics, posture, tension, general health, osteoarthritis,  playing technique, duration of practice, proper rest and recovery are just a few factors.

 

I think you are wise to seek some help in finding a way to play music comfortably.  One anglo teacher told me that it takes quite awhile to develop the support musculature to play concertina, and I agree.  (I wouldn't necessarily follow my path and injure yourself in the weight room trying to accelerate the building of that musculature! :o )  
Deliberate and thoughtful playing and practice with proper rest and technique should be the most helpful path.  And remember: each of us has an individual timetable.  

 

Enjoy the journey!

 

Greg



#3 lstein

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 04:08 PM

Could be ulnar, also could be higher up. You can get similar symptoms from nerve entrapment in the neck.It may not even be related to your playing. See a doctor before the tingling progresses to numbness or weakness. Don't try to figure it out yourself.

Lincoln

#4 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 01:00 PM

Hi Dave, sorry to hear about your tingling pinkies. Although my experience is not yours, here is what my doctor suggested when I was having hand pain a few years ago. 

 

Stop playing for a week to allow healing and give stressed out tissues a rest. Then start back in slow and easy. 5 min. per day, then build back up to normal levels of practice over a month.

 

Change the way I hold the instrument. I added padding to my Anglo hand straps. You might try adding straps to your English as many have done.

 

Reduce inflammation by taking over the counter anti-inflammation drugs (NSAIDs like ibuprofen, which I did for a week) and watching my diet.

Further reduce it by increasing my intake of these home remedies: turmeric, rosemary, ginger, garlic, green tea, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, sage, thyme, shiitake mushrooms... all good foods to eat anyway.

 

This worked for me. I wish you the best in your recovery.


Edited by Jody Kruskal, 19 March 2016 - 01:01 PM.


#5 DaveM

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 11:32 AM

Saw my doctor, everything she said was in line with what you all have indicated here.  Still taking it easy, and trying to watch my form/posture, we'll see how things progress over the next month or two.



#6 Don Taylor

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 04:25 PM

Lincoln mentioned the possibility of the problem originating in your neck.  

 

Give some thought about how you are holding your head while playing, maybe you are craning your neck to read the music or to look at your hands.  If you are looking at the music laid flat on a table then you might find a music stand or a book stand lets you hold your head at a better angle.



#7 Dana Johnson

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 09:29 PM

One thing that happens when one end of the concertina is fixed is that arm works isometrically building tensions that are often hard to let go. The moving arm both is constantly reversing the muscles used, but also the movement increases the circulation helping to avoid tightness in the shoulders and neck that can press on the nerve. Learning how to relax your arm any second you don't actually need to generate a note can be really helpful. You might want to change bellows direction more often to give the muscles short breaks. I developed the problem early on with over enthusiastic practice. Had to take a long break and come back slowly.
Dana

#8 Bruce McCaskey

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 01:54 PM

Curious about a follow-up report. How are things going?

#9 JimLucas

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 03:36 PM

I'm currently dealing with tingling types of sensations in my left hand pinky after playing my English.

Note I rest the left hand side of the concertina on my leg.

 

Have you experimented with holding (it may not be precisely "resting") the other end of the concertina on your leg?  Also, I would guess that since you didn't specify, you have the left end on your left leg.  Other variations could be left end on right leg or right end on left leg.  Note that any of these variations is likely to result in unconsicious changes of posture affecting both wrists and arms and also your shoulders and neck.

 

And to take it one step further:  IF you do find that such a change makes a difference, consider not just adopting another position, but switching back and forth among them.  I find that varying both position and movement -- on both large and small scale -- tend to prevent and even alleviate pains, including those that arise from other causes.



#10 DaveM

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 07:05 AM

Thanks for asking Bruce.

 

I haven't had the more severe tingling/pain in a month or more, but sometimes it still feels off.  Lately, I've had some muscle pain in my neck. Related to the nerve entrapment? I don't know, but probably indicates that I'm still doing some things un-ergonomically.

 

I've been limiting how much I've been practicing, mainly trying not to go too long in one go.  Compared to the guitar I notice my pinky more immediately on the concertina, but its hard to tell if that means it's the cause, or just the conditions under which I notice things.  The other time I tend to notice it in the morning; maybe I'm just "sleeping wrong" too.

 

I do keep the left end on my left leg.  I've made a few trials of switching around (left end on right leg, right end on right leg) but haven't stuck to any of them long enough for them to start to feel comfortable.  One thing that has been coming more naturally is to occasionally completely lift concertina up for a note or phrase; I figure this is a good way to avoid locking in tension like Dana mentioned.  I don't have the hang of just completely holding it in the air, and I don't want to try to make that transition fully now since it seems to put more pressure on the pinkies.

 

The other change was to get a proper music stand so that I can keep my head up while playing. 

 

One other thing, is I play on a stool without a back.  I've been trying monitor my back posture.  What are you guys thoughts on using a chair with a back?


Edited by DaveM, 28 May 2016 - 07:08 AM.






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