Possibility of Hand Surgery... oh.no.


SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

I have a nerve study tomorrow and will be talking to my specialist afterwards about the possbility of surgery. He thinks I may have a combo of carpal tunnel and cubital (ulnar/elbow) tunnel syndromes in my fretting hand. And it looks like it's past time for conservtive treatments. I had the surger on my right/strumming hand in 2008 but that was long before I was playing guitar.

I keep trying to tell myself that it will be worth it in the long run if it's successful but I'm really bummed out about having to take so long of a break from playing. I will still be a little sponge and watch lessons like crazy and starting writing my own songs as well though.

Has anyone played after carpal tunnel sugery in either hand? I'd love to hear anyone's experience even though I completely understand that everyone's situation is differnt.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 1
matonanjin2
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Joined: 08/11/17
Posts: 357

Susan,

Best of luck to you. It will be a bummer to not play for a while but I'm sure that it will be for the best long term. I haven't had carpal tunnel surgery. But have had 3 spinal fusions and wasn't limited from playing but had a restriction on the weight I could lift for a month after surgery. So no lifting electric guitars especially Les Paul's!!! So when I felt like it I played acoustic and then bought a really light hollowbody.

You will be able to use your time productively. You've already thought about watching lessons and writing songs. Use the time to study theory. I wish I had done more of this. Listen to a lot of songs that you will want to learn when you are back to playing. One of my jam buddies gave me an ipad full of blues songs.

We'll all be thinking about you.


[u]Guitars:[/u] 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender Strat American Standard, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica, Martin M-36, Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic[br][u]Amps:[/u] Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10, Line 6 POD 500X, Quilter Microblock 45

# 2
snojones
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Joined: 04/17/13
Posts: 675

Susan,

You are clearly motivated. That is the biggest step to playing guitar. I suspect you will soon be back at it.

But as someone who has had to deal with a body that complains about too much guitar playing, I can empathise. I have bilatteral eppicondolitis and arthritis in my left wrist and hand, I had to give up guitar for many years as a result of overuse and misuse of my arms and hands. Your learning process sounds very similar to my experience.

I struggled with this until I got PT and then it was a lot of work to change my bad habits. First I changed the way I play guitar according to what the PT said. However, the most elusive part of my return to playing, was learning when to put my ax down. I now try to limit my playing to 45 minutes to an hour per day. I also work on paying attention to what my body is saying. Sometimes that means I don't play as frequently, or as long as I want. This is a kind of paradoxical irony since I am having to apply reverse disipline and put the guitar down when my body says so. Not my strong suit, it doesn't come easy, but it has allowed me to return to playing the instrument I love.

The up side is that I am, once again making steady progress. The down side is that the progress is not as fast, and in many cases as fun, as playing for hours. Playing for hours is how I taught myself to play guitar. It is where I wrote music. It is a constant temptation to return to my old Jahadi approach. But, I have come to realize that I am not the one who gets to make those decisions. Now I listen to my body and do what it says. I got there by listening to my PT. Slow and steady, seems to be winning this race for me.


Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 3
jsn.hgl
Registered User
Joined: 04/28/18
Posts: 74

Best of luck with the surgery. I have had trigger release surgery on my fretting hand middle finger and have a permanently damaged fretting index finger (with limited function) so can relate to difficulties with that hand.


# 4
SusanMW
Registered User
Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Thank you so much, all. It's nice to know I'm not alone in the pain department.

Yes, I am very motivated so I'm looking forward to soaking in a lot of music theory for both the guitar and ukulele. It's funny, ever since I've been learning uke music theory...it's helping me understand it for the guitar too. So I'll be reading lots of books and watching videos.

There's a chance this could be complicated by another auto immune disease that they are looking into also.

I am terrible at practicing and playing for way too long without breaks. I just get so into it! So,that has not helped. But if surgery is required, I will have it becaue the pain is so serious now...ice pick pains throughout my hand, wrist, palm, finger digits, and even shoots up to my elbow. It is causing problems with doing actual chores and anything non-guitar and uke playing. Even holding a phone can cause tons of pain sometimes.

I will definitely have to limit my playing from now on. I do have a very good PT team that see's me somewhat often for various pains and problems. So I'll know I'll be in good hands there.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 5
jsn.hgl
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Joined: 04/28/18
Posts: 74

You've got this!


# 6
snojones
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Joined: 04/17/13
Posts: 675

Maybe a good time to work on singing?....


Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 7
SusanMW
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Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Ah, that's a great idea, sno! Might have to sign up for 30 Day Singer...

Edited to Add: Done! All signed up for a full year of 30 Day Singer... :D


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 8
SusanMW
Registered User
Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

My hand will live to see another day, for now. The nerve test was normal which is great but all the physical tests and signs point to carpal tunnel, especially in my thumb area which feels dislocated at times. According to dr, the carpal tunnel is probably only obvious via MRI so I'm working on getting that and have a PT assessment next week and rheumatologist checking things out in a couple weeks in case it's another auto immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis.

So for now, dr's orders are to not play when it's really having a bad day, but otherwise I can continue to play as long as I vastly cut down the amount of time spent playing. I can do that.. :) The ukulele will probably get more time since it's much better on my hands than the guitar.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 9
matonanjin2
Registered User
Joined: 08/11/17
Posts: 357

Susan, thank you for updating us. Please continue to do so.


[u]Guitars:[/u] 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender Strat American Standard, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica, Martin M-36, Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic[br][u]Amps:[/u] Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10, Line 6 POD 500X, Quilter Microblock 45

# 10
SusanMW
Registered User
Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

I have started physical therapy. Even though I will likely need surgery, getting some PT in beforehand will help improve the post surgery outcome. I need to immediately stop playing, wear a brace day and night, and really make sure I don't lift, twist, pinch, etc with that hand. It feels like...awful. They are starting me off very slowly with just tiny exercises.

So I'm starting my songwriting life... :) I think I can generate music in something like Muse Score... so I can work on my melody, etc without actually physically playing... And I'll be doing singing lessons via 30 Day Singer.

I'm also adopting a cat tomorrow, so that will be something new to keep me company and lift my spirits. Maybe I'll write a song about him and sing to him...ha!


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 11
JeffS65
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Joined: 10/07/08
Posts: 1,599
Originally Posted by: SusanMW

I have started physical therapy. Even though I will likely need surgery, getting some PT in beforehand will help improve the post surgery outcome. I need to immediately stop playing, wear a brace day and night, and really make sure I don't lift, twist, pinch, etc with that hand. It feels like...awful. They are starting me off very slowly with just tiny exercises.

So I'm starting my songwriting life... :) I think I can generate music in something like Muse Score... so I can work on my melody, etc without actually physically playing... And I'll be doing singing lessons via 30 Day Singer.

I'm also adopting a cat tomorrow, so that will be something new to keep me company and lift my spirits. Maybe I'll write a song about him and sing to him...ha!

Though I didn't need surgery, I've had some wrist and index finger issues that needed a wrist brace so to an extent, I get a little of that deal. I didn't play for a few months. But, you're getting it done and that's important.

And a cat. Nothin' wrong with that!

Good luck!


# 12