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Thread: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

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    Default ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Within the last couple of months I developed what I believe to be a ganglion cyst on my left wrist. This followed a couple of months after my changing strings to a type that prompted me to use greater pressure with the fingers of my left hand. (I used to use Thomastiks..but economic times have driven me to use DRs now.) I think the problem isn't really with the strings ...rather it is with me and I need to psychologically overcome the urge to press down so hard on the strings, they don't really require that much pressure. I need to practice being much more relaxed with my left hand anyhow.

    But I wonder how common a problem this is. Have other mandolinists also found themselves developing ganglion cysts...and what have they done about it if they have?

    Also, a warning to others to look after their carpal tunnels by not stressing their wrists through pressing down hard on strings.
    Pete D.S.

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    Registered User Santiago's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Be sure to have a doctor check those out.
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    I've had quite a few ganglion cysts come and go over the years, mostly in my youth when I was too strong for my own good. A doctor once told me that they are sometimes caused by trauma to a joint. Only one gave me trouble because it was so large that it was restricting blood flow and was pressing on a nerve. I had an appointment for surgery for that one, (I called the doctor and said I had a ganglion cyst and I thought it should be removed. I went to an appointment where the doctor said "You have a ganglion cyst and I think it should be removed" and charged me $XXX) but it went away before the surgery, so I dodged that bullet. I've had one in a finger and probably two to three in each wrist, and all have gone away eventually.
    Obviously, I don't play a doctor on TV, but I suspect it would be hard to pin the cause of yours down to playing mandolin, and I can't say that it will go away, but it might... mine all did.

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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Ganglion cysts used to be called Bible cysts because people would hit them with heavy books to make them disappear. A search indicates that there is some merit to this approach. There are even several Youtube videos http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...t%2C+book&aq=f demonstrating or discussing the procedure. I'm not recommending this approach. I once had what the doctor thought was a ganglion cyst on my left pinkie near the knuckle joint. It bothered me when I played and it was surgically removed. It turned out it was a benign tumor, so it's just as well I didn't hit it with a book.

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    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    My friends mom used to do this. That is whack them with a bible that is. I have seen her do it and it does work.

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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    I get a ganglian cyst on the 'topside' of my wrist. It comes and goes. Thankfully it goes right before it starts to get annoying. My doctor advised (years ago) to do nothing about it unless it becomes unbearable. He says that they will come and go so often that it's usually not worth it to get the surgery unless it become debilitating (but I guess that can be said about everything!)
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    I had a ganglion, but I don't think it was caused by mandolin playing. It wasn't a problem. but I found it unsightly so wanted to get rid of it if I could. I went to my doctor, and got referred to the hospital. The consultant drained it, which was easy, quick and painless, but it refilled within a couple of weeks. I went back and (after a wait of around 6 or 9 months) had an operation to have it removed. That was about three years ago, and it hasn't come back so far, touchwood! The operation left a small scar, around one centimetre long, but I prefer that to the ganglion!

    Fliss

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    Registered User Bob DeVellis's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    I'm not recommending anything here. But I had one, whacked it with a book, and it went away. I had a co-worker who developed one and I shared my story with her. She asked me to whack it with a book and I said, "no way." She did it herself and it went away. I've heard, however, that this doesn't always work and could lead to problems.
    Bob DeVellis

  9. #9

    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    I had one several years ago. I went to my reg doc who referred me to a specialist. He recomended surgery & i asked him " Will i still be able to play mandolin? " & he said " maybe , maybe not" so i told him i'd think about it & never went back. It went away about 2 weeks later. It was at the base of my middle finger. It never really bothered my mando playin much but did affect my lectric gitar playin. When i did certain bends, something in there would pop &i'd just go to my knees onstage it hurt so bad. I was lucky i guess cuz it just went away.

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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Tax View Post
    Ganglion cysts used to be called Bible cysts because people would hit them with heavy books to make them disappear. A search indicates that there is some merit to this approach. There are even several Youtube videos http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...t%2C+book&aq=f demonstrating or discussing the procedure. I'm not recommending this approach. I once had what the doctor thought was a ganglion cyst on my left pinkie near the knuckle joint. It bothered me when I played and it was surgically removed. It turned out it was a benign tumor, so it's just as well I didn't hit it with a book.
    This is correct. All a doctor will do is hit it with a rubber hammer. I had one many years ago, cause unknown, on the underside of my wrist. It was as big as a pingpong ball. My wife told me to drink a shot and smash it against the wall as hard as I could. I did it, the pain was pretty intense at the moment of impact, but the cyst broke up immediately and just dissolved back into the body. It's a bunch of nerves that get all knotted up.

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    Registered User desaljs's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    A ganglion cyst is a buldge of the tendon sheath, that fills with fluid. Breaking them with a book can work. They are notorious for coming back, after breaking them, aspirating them, or surgical "excision". If they do not bother you, leaving them alone is a good option.

    Jim D
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    Registered User jim_n_virginia's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Tax View Post
    Ganglion cysts used to be called Bible cysts because people would hit them with heavy books to make them disappear. .
    oh man that funny because that's exactly what my doctor did to a cyst that came on my wrist about 25 years ago! LOL! He had me lay my arm across a padded table and turned around with a phone book and I was just wondering what the heck he was doing with that book and then he came down and popped my wrist with that book and no more cyst! Hurt like the you know what and he never knew how close he came to getting popped back but the cyst was gone and never came back again.

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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Don't be too dismissive of these "ganglion cysts". There is a rare malignant condition known as epithelioid sarcoma which can closely mimic ganglion cysts. When it occurs, it is usually in younger men, and frequently involves the hand or wrist. I only mention this because a musician friend had this lesion, and fortunately had the appropriate and curative surgery (many years ago). If you are concerned , ask to see a hand surgeon.

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    Registered User CharlieKnuth's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Recently went through surgery for a ganglion cyst in my left pinky. It sometimes hurt when I played, especially the octave mandolin. Went to a hand specialist who said I needed to have surgery, so I did. I wish I had asked the question of what would happen if I did nothing about it - maybe would still have opted for surgery, who knows. Doctor said I would be fine, but couldn't play for over a month. Surgery was in November and the incision site still gives me problems from time to time. Maybe I should have taken a bible to the finger.

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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    I was book whacked with a Bible for mouthing off once. It was more embarrasing than painfull, but it cured the problem.
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Don't have one yet, but would consider it a badge of achievement if I did. Would go along with my blisters and be a sign that I am a really intense mando player.

  17. #17

    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Piper, trust me, you don't want one.

  18. #18

    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Well, maybe not. But I do know a lady who suffered a broken finger on her left hand when she was young. It healed a bit crooked and wow can she do the stretch on the finger board to make those difficult chords. Also, let's not forget those savants who get struck by lightening or get hit on the head and can play music without practicing. Not sure what a ganglion might do for me.

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    Registered User Chris Biorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    I whacked one on my wife's wrist a few years ago with a financial derivatives textbook. I thought I'd never need that book again, but kept it anyways. Glad I did.
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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piper View Post
    ...let's not forget those savants who get struck by lightening or get hit on the head and can play music without practicing...
    At least, let's not forget that they do not exist.

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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Going in to have a ganglionic cyst removed from my right wrist on Wednesday. Glad to read others have survived the ordeal! How long until you were back to driving/out of the cast/got full movement back?
    "...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

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    Default Re: ganglion cysts caused by too much left hand pressure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkmando View Post
    Have other mandolinists also found themselves developing ganglion cysts...and what have they done about it if they have?
    otherwise known as a bible cyst... just find a volunteer and a big thick heavy bible and while your volunteer raises the book high over their head you look away and THWACK!!!! No more ganglion cyst easy peasy!

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