View Full Version : pain in thumb joint

Feb-12-2004, 9:38pm
I've developed a pretty bad strain in the joint in my thumb right where it meets the hand from a combination of mandolin playing and a minor injury. I've pretty much had to stop playing entirely in hopes it will get better, but its been 2 months now and there doesn't seem to be much improvement. I think I'm way too young to be getting arthritis. Has anyone else experienced this?

John Flynn
Feb-12-2004, 9:48pm
Sure. Aging + A Lot of Mando Playing = Joint Pain, Sooner or Later.

The Big 3, IMHO:

1. Go to a doc, get it checked out to make sure it's nothing serious. I probably isn't but you want to be sure.

2. Do the stretches on musicianshealth.com every time before you play and warm up slowly, easy stuff first.

3. Focus on your hand tension and lighten it up. It is easy to use way too much. I not only causes strains, but it slows down your playing.

I am not a doctor, but sometimes I play one on the Cafe'! #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

John Rosett
Feb-12-2004, 9:59pm
i had pain in my thumb joints from playing about ten years ago. i went to the doctor and was diagnosed with tendonitis. for three months i went to the doctor and had an electronic muscle stimulator on my thumbs while they were packed in ice. it took about 45 minutes each time. i'm happy to say it worked very well, and i only have the slightest discomfort now, and i play alot.
if you go to the doctor and they proscribe a treatment like this, ask if you can do it at home. a tens unit (electronic muscle stimulator) can be bought for about $75.
i hope this helps. good luck, john

Feb-13-2004, 3:48am

Is it the left hand experiencing the pain?

Is the pain in the joint of bone to bone, or in the fleshy mass of muscle between the lower thumb and the hand?

Lightening up on pressure, and having a good set up on your instrument are my first suggestions. Depending on the nature of your problem, I may have others.

I experienced severe pain in the muscles associated with my thumb when I first began playing. I conquered the pain through improvement of technique, strenthening my hand, and regular stretching and massage. Now, there is not a trace that remains.


Feb-13-2004, 12:08pm
Thanks for the suggestions; yes it is in my left hand, and its not a muscular problem, likely bone-on-bone. I think I had my action set too high and sometimes during playing when pain began to occur, I didn't stop and rest or stretch my hand, which I probably should have done. It's wierd, though, while I've only been playing mando for ~2 years, I've played guitar for about 7 with no problems.


Feb-13-2004, 12:10pm
Oh yeah, one more thing, what kind of doctor would specialize in treating this type of thing?

John Flynn
Feb-13-2004, 1:32pm
I played guitar for 20 years with no problems. But we all get older and the mando puts greater strains on the hand, IHMO. The proper doctor is an orthopedic hand specialist. Coincidentally, I am going to see mine this afternoon! What I have learned dealing with hand problems is that this is one of those medical areas that general docs do not do well. They can miss things and make erroneous assumptions that could result in permanent damage to to your hand function if not treated properly.

John Rosett
Feb-13-2004, 2:02pm
and,(in my opinion) avoid doctors who suggest surgery. i've known alot of musicians over the years who developed hand problems, and not one of them who had surgery got any relief. usually they got more problems.
again, just my opinion. john

Salty Dog
Feb-15-2004, 4:40pm
Also keep in mind that almost everyone who discovers they have arthritis thinks they are too young for it. #I have arthritis in that same joint on my right hand and was sent to an arthritis specialist who gave me a cortisone shot. #It was like a new hand for 6 months and then it wore off. #The second shot lasted a month and then my PCP put me on VIOXX (anti-inflammatory) and the pain is tolerable even though I still have bad days. #They will undoubtedly take an X-ray and then proceed from there. #You might also get the old "Hee-Haw (Doc it hurts when I do this - then stop doing it)", to which I told my PCP in terms that could not be misunderstood that not playing the mandolin was not a choice.

John Rosett
Feb-16-2004, 9:49pm
right on, salty dog. in light of my recent dealings with the medical profession, i think that you really have to stand up for youself.
i mean no insult to doctors at all, but only the injured party knows what's really going on. i'm on the(hopefully) tail end of a 3 month illness that has been pretty scary. i've been to 5 doctors and spent about $6000. i finally told the doc that i didn't think he was listening to me. they sent me for a different test, and found out what was wrong. it turns out that i don't have a fatal lung desease, just a really bad throat infection.
it's your body and your music. don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and question everybody and everything. i think that medical people want very much to help, and care very much, but it can sometimes be difficult to make people understand your physical pain.
good luck-john

Feb-16-2004, 10:15pm
Hey ya'll
Been following this the past few day's...so I thought i'd chime in!
good topic especially if you've got the hand problem...

abram..it doesn't sound like you think/feel like it's arthritic?

Feb-16-2004, 10:37pm
Hey ya'll
Been following this the past few day's...so I thought i'd chime in!
good topic especially if you've got the hand problem...

abram..it doesn't sound like you think/feel like it's arthritic?

I've had a prblem with my right hand for a couple of years...it's in the Y jouint between the thumb and first finger..I think mines a nerve innermingled with a muscle..or a kunuter valve ?...but if I trace it,the dang thing goes all the way to the back of my neck...
It's a pain in the dang HAND!!...needless...NO true exercise!..
NO Doctor/hand center...so I don't know ?.....I've thought about a chiropractor?..just don't know?

I would think(don't know)..that a good physical exercise ,can only
help...hand warm ups,some hand weights is about all i've done, but hasn,t helped....

basically I need to get off my ars and have it checked out!

Our buy a pick-guard!



Feb-16-2004, 10:52pm
Been waiting to do that..sorry!
get fancy fingers sometimes....!