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Thread: Left hand numb?

  1. #1

    Default Left hand numb?

    Iíve been playing mandolin for about 3 years now. For the past six months, Iíve started to feel some numbness in my left hand (usually my first two or three fingers) when I play. It goes away after I warm up, and stretching helps but doesnít prevent it. As far as I can tell, Iím not doing anything hugely wrong with my wrist, elbow or shoulder in terms of technique or position.

    Iím just wondering if anyone else here has experienced this and had any insight into cause or any technique that helped.

  2. #2
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Left hand numb?

    Just a thought. You may be pinching a nerve in your neck. I have this problem occasionally due to an old injury. If I stare at my mandolin neck watching where I place my fingers it will bring on numbness in my index and middle fingers. Moving my neck around and changing point of focus relieves the numbness usually. R/
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Left hand numb?

    Yes, I suspect it has something to do with my neck. I’m trying to watch the fretboard less - that’s a good suggestion.

  4. #4
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left hand numb?

    I get numb fingers when I have a vertebrae out in my neck.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Left hand numb?

    I’m a certified hand therapist (an advanced certification for occupational and physical therapists). The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist and innervates the thumb, pointer finger, long finger and part of the ring finger. The symptoms you describe are consistent with pressure on the median nerve. An orthopedic physician could evaluate this suspicion. If this diagnosis is confirmed you could seek out a hand therapist who specializes in the problems of musicians. A round of therapy could teach you manage or eliminate the problem.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Left hand numb?

    I was experiencing just these symptoms when playing as well as gripping a steering wheel. It was a carpal tunnel issue. I was told this had much more to do with genetics than repetitive stress. The test involves sending electric shocks from your wrist to your fingertips and clocking reaction times. My left hand was severe, the right hand moderate. Some people have larger tunnels than others. They surgically cut the arch and the healing scar tissue enlarges it. Not the most fun, but you do sort of recover. It's been a year. No numbness, some soreness, but I thrash my hands playing so much. Now I'm noticing my right hand getting worse. If you take care of it early. it's arthroscopic. Wait as long as I did and it's an incision.

    The thumb and first two fingers are where the symptoms are most acute.
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