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Left hand gets tingly and numb


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#1 Hank Schutz

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 01:19 PM

A few times in the past several months I have hoticed the following. When I play (violin) with added "intensity," for example, during a concert, my left bicep gets somewhat sore and my left hand and fingers experience a tingly numbness. It's similar to the feeling when my hand "falls asleep" from inadeqate circulation. After I stop playing, my hand returns to normal within 30-60 minutes.

I have been playing the violin for more than 5 decades. This is new, (althought of course I am getting older and more decrepid all the time). Any idea what might be going on? (Maybe it's cubital tunnel syndrome, which I hadn't heard of before reading the post on it.)

Ideas welcome.

HS
Hank Schutz
'Tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright! -- Benj. Franklin

#2 rutherford

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 01:28 PM

Hank,

Haven't a clue what's wrong with you but if it is any comfort my CTS diagnosis was preceded by pain rather than numbness and in the elbow rather than hand.

Best of luck.

Rutherford

#3 Gray Violiner

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 02:25 PM

Hank, it's really easy to tell whether it's carpal or cubital tunnel. With carpal tunnel, your thumb, forefinger and middle finger get numb. With cubital tunnel (unlnar nerve), it's your ring finger and pinkie finger. If it's ALL your fingers, you'd best get to a doctor and have it checked.

Sometimes people can get these symptoms from pinched nerves in their neck. I'm a firm believer in chiropractic care, especially for this sort of thing. I was ice skating once and got nailed from behind, had both feet taken out from under me and when I fell, the back of my head hit the ice and bounced off it at least once or twice giving me a loooovely case of whiplash. I had numbness in my right arm that gravitated to my fingers (a long time before I became cursed with carpal tunnel). I'd go to my chiro and it cleared it right up.

Bottom line though: if this is a recurring thing, go get it properly diagnosed and take it from there. As was mentioned in the Cubital Tunnel thread, permanent nerve damage can occur if treatment isn't begun soon enough.

#4 Andrew Victor

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 02:49 PM

Hank,

I'm now past the mid-point of my 6th decade of playing and I do get this symptom too.

However, when I use a different violin, different chinrest, and/or different shoulder rest I seem to be able to play for hours without the problem. For one thing (two things) you may want to play with the instrument pointed as far to the left as you can and for another tilted quite a bit with E-string down more. An excruciatingly twisted and modified Bonmusica shoulder rest might help - I had to take my apart, bend it quite a bit, and reassemble it - but I have not had this problem since I started to use it a couple of months ago, Before that it just sat in a drawer for 5 years - didn't seem to fit me or my instruments.

EDIT: Another factor (especially if you play on a different or new violin) can be the curvature of the neck cross section. The neck cross section should be elliptical; if it is too circular it can push the left thumb a bit too far to the left and add unwanted tension to the hand. Other than having the neck sanded down, this can be helped by tilting the violin more downward to the right (with a shoulder rest). This is mainly a problem of 1st position playing.

Good Luck.

Andy

#5 con_ritmo

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 03:45 PM

quote:


Originally posted by: Hank Schutz
When I play (violin) with added "intensity," for example, during a concert, my left bicep gets somewhat sore and my left hand and fingers experience a tingly numbness.

Ideas welcome.


It's tension/pressure/too much muscular effort...etc.
Keep everything loose and relaxed...especially for those moments of "intensity".
When you're really tight, you block the bloodflow, your natural breathing can be affected...etc.etc....so that's why it feels similar to your hand "falling asleep". well, a big imho.

#6 Hank Schutz

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 05:17 PM

Folks

Thanks for your thoughtful replies. Lots to try. In addition to your suggestions, I am also going to explore whether my necktie (worn at concerts) and/or wristwatch band have gradually gotten tighter as my body exhibits the "prosperity" of my increasing years.

HS
Hank Schutz
'Tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright! -- Benj. Franklin




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