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Any fiddlers out there ever get a numb left thumb tip? Any advice for convalescence and future prevention?

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timmy! How’s your grip? Too tight, perhaps?

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I don’t think that it is, SWFL, but who knows. I was at a music camp (Lark) a couple weeks ago, and did some real marathon playing, so I think maybe just overdid it and strained something. But I just am not recovering very quickly. Getting old maybe. Guess I just have to lay off playing for awhile. Blah.

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The only time mine goes numb is if I have been practising the same thing over and over without shifting the position of my hand. As soon as I feel it going, I stop what I am doing and loosen up – massage my thumb and wrist a bit, shake the shoulders, that sort of thing. It only takes a few seconds, and I’ve never had a problem the next day. Maybe you are rotating your hand too much? Try turning the fiddle a bit to your left side to ease the twist in your wrist. And if it happens again don’t ignore it! Stop, shift a bit, rub, shake massage, get up and walk about, anything until it goes.

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You a righty? Left hand on the fingerboard, I suppose?

Just taking a stab at it here. Seems like most problems fiddling come from being too tense while playing. Often you won’t even know you’re doing it. I have to remember to check all the time while I’m playing, sort of mentally holler “RELAX!” at myself.

How about where the thumb is on the neck? Do you have the tip pressed against the neck when you hold it, or is lower, closer to the knuckle? Perhaps if you have it pressed to the neck, and are holding tightly for a long period of playing time…?

Lots more of that here: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/971

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That’s good advice too gam, take breaks, shake it out, make sure you’re relaxed, etc.

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Not numb thumb, but sometimes fingers 3,4 and 5 go numb.
That’s because of keeping my arm up in the air too long. I think
it’s due to the position of the shoulder joint.

On flute, I get this in my right hand instead of the left.

Numb thumb sounds like the “death grip” problem

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Definitely comes from gripping too tightly, as everyone else has said. Have you ever seen players (more often those with classical training) suddenly move their hand up the fingerboard while they’re playing an open string, then return it to first position, all in a fraction of a second? Doing that allows you to adjust your grip, loosen up your hand, and re-position correctly without losing it with the left hand. Being able to move your left hand freely will also do wonders for your intonation, which is almost certainly suffering if you are gripping too tightly - too much tension means no micro-tonal adjustment which means poor intonation.

A similar problem can occur to the tip of the thumb if you grip the bow too tightly, which in turn affects your ability to play with speed and fluidity. Death grip is the enemy of both hands. Relax, relax, relax…

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I play the box and have had/have issues like that. Am told it’s the tendon. Thumb pointer and middle fingers are tendons on top and problem is like ‘tennis elbow’. Pinkie and ring finger are the bottom tendons and like ‘golfers elbow’. It got really bad right after I did a heavy month getting ready for the Fleadh here in Chi Town.

Am told that the problem often is with the wrist position, wrist is ‘not relaxed’, or that the grip is to tight- right on spot SWFL. 😉

The knob on the bottom of the elbow will hurt and the numbness will come and go. We’ve tried alot of things. Rest, ibuprofin, cold packs and any of the many stretching exercises. Google for the exercises- there are lots of sites. I also use an elbow brace once in a while. I don’t know if it helps….and I get very little sympathy from herself when I wear it.

I also chalk it up to getting old.

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It’s not easy! I battle with it myself all the time. It’s a constant battle to stay relaxed when playing at all times.

Good news? Like anything else, it gets easier with practice!

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…and it will reflect in your music too. Tense player, tense music. Relaxed player, relaxed music…

Makes me think them old fellers there in their laid back style were onto something…

Maybe those speed demon kiddos will start slowing down when they get old and achy. 😉

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as far as the speed demon kiddos go, they think they will never get old and achy.

I remember the days of my immortality. I now hire for work that needs ladder, limit my DIY construction to watching This Old House with something cold and mildly alcoholic, and constantly complain to my box teacher and the folks on this august site about the speed of the current younger generation of players.

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Timmy! Don’t go lightly into that dark night - rage, rage against the dying of the light. After you’ve rested the soreness away, you can always strengthen those hand muscles with some simple exercises - get yourself a wee rubber ball and squeeze it throughout the day while at work. It will help keep those little muscles engaged and strong until they are called upon for another tune marathon.

It will also help your golf/baseball/hurly grip 😉