It figures. I have a hobby that I really enjoy that doesn’t require a lot of lung power, only to find out I have to cut way back or give it up all together. You see, musicians are athletes of sorts( especially bass players), and just like with most sports, repetitive motion can cause injuries. Well, instead of suffering leg or foot injuries from walking too much, Ive now developed a pretty nasty tendonitis from playing the bass too much. Doing things in moderation isn’t one of my stronger traits. As with all of my passions, I tend to overdo it. Im also one of those who doesn’t listen to their body very well until the damage is already done.
Tendonitis of the elbow ( aka lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow) is so common among guitar and bass players, that they actually refer to it as “Guitar Elbow”. Brought on by inflammation and sometimes tears in the tendons that lead from the fingers and wrist to the elbow, elbow tendonitis is one of those conditions that sneaks up on you slowly over time. It usually starts off as annoying stiffness or achiness in the outer elbow that gradually gets worse. Mine has progressed to the point now where its difficult for me to hold or grip anything with my left hand, not to mention the pain that results.
Anyways, Ive done a lot research on the subject and the various treatment options, and they all basically boil down to the same thing, and that is…. STOP doing the activity that is causing the injury, reduce the inflammation, and slowly rehab the effected tendons and muscles. In a small number of cases, surgery is necessary. And of course just like with all other injuries, the older you are, the longer it usually takes for this kind of injury to heal. Ive heard estimates of 3 to 18 months or longer.
Thankfully, playing the bass is just a hobby and Im not dependent on it to make a living. But still, it’s something that gives me immense pleasure and is a huge, although temporary, escape from my world of crappy breathing. The thought of an extended break from it really depresses me.