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Fingers "falling asleep"

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 GWR
(@gwr)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64
Topic starter  

After I practice for a while, sometimes my 2nd and 3rd fingers feel like they're falling asleep. You know, that tingling or needling feeling when your leg, foot, hand, ect fall asleep. Is this a normal thing that practice will overcome?

G W Roach (Don't BUG me while I'm practicing!)


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

Never heared that one before. In case you're really practicing like mad you might want to take a thirty second break every fifteen minutes or so. IIRC what you're describing should be caused by a diminished bloodflow into your fingers but I see no reason why playing guitar should result in it. Do you have this with other activities as well?


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

Which hand?

If it's the left you may have the neck elevated too much, or you might be using the death grip or you might have your elbow in a weird position.

If it's the right you might be resting a nerve or two on the top of the guitar. Try changing positions between songs and shaking your arms out or a break like Arjen suggests.

Then again if you are practicing 12 hours at a time, well, your fingers will go numb.


   
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(@mrjonesey)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 470
 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/carpal_tunnel.htm

This is a problem I had prior to my accident and subsequent surgery (hand re-attached - good new is no more CTS, bad news is constant pain, swelling, tighness and I occasionally drop stuff, better news is that I still have a hand and can play guitar). Anyway, you might want to make sure your wrist is in a comfortable position when you play. I used to twist my wrist a bit when I played and I think that was part of my problem. I still don't have a classical fretting hand, but I do make sure that I hold it comfortable without squeezing adn twisting.

Also, the suggestons mentioned above about taking breaks and shaking your arms are very good ideas. If it hurts, stop.

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


   
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(@citrusking08)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5
 

i honestly have the same problem. I dont know if it is because i have small fingers or im playing too much, but after i play the tingling goes on for hours. I will play at night before i go to bed and then wake up in the morning and through the day my pointer finger on my left hand still feels like asleep. IDK what it is i just hope its not serious. So your not the only one.

Citrusking08


   
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(@jmaikos)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 21
 

I had the same problem once. I played the hell out my guitar one night (probably practiced the same song over and over) and 2 of my fingers were numb and tingling the entire next day. I was convinced I had a brain clot that was causing the numbness (that's another story). Luckily for me, the tingling went away the next day and hasn't returned since.

Later on, I asked a friend who is an accomplished guitarist if this happened to him ever. He said it happened once or twice, but only after very long, intense sessions. I still often play for hours at a time (with some breaks) and haven't had a loss of feeling. My suggestions are to take a few breaks, rotate your practice material so you aren't using the same fingers in the same positions over and over, and to switch up your arm position if you can.

Good luck


   
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 GWR
(@gwr)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64
Topic starter  

Thanks. It happens on my fretting fingers. I shake it off and as I "get into it", it happens less and less. I think I'm past the "death grip" stage, or maybe I relax more as I practice more. I try not to bend my wrist to much, but sometimes the palm of my left hand mutes the high E string. I also seems like I'm becoming a "rest the thumb on the top" type player. Don't know if that's a handicap, but I can move the thumb more behind the neck when I play like a G chord. Anyway, thanks for the advice, Gary

G W Roach (Don't BUG me while I'm practicing!)


   
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(@quarterfront)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 225
 

When I first started out I had a bout of tendonitis in my wrist that really freaked me out. It was pretty bad and looked a lot like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Turned out it wasn't full blown CTS but sort of the "light" version. I've been playing for just past two years now and went through two bouts of it. Now it seems to be (knock wood) a thing of the past, though I have to manage my practice routine to avoid it. I've learned to stretch before practicing, warm myself up instead of diving right into difficult stuff, be careful in the winter to make sure that my hands are physically warm when I practice, stop if I feel any pain or feel "cobwebby", take a day off now and then, etc....

Mainly I learned that I needed to work up to things gradually and that "gradually" is measured in months, not days or weeks. Probably it's different for everybody. Still....

Here's an old thread about CTS that might be of interest.

http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic.php?t=15033


   
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