Numbness in hands while playing tenor horn

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by cohtrumpet, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. cohtrumpet

    cohtrumpet New Member

    I have been playing tenor horn for a short while. I am a cornet player, and while playing the tenor, I experiance numbness in my hands.

    I hold my horn in such a way as to be able to work the 1st valve slide to assist intonatation. I also put the thumb on my valve hand between the 1st and 2nd valve. I have tryed wrist braces with some succsess, but am now looking at using some sort of neck strap in order to take the weight off my hands, and wrists.

    I wonder if anyone else has delt with this numbness and has a solution.


    Jay Cohen
    Chicago Brass Band
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2006
  2. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    One of our EEb bass players has been complaining for some time about pins and needles in her right hand to - she went to the doctors and it's diagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Looks like some of the treatments are worse than the afliction.

    "People often find temporary relief from symptoms by hanging their arm out of the bed at night or by shaking their hand vigorously with a flicking action. "
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2006
  3. Redhorn

    Redhorn New Member

    Danbury, Essex.
    Mmmmm.... I normally experience numbness in the brain when playing mine! :)
    Forgive me saying so- but that seems quite an unusual way to hold the instrument. What make of horn is it?
    You could aid the 'holding nr 1st valve slide' problem by getting a trigger fixed, perhaps?
    Do you 'hug' the horn, or hold it away from your body?
    Elbows in towards body, or out?
    At a guess Id also suggest moving your valve hand thumb, as that doesnt sound comfortable- its going to be playing havoc with the nerves and muscles in your hand. Can you not wrap it around the valve casing, as if you were playing the cornet?
    The besson sov does have a really annoying piece of metal that juts into the base of your valve hand thumb, but after time you wont notice this.
  4. RDH

    RDH New Member

    The first thing I would say is go see a doctor... ;)

    But do you really need to hold the first valve slide? Couldn't you try to intonate just with the lips?

    For me (I've a muscle disease, so some weakness in both hands) it works to hold my horn like a bass/euphonium - left hand somewhere near the third valve slide, and very low. (with wrist braces)

    Basses do use a neck strap when they have to march, maybe there is something like that (smaller) for a tenor horn to. Maybe the one of an alto-sax?
  5. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    You must have very flexible hands to get your thumb in between the valves for any length of time :eek: What type of horn do you have? *goes to find horn* Have you tried putting you thumb under the piping next to the valves? Then it might take some weight of your other hand which is moving slides around.
  6. Horny Dentist

    Horny Dentist Member

    If you're using a soverign horn, I'd advise to put yor left hand around the valve casing as the main support for the instrument and use your right to press the valves, placing your right thumb under the tube that passes behind the valve casings.
  7. euphybeast

    euphybeast Member

    I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in both wrists. Playing euph I sometimes use wrist support from braces or bandages - the braces with a splint in aren't much good for holding the instrument, but not bad on your valve hand.
    Try to keep your wrists as straight as possible so that you're not putting extra strain on the tendons, maybe lower your hand holding the instrument so that it's not bending upwards at the wrist. I recently played tenor horn for a week, and did find it tricky to hold comfortably.
    There doesn't seem to be much of a cure - I avoid complaining about it so that they don't escalate to cutting them open or start pumping in steroids, as my doctor said they're starting to find that it just comes back - but physio gave me some stretches to do, which help if I remember to do them a few times each day.
    For marching I do need to use a bass strap, as holding the instrument standing up for any length of time does get very difficult, very quickly. Very annoying.

    Also, check out what you're doing in other areas of your life - mine started when I changed to a computer based job. I now have an ergonomic keyboard and a tracker ball mouse, which help a little.

    Maybe you don't have tendon problems, just need to find a more comfortable way to hold the instrument. Good luck!
  8. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Surely once you have set the 1st slide for tuning, you don't need to move it again? I've never seen any horn player do that. The only time I need to move the slide after tuning, is when I rest the horn on my thigh during rests etc, and find I have pushed the thing in by mistake. And I agree with everyone else, thumb of right hand goes under the tubing to steady the hand. Left hand holds the bulk of the instruments weight.
  9. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    East Sussex
    If its any consolation, a cornet player in our band was able to resume playing very soon after having the op.

    My job involves a lot of computer keyboard work and I did used to get pains in my left hand, I started using a mouse mat with a wrist support and havn't suffered since.
  10. persins

    persins Member

    Reading, England
    I found that worked too.

    Having said that, sometimes I find that while playing my Maestro cornet my left hand tends to end up at a very strange angle. Rather than keeping the wrist straight, it often bends so that my hand is pointing directly away from my face. That sometimes hurts but once I'm aware of it, I adjust it accordingly.
  11. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

  12. clare_euph

    clare_euph Member

    I play euph and know that when I play baritone or trombone, I have similar problems -- however, after playing baritone or trombone a lot, I seem to get used to it - -it could just possibly be just having your hands in a strange position for a long time that is doing it???
  13. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    The numbness in the hands may well not have anything to do with your hand position. It may well be attributed to a problem in the neck or shoulder which may be caused by posture.This may, in turn, be trapping a nerve. Just a thought, but I really think you should get it checked out by a physiotherapist.

    GUS must be the luckiest band around (apart from recent results!) in having a physiotherapist in it's ranks!
  14. pocket euphonium90

    pocket euphonium90 Member

    My Own World
    I play euph and i have had exactly the same problem.... i went to the doctor who suggested i too see a physio. It turned out to be the way i was holding my head that was causing a knot in the muscle and numbing my hand... a good course of physio sorted me out.. :)
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