Hello once again. I've got a few things I'd like to by you all and see what kind of advice you have to offer. I've been a hardcore computer junkie for about 23 years now, and I've never had ANY problems with CTS or RSI. In my mid 20s (early 30s now) I developed a little bit of intermittent arthritis. I'd wake up in the morning and various parts of my left(fret) hand would be stiff. It would take hot water and on into the day before it regained mobility. This pain would come and go, sometimes not be there for months, and it would attack different parts of the same hand.
When I was in my teens I was a semi-pro skateboarder. I never wore a wrist brace, and I usually broke my many falls with my left hand. I'm pretty sure I sprained it quite a few times, but never had any doctors check it out. I don't know if this is why my left hand seems to be plagued with problems, but I'm sure it didn't help. Just a little background info before I continue.
I've picked up a guitar again about 3 years ago, but didn't start really practicing until about a year ago. I bought a 7-string shortly after my practicing got underway and I would put in about 2 hours 3 days a week or so. One day after playing the blues, my left(fret) hand started to experience pain in a specific area. It didn't seem like the arthritis from before, but something different. The pain is located in the red zone seen in the pic. This pain stays around for longer than I want, and just like the arthritis will be totally gone some days and totally back others. I don't know how to diagnose it. It seems like arthritis, but I haven't had it hang around like this coming and going before. I've practiced hard some days and it's been perfectly fine the next day, and also not practiced for a few days and it just shows up all of a sudden for no reason. If I heat it up the pain subsides a good deal, just like arthritis, but it seems to hang around longer than my arthritis episodes.
I started to think that the 7-string was the cause, because of the wider fretboard, and because the pain seems to originate right where my the red zone is pressed against the edge of the fretboard. When digging into bends, etc. there has been a lot of pressure in that area. I've since tried to be conscious of pressure, placement, and overall technique when playing.
I constantly massage my hands and try to keep them in good condition. My diet is pretty good (no carbonated drinks ever, lots of greens and grains), but I don't drink a lot of water. I'm not a big drinker at all, but sometimes enjoy an excessive amount of wine. I usually drink a cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning. I know some of these things may contribute, but I'm not real clear on that.
Anyway.. to describe the area in more detail. If you trace the index finger on the left hand down with a finger it will go over a small rise at the base right below the knuckle. Right below this is where the pain is located. I feels like it's up under the knuckle a little.
I appreciate anyone who took the time to read this and offer advice!