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Thread: Avoiding carpal tunnel problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Avoiding carpal tunnel problems

    Hi Everyone, I am really having a ball playing the uke. I am doing a lot of practicing daily since Sept. Any ideas as to ways to avoid carpal tunnel problems. Regularly, during practice I fully stretch out my hand. Thanks in advance. Ronnu

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Proper playing technique of course, i..e not flexing your wrist too far. If you are experiencing symptoms, you need to back off. Now. It isn't going to just get better. It's called *repetitive* stress injury for a reason. I have a computer job and my uke playing is severely limited. I just can't play as much as I'd like to.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I had a successful Carpal Tunnel decompression carried out when I was in my 20s, that is now 40 years ago. The surgeon told me at the time that those most likely to present with the syndrome were jackhammer operators and women going through menopause. Mine was brought about by racing motocross motorcycles, a sport which is very hard on your wrists. Thankfully, I have not experience any pain since that operation.
    All the best,
    Campbell

  4. #4
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    Oct 2016
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    Thanks Jim

  5. #5
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    Thanks Campbell, I miss my motorcycle days!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnu View Post
    Thanks Campbell, I miss my motorcycle days!
    Me too, walking frames might be next!
    All the best,
    Campbell

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnu View Post
    Any ideas as to ways to avoid carpal tunnel problems.
    Keep your headstock approx on shoulder height and keep the thumb behind the neck (a bit like classical guitar players do). This will help keeping your fretting wrist straight.
    Don't be shy to use a strap when necessary.

    Here's a picture with "wrong" (right side) and "correct" (left side) thumb position: http://up.picr.de/19630781mu.jpg
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    I would add one thing to all of the excellent advice listed above. Try to play as relaxed as you can. Tension creates a lot of problems. I had the opportunity to talk with singer/songwriter Michael Johnson. Bluer Than Blue was a big hit for him in the late 70's. Michael is a world class guitarist and has an extensive background in classical guitar. He told me to find a good comfortable playing position and stay relaxed.
    Watch any video you can of Chet Atkins on guitar and noticed how relaxed he played. I always keep that in mind when I'm practicing something tricky.
    Best of luck.

  9. #9
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    As a general practice, don't move your fingers while your wrist is bent, whether you are playing the uke, typing, or anything else.

    If we were to design a machine where control cables have to go around a corner, we'd put a roller wheel there. In your wrist you don't have that, so the tendons that move your fingertips will cause some wear on the tunnel or cut into the nerve as they saw back and forth moving your fingers, unless they can stay on a relatively straight line in the carpal tunnel.

    -Vinnie in Juneau

  10. #10
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    Nov 2016
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    Everyone has good points. But for me staying relax is key, I'm not just talking about hands and wrist but the whole body from head to toe. Remember any kind of stiffness or stress in the body will eventually creep to your hands, wrist and elbow. So it might be a good idea to loosen the whole body before playing.

    another thing is have fun while learning. Enjoy the mistakes of your playing, don't take it seriously. You will play much better, playing the uke should be effortless.

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