View Full Version : elbow or arm problems?

Captain America
05-27-2015, 05:43 AM
Anyone experience arm/elbow pain through uking?

05-27-2015, 05:55 AM
Anyone experience arm/elbow pain through uking?
No, but I have experienced knee pain over the years from running. I'm not trying to be cute, pain from over use is pain from over use, be it from playing the uke, or playing tennis. Might I recommend ibuprofen, as it has carried me through many miles during forty years of running. If that doesn't work, or if it doesn't get better over time, go see a doctor.

05-27-2015, 08:02 AM
Sometimes, I have a slight burning, tingling, pain situation in my left elbow. I think it is when I play with poor posture - too reclined and balancing the neck at odd angles.

05-27-2015, 08:32 AM
I get occasional bout of tendonitis "tennis elbow" in my strumming arm when I play too much. A few episodes have been so bad that I just cannot play. I have had to lay off for more than a month (torture for me) and even then the pain is not completely gone. I always feel it lurking but try to watch out and ease off if it seems like it's gonna flare up. I use the down time to pull maintenance on my ukes, change strings, or mostly clean up my on song library and add some new tunes. Nothing much but rest has been much help.

05-27-2015, 08:37 AM
I haven't had playing uke cause any lasting pain but I did develop tendonitis (tennis elbow) in both elbows during a mountain bike trip last October. The pain in my left elbow was bad enough that turning doorknobs took some extra thought. Playing the uke was totally out as fretting hurt too much.

I eventually went for physical therapy where I learned some stretches and had some massages. In the end it seems like time is the only thing that really fixes it. And I still have considerable pain in my right elbow even 7 months later.

Between that, my chronic neck/shoulder problems, achy knees, terrible memory... turning 40 this year really sucked.

05-27-2015, 08:56 AM
In the words of Bette Davis, "old age ain't for sissies".

05-27-2015, 09:57 AM
I started playing Uke because of a torn tendon and torn ligament in my left elbow that left me unable to play guitar without severe, excruciating pain.

Enter the Uke, and I can play for upwards of 4 hours before I start to hurt.

The right elbow, however, has developed tendonitis through over use (compensating for not being able to use my left arm as much), and it aches almost all of the time. Sometimes I want to scream from the pain. Playing the uke doesn't hurt - even makes it feel better. Of course, I often have to watch how I strum, or just finger-pick, but I can still play, virtually unaffected.


Down Up Dick
05-27-2015, 10:03 AM
I only have pains in my ears during playing (ba dum dum)! But seriously, folks, I've been exercising my left hand with a hand exerciser lately, and now I'm having hand cramps. Ya just can't win.

If I didn't have pains, I wouldn't be able to tell whether I was alive or not. :old:

05-27-2015, 10:38 AM
No elbow pain for me just tendonitis in wrist and forearm.
I've pretty much given up on playing for the last few months. I played for 15 minutes a few months back and couldn't grip with my left hand for several weeks.

Once i've got some free time, i'm going to try to get in for physio. If that doesn't work, i think i'll have to give up on playing tenors or anything where I really have to stretch.
It sucks.

05-27-2015, 10:48 AM
Tennis Elbow on my fretting arm (left). More when I was playing the concert instead of the Tenor. Probably due to poor technique. But I think the Tenor allows my arm to be a little less bent.

05-27-2015, 01:48 PM
I occasionally get arm, hand, or shoulder pains from extended playing (>1.5 hours). They typically occur in places where I have old martial arts injuries. I've found poor posture and tension (mine not my strings) to be the main culprits. Using a strap and stretching before and after playing helps me to loosen up and stay relaxed. That and better posture seem to do the trick for shoulder and arm pain. When my left hand cramps, I stop, shake it out, stretch both hands, and then resume paying a lot more attention to how hard I'm fretting.
There are still times when the best path is listening to my body and stopping -- sometimes for a day, sometimes longer. As we oldsters joke in martial arts, rest and analgesics are two of the pillars of good practice. :D

05-27-2015, 02:16 PM
See a doctor if you can. Physical therapy or cortisone shots often can correct problems before they become serious or irreparable. If you can't...

Rest is good, try varying your posture. If it hurts me to strum, I fingerpick or use my wrist more. Sometimes some small changes can make a huge difference. I've been driven away from several instruments due to RSI, and I am very cautious now.

My first chosen instrument was the harmonica, and it is a lifesaver when I want to play music but it isn't prudent. It might be worth a look, a small investment and plenty of instruction available.

Best of luck to you.

05-27-2015, 02:43 PM
I've had tennis elbow twice, both times in my right (strumming) arm, and both times from tasks unrelated to playing guitar or ukulele. Ibuprofen helps to a degree, but the best medicine is rest, and it takes a while; in each instance, it took about 18-20 months for it to clear up. I laid off playing for most of that time and shifted some necessary tasks to my left arm.

The second time it happened my doctor gave me a cortisone shot and, sure enough, my elbow felt better. The problem is, when something that's injured stops hurting due to cortisone, it's easy to forget that it's injured, and relatively easy to make an acute injury chronic.

"No pain, no gain" doesn't apply here. When a joint hurts, the best thing you can do is to stop whatever is making it hurt.

05-27-2015, 06:33 PM
I would like to emphasize the importance of correct technique. Preventing the problem is way better than having to deal with a repeititve strain injury. When I was learning the flamenco guitar, I developed left wrist pain. I thought I was overdoing it but it kept recurring. My teacher noticed that I was not keeping my wrist flat and that I had to keep bending it to reach some (to me) rather complicated chords. Also, I was holding the guitar too low. I was able to achieve the correct postures when I used both a foot rest and a guitar thigh rest. The problem with my left wrist was solved. But I still had some pain because I would practice until it got sore again :->.

So my point is to ensure correct technique and avoid repetitive strain. I would also note that there are physiotherapists who specialize in treating injuries of musicians.