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Captain America
08-21-2015, 07:15 AM
I'm curious. . . is it the case that people are picking up the ukulele in order to deal with arthritis?

martinfan
08-21-2015, 07:40 AM
For me, yes.

I have been advised to do so for a few years but did not want to give up playing guitar. I was used to playing 1 hour per day, plus more on weekends, while holding 2 jobs and a family. The pain was in my left thumb. I stopped playing for over a month and the pain subsided. Then, I returned to playing but don't play anywhere near the 10 hour weekly average, and avoid fretting the F# with my left hand.

I knew that playing my daughter's cheapie laminate was not the way, so I dove into it with the counsel here, for a PONO ATD 2, and a couple of DVD lessons and I am loving it.

It does not put my left hand into pain, and I am playing guitar regularly again, but not as long.

I am hoping to learn finger style, as I am not much of a singer. On guitar, I love country blues the most, so Fred Sokolow's DVD on the blues is right on target for me. I have found that I am getting addicted to playing and I now work at home, so it is easy to pick up the uke several times during the day.

Many others have done the same thing as the guitar can be rough on then hands for even light arthritis (mine).

What I did not realize was how popular the ukulele has become since purchasing a laminate for my daughter years ago, and how a bigger size is much better suited for my hands. I don't have "sausage fingers" but the minimum size of a tenor is my limit.

I am 53, so this may be young for arthritis, but it may have been exasperated by weight lifting, and other sports I have long played.

I have found an entire new world of music beyond strumming a ukulele for sing-a-long. This is not a knock on sing-a-long, but rather self serving because I don't have a good singing voice.

I love playing the ukulele and have just started having fun with it on the Tascam DP-004 multi track. I have an acoustic bass, along with some percussion (egg shakers, wood block, triangle), and play harmonica. So with acoustic guitar, ukulele, bass, harmonica and some light background percussion, I am having fun. I want to add a baritone ukulele to the herd, but am limited in $ having just purchased the tenor.

Arthritis is not stopping the fun.

ohmless
08-21-2015, 08:14 AM
I sort of did. The arthritis isn't in my hands though, but in my lower back and hips. I use ukulele to distract me from it.

PhilUSAFRet
08-21-2015, 12:45 PM
I have it at the base of my thumbs. Play in spite of it, not because of it. When I'm going to play for long periods of time, I use Aleve.

terrgy
08-21-2015, 01:12 PM
I have to deal with this affliction every day of my life, all 10 fingers except thumbs.
At 69, it only seems to get worse. One day I'll have to make a decision, is it worth it all.
Of course there's always my drawer full of harmonicas.
No pain in the mouth.
Alive helps. Not playing really helps.
Steroids is the answer. But doctor won't prescient because of long term side effects. " But doctor, I don't have very long. "

Nickie
08-21-2015, 01:18 PM
I take a turmeric capsule every day. MUCH less hand pain!

pritch
08-21-2015, 01:24 PM
Depends where it is. The arthritis in my shoulders makes playing a guitar painful. The ukulele is pain free..
So far the arthritis in the fingers is just a minor inconvenience.

On the other hand riding a motorbike causes pain in the shoulders but I still do it. Although a lot less than I used to.

turtledrum
08-21-2015, 02:05 PM
I take a turmeric capsule every day. MUCH less hand pain!

Me, too! I take 2 turmeric daily (mega foods turmeric for joint pain). I have no cartilage left in one ankle and pain in hands. Turmeric rocks!

AcousticTones
08-21-2015, 02:13 PM
I've been playing guitar for over 30 years, but have discovered over the past 2 years that I simply can not hang on to the pick like I used to due to the arthritis. It was a bit depressing not having the strength to hang on to the pick like I have always been able to do, but that brought me to start putting some focus on my finger picking and strumming without a pick. And based on that the uke is a god-send :) Love it. Much easier on my hands than what I've been doing for years on the guitar. I still play both, but the uke is getting a lot more of my time as of late.

kohanmike
08-21-2015, 07:58 PM
Hey, turmeric, have to try that.

beowoulfe
08-22-2015, 01:55 PM
I'm reading that curcumin is a rev'd up tumeric. A lot more expensive, but more potent? Any one try that? I'm game myself if it be so.

Doug W
08-22-2015, 02:55 PM
After playing uke in elementary school back in the 50s, I let it slide for a number of years when the guitar and mandolin took over. I got interested again in the uke about 10 years ago. I discovered coincidentally that it is much easier on the arthritis in my left wrist than guitar or mandolin. I don't play 2 or 3 hours every day but that much playing doesn't kill me when I play the uke. I still play the guitar and mandolin now and then but not nearly as much as the uke and really I don't feel deprived because I enjoy my Mainland every time I pick it up and I am learning new stuff all the time.

johnson430
08-22-2015, 07:13 PM
+ 1 for turmeric.
My mom is a cancer survivor and praises the use of turmeric.
I also use natural products for stress relief. I hate to take pharmaceuticals and prefer all-natural products.
If you are unaware of the benefits of using turmeric please have a look at this (and remember that pharmaceutical companies are some of the
most prolific lobbyists in Washington DC, so it makes sense they would suppress the benefits of a natural "cure-all"):
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

I am a huge proponent of natural remedies. Perhaps the years I spent in China and knowing a third generation Chinese acupuncturist whose father literally wrote the "modern" Chinese book on acupuncture during the Mao era has lead me to appreciate natural remedies over pharmaceuticals.
He (Dr. Le, or Le Yīsheng) was also a subscriber of the benefits of drinking green and black tea daily as well.

terrgy
08-23-2015, 12:01 PM
I take a turmeric capsule every day. MUCH less hand pain!


Nickie. Is this over the counter stuff?
Oops. I see someone else has already commented.

VegasGeorge
08-23-2015, 12:09 PM
The arthritis in my shoulders makes playing a guitar painful.

Yeah, same here. I could play my Little Martin OK, but trying to reach around in front of my dobro killed my right shoulder. That's one major reason I quit guitar.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-23-2015, 01:30 PM
I've suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for several years that affects all of my joints to some extent but has mostly settled in my hands. The disfigured fingers and swollen joints make it very hard to play sometimes as well as work. My best days are those when I remember to take turmeric (several capsules), omega three oils and stay dehydrated. On days when I drink at least three quarts of water I can be pretty much pain free. When I back off on the water I really feel it the next day. Sadly, some damage has already been done in the joints and I will never regain full mobility. Diet is probably the most important thing to look at. I eat as much "raw" as I can and keep my body PH above 7.5 if possible, ratine high alkaline foods. Tomato sauce will kill me however raw tomatoes are fine. It took me years to figure out what works and what doesn't. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you.

k0k0peli
08-24-2015, 08:25 PM
Just because something is 'natural' doesn't mean it's effective or healthy. Hemlock is organic. Beware 'natural' potions that have not been double-blind tested. Beware herbal compounds from China, many of which contain NONE of what is claimed on the label. (This was a major USA news story a few months ago.) Yes, there's corruption in the big-pharma industry, but pharmaceuticals don't pass regulatory muster until they're extensively tested. I am very leery of testimonials; "for instance" is not proof. The placebo effect is real.

Disclosure: Long ago I was a civilian EMT and military medic; my knowledge is quite dated now but I know better than to trust untested treatments. I can't comment on tumeric because I haven't researched that, but I do know that a protein-deficient diet causes creakiness in joints. And yes, staying hydrated (not dehydrated) is very important. Drink more tea! (I like ginger-lemon.)

Back to the OP. My wife and I are retired software engineers (burnt-out codemonkeys) in our mid-late-60s and are starting to develop arthritis in major joints but not our hands. She suffers from repetitive-motion injuries (not quite carpal-tunnel) from decades of keyboarding. She's learning tenor 'uke and handles it gently; she'll be a bit more aggressive after her cortizone shot in a couple days. I have a torn rotator cuff (gimpy shoulder); the most effective treatment so far is over-the-counter topical painkiller loaded with methyl salicylate, a cousin of aspirin, extracted from willow bark. Yup, a natural pharmaceutical.

If/when my hands do eventually become too arthritic to play fretted lutes, guitars will be the first to go, then mandolins, then 'ukes, then mountain dulcimers, then concertina, then chromatic harmonicas and tinwhistles, till I'll only be left with blues harps and kazoos in a neck rack. Oh, the humanity!

Debby
08-25-2015, 05:19 AM
+ 1 for turmeric.
My mom is a cancer survivor and praises the use of turmeric.
I also use natural products for stress relief. I hate to take pharmaceuticals and prefer all-natural products.
If you are unaware of the benefits of using turmeric please have a look at this (and remember that pharmaceutical companies are some of the
most prolific lobbyists in Washington DC, so it makes sense they would suppress the benefits of a natural "cure-all"):
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

I am a huge proponent of natural remedies. Perhaps the years I spent in China and knowing a third generation Chinese acupuncturist whose father literally wrote the "modern" Chinese book on acupuncture during the Mao era has lead me to appreciate natural remedies over pharmaceuticals.
He (Dr. Le, or Le Yīsheng) was also a subscriber of the benefits of drinking green and black tea daily as well.

I'm also a huge fan of natural remedies. I use a variety of essential oils. And like Chuck Moore suggests, I watch my diet and I drink a ton of water. Certain foods will surely flare up the pain. But the best thing I probably do for myself is drink a ton of water.