PDA

View Full Version : Avoiding carpal tunnel problems



Ronnu
03-19-2017, 08:27 AM
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

Jim Hanks
03-19-2017, 10:08 AM
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.

Ronnu
03-20-2017, 05:38 AM
Thanks Jim

Ronnu
03-20-2017, 05:39 AM
Thanks Campbell, I miss my motorcycle days!

Louis0815
03-22-2017, 12:57 AM
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

peanuts56
03-23-2017, 12:38 PM
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.

mvinsel
03-30-2017, 09:12 AM
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

Ukin4life
03-30-2017, 02:50 PM
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.

Picker Jon
04-01-2017, 05:30 AM
My CTS was caused by doing heavy manual labour one summer, I hadn't had any problems from playing guitar before then. No treatment was effective, including steroid injections, so I had the release procedure done after about 10 years. It's been fine since and I can get to the end of a tune and still feel my fingers!

Rrgramps
04-02-2017, 06:08 AM
I have ground the cartilage out in my basal joint, (osteoarthritis) and am on bone splinters and shards driving into flesh and nerve endings. Most of this was repetitive-motion related, and 50 years of guitar/bass playing, amongst other activities, took its toll on both my hands. Had right hand basal joint replacement, but my fretting hand basal joint is really killing me. My thumb has to be off the neck, and strap is a necessary to remove the pressure from my thumb.

So I have to use the opposite of how I was taught back in high school daze.

At 70, I haven't had CT -- yet. LOL. But cannot use the CT remedies above due to my existing injuries. I've attempted left handed playing, but it's hard too.

mvinsel
04-04-2017, 11:57 AM
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.
.

Good point. Holding tension in your body impedes circulation, and reduced circulation interferes with the body's normal ability to heal the little "micro-traumas" from pressing frets or typing keys, as well as the macro traumas of manual labor. Circulation is also helped greatly by movement so get up and dance!

Ronnu
04-04-2017, 02:59 PM
Thanks. A good illustration to keep in mind. And thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Much appreciated.