PDA

View Full Version : playing after surgery



Harold O.
07-14-2010, 01:05 PM
I just had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. That would be the tendons that allow you to lift your arm outward from your side.

That was about ten days ago. Fortunately, the motion required for uke strumming does not involve the damaged/repaired part. At least not directly. The drugs they gave me for the pain goof me up just enough to remove all initiative I might have had for the day. This allows me to sit still while healing.

Our Guitar Merchant uke group (see Regional Meetings) has seen a recent growth spurt, so I wanted to make an appearance last Sunday to keep the momentum going. I managed to get through without hurting myself, but noticed more than a few slurred words while singing along. My wife took the uke away after about half an hour or so and drove me home.

So I'm wondering how many UUers have had the misfortune of playing through a surgical recovery period? Any tips on getting this rotator cuff speeded up?

luvdat
07-14-2010, 01:25 PM
I just had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. That would be the tendons that allow you to lift your arm outward from your side.

That was about ten days ago. Fortunately, the motion required for uke strumming does not involve the damaged/repaired part. At least not directly. The drugs they gave me for the pain goof me up just enough to remove all initiative I might have had for the day. This allows me to sit still while healing.

Our Guitar Merchant uke group (see Regional Meetings) has seen a recent growth spurt, so I wanted to make an appearance last Sunday to keep the momentum going. I managed to get through without hurting myself, but noticed more than a few slurred words while singing along. My wife took the uke away after about half an hour or so and drove me home.

So I'm wondering how many UUers have had the misfortune of playing through a surgical recovery period? Any tips on getting this rotator cuff speeded up?

As an RN I have to say this: you'll speed up the healing process by not trying to speed up the healing process. Rest. Follow your MD's orders regarding movement. I wish you the best. Take the time to heal. You're worth it.

mailman
07-14-2010, 04:14 PM
Currently recovering from major back surgery. Finished with the pain meds now....they made it almost impossible to play. Enjoying being able to play again, now, but currently away from home on vacation and uke-less....

Harold O.
07-14-2010, 06:45 PM
As an RN I have to say this: you'll speed up the healing process by not trying to speed up the healing process.

That's what I'm doing. With a joint repair, there seems to be no predictable recovery time as with, say, a broken bone. And a rotator cuff repair is common enough that there is a lot of info on the internet. So I sit in the recliner for most of the day. Sleep a lot. Don't fight the game at hand. And strum the uke very sparingly.

Of course, I could maybe try learning some picking techniques wherein I lay the uke in my lap and play it like a steel guitar while my arm stays steady in the sling... OK, maybe not. Still, it was good to see the uke group. And two of them have had shoulder surgery in the past. Go figure.

lozarkman
07-15-2010, 03:26 AM
Harold: DONT Hurry it. It takes time. Our daughter went through such surgery and it definitely takes time for it all to come back together. It was a couple of years ago, but she now has full mobility. As the ludat RN says, let the healing process take its course. Your Uku will sit there patiently smiling at you and thinking he will be back to stroke my strings as soon as he can, and in the mean time I will love him just as much as always:) Good luck!! Lozark

telebob
07-15-2010, 04:38 AM
Glad to hear you're on the mend... but I certainly agree with others here, don't rush things. It was good you got to see the uke gang, but likely bad for you to play/perform. Just sit and watch next time... admittedly it will be difficult to see/hear others play while you're on the sidelines.

Re: Playing after surgery. I recently had a tonsillectomy. It didn't affect my uke playing, but it sure as heck messed up my vocal chords! :p I was unable to sing for a week. but I digress....

Cheers on your recovery!

didgeridoo2
07-15-2010, 05:15 AM
Hey Harold,

Sorry to hear about the surgery. I haven't been to the group in about a month and didn't realize. Heal up and get back soon. I had surgery on my thumb almost 4 years ago and the thumb has never been the same since. My wife figured I should pick up a uke to get the thumb and hand some exercise and that's how I ended up here. Best of luck to you.

SailingUke
07-15-2010, 07:40 AM
Harold,
Get well soon and follow directions. If you push yourself you may actually prolong the recovery.
A few years ago I suffered a badly broken leg and required 10 days in the hospital and surgery followed by almost three months in bed.
My Dr. told me I was looking at a 6 month recovery, my goal was NOT to make it 7.
In the hospital I was told to keep my ankle flexing. I was not very diligent about the exercise and the physical therapist was always upset with me.
One evening I (private room) I played a ukulele a friend brought me. I keep time with my left foot, after an hour I noticed I was flexing the ankle. The next morning the PT was very happy.
The ukulele became part of my recovery therapy both mental & physical. I was lucky my hands and arms were not injured, maybe you need to learn to play with your feet :).
Hope to see you soon at a gathering, but I have been sailing a lot. BTW new group in Thousand Oaks, 6PM-8PM on the 1st & 3rd Thurs at the Green House Cafe.

ukecantdothat
07-15-2010, 08:19 AM
Physical therapy helped me with my shoulder problems, before it got to the point of needing surgery. The PT was great, and said a few things that always stuck with me to help prevent future flare ups. One was that the expression "No pain - no gain" is for the birds, and along the same lines was like the old gag, "Doc, it hurts when I do this," and the doctor's advice is, "Well... Don't do that," are words to live by! So I got out of the business that was causing me the pain in the first place, and (I try) to keep up with the simple strengthening exercises I learned all those years ago. Thank god the uke is small enough that you don't have to extend the elbow out as much as an acoustic guitar! It was a long time before I could do that comfortably. Bad design, the shoulder. Bad design...

Good luck!

SailingUke
07-15-2010, 08:28 AM
Bad design, the shoulder. Bad design...

Good luck!

And they do not even ome with a guarantee !!

ukecantdothat
07-15-2010, 09:19 AM
And they do not even come with a guarantee !!
Ha! Hey, that would be nice, huh? Then you could shop around if you didn't like the vendor! You could go to Rotator Cuff Guy Mike on eBay for a proper set-up, and maybe a price break for bi-lateral cuffs. If you went with Mainland Cuffs, hoosierhiver might even throw in some free phyisical therapy if you told him it was your birthday!

:nana:

Lori
07-16-2010, 06:51 AM
Physical therapy helped me with my shoulder problems, before it got to the point of needing surgery. The PT was great, and said a few things that always stuck with me to help prevent future flare ups. One was that the expression "No pain - no gain" is for the birds, and along the same lines was like the old gag, "Doc, it hurts when I do this," and the doctor's advice is, "Well... Don't do that," are words to live by! So I got out of the business that was causing me the pain in the first place, and (I try) to keep up with the simple strengthening exercises I learned all those years ago. Thank god the uke is small enough that you don't have to extend the elbow out as much as an acoustic guitar! It was a long time before I could do that comfortably. Bad design, the shoulder. Bad design...

Good luck!
I am always trying to listen to my body these days, trying to avoid long term pain from long hours at the computer. This last project, I was able to work from home, but after 3 full days of work, my right index finger started hurting. I have had problems with pain in both hands, especially after a days work and a 40 min. drive home. So, with that in mind, the idea of doing those left handed backward bending half barre of ukulele strings makes me cringe. I really don't think I should push my luck in that department. I'm just not meant to be double jointed, and it too late to start.

Maybe you could play uke with your left hand, and train your cat or dog to do the strumming. Make sure you set up for video of this before you start.

I find swimming once a week helps my shoulder, along with some weight machines at the Y. Once you get back on your arm, you might try it for maintenance.
–Lori

70sSanO
07-16-2010, 10:26 AM
A few years ago my boys talked me into lacing up the skates after 10 years and playing some roller hockey. It went great for about a month, I now have a titanium plate in my wrist.

I made the decision to go to physical therapy no matter how much pain and abuse I was put through. Did the exercises they told me to do. All along they told me stories of people who went to PT once or twice and then stopped and they ended up limited motion. I am so thankful that I stuck with it because my range of motion is basically identical to my good wrist.

I have no clue what physical therapy you will need, but whatever they tell you to do, rest, swim, weights, stretching, resistance... DO IT!!!

John

Brewerpaul
07-16-2010, 04:39 PM
I work in a hospital OR and see this type of surgery frequently. I'll second the advice to NOT try to rush your recovery. Listen to your Doc's advice.
Now might be a good time to work on finger picking, which would require only minimal arm and shoulder movement.

Eallend7
07-16-2010, 04:53 PM
come on man! the uke is perfect for vacation! hahah, tha tsucks

mm stan
07-16-2010, 05:29 PM
Aloha Harold,
Don't believe the old saying, you've got to work the pain off...that's alot of bunk..
You could injury yourself even further...God forbid!!! Take it easy and your body
will tell you when you're ready. Besides you don't have to strum agressive, just
run you thumb down the strings or light picking. If it hurts, stop immediately!!!
I hope you're feeling better real soon, Take Care..... MM Stan...
P.S. that's what God gave us pain for, to let us know when you're ready or not!!
And Let us know when you get back to the ukulele....

mm stan
07-16-2010, 05:41 PM
Currently recovering from major back surgery. Finished with the pain meds now....they made it almost impossible to play. Enjoying being able to play again, now, but currently away from home on vacation and uke-less....
Aloha Mailman,
Sorry to hear about your back surgery and hope you're recovering well. I have major back pain and take medicine too for it, it's really hard to focus playing..even tuning..usually it would take me twenty seconds to tune my uke when i was young, with the pain and meds,it's impossible...Thank God for
digital clip on chromatic tuners...but then too afterwards it's tuned , my rythym is way off.. HMMMM
I definetly know what you mean ....I hope you get back to the ukulele real soon and let us know when you're feeling better... MM Stan..