View Full Version : Future problems with hand pain

01-28-2014, 10:15 AM
I was wondering if playing excessively can cause carpal tunnel or other problems with my hands. I play a lot and I just wanted to know if there were any precautions I should be taking to make sure something like that doesn't happen.

01-28-2014, 10:27 AM
Be sure to keep your wrists straight.
If you start feeling uncomfortable, take a break.
I have spells where I can't play. I always stop playing for a few days or so until the pain iscompletely gone. Then all is good.

01-28-2014, 10:29 AM
When my hands / wrist started hurting I rested for a few weeks and massaged my arms hands 3 ~ 4 times a day. Healed OK but don't take chances because damage can be cumulative. Early fix is easy, let it go and you could end up needing an operation.

01-28-2014, 01:40 PM
Also recognize that even with ideal technique, it is still possible to overdo things, and when that happens, pushing though pain leads to injury. Better to take off a couple days now than a few weeks post-op later ...

01-28-2014, 01:44 PM
I just got home from a neurology appointment so this is an apt conversation. My hands, especially the left hand, go numb from the wrist to the thumb, index and ring but not the pinky. Lots of zinging my nerves and needles and the outcome is........carpel tunnel. I'm told to wear a brace at night for 2 months and while playing to keep my wrist at a rested angle, which is not straight but at a slight angle back. By this I mean if you hold your hands in a praying position together if it is your left hand that has problems tilt the tip of your fingers to the 11o'clock position (that is the at rest position). If it is your right hand put the tips of your fingers at the 1o'clock position. I hope this makes sense! Your hand however you are holding it should be slightly tilted away from you.

I was just trying to play in the new position. Argh, seems impossible but it's a habit I'm going to have to adopt, like it or not!

Perhaps this post will help others prevent problems.

01-28-2014, 04:34 PM
Not a doctor nor do I play one on TV - that said, if you don't have a medical predisposition toward joint/muscle problems then playing the ukulele, even for hours a day, should not cause any problems if you are not abusing joints by playing in awkward positions. Yes, some guitarists have developed RMI issues after decades of playing - but they are playing instruments with far higher tension than our ukuleles have and there is no way to know what medical predispositions may have applied.

So, how do you know if you're abusing joints? Basically, if you work up to it gradually so your muscles come up to strength without being overtaxed and your fingertips harden up, you should be able to play for hours without discomfort. If something is uncomfortable beyond just a little tenderness in the fingertips of your fretting hand then you need to look at improving your posture and technique and/or cutting back on playing.

Also, remember that your entire body is connected. You can cause wrist problems by having the wrong posture in your back, and so on.


01-29-2014, 01:20 AM
I study privately in order to improve my fingerpicking and have experienced fatigue more than pain. My teacher who also teaches guitar has a student on guitar who is also a massage therapist. They trade a lesson for deep tissue hand massage. He says the massage really relaxes all the stiffness and his hands feel great. One great piece of advice I received from Guitarist/Singer Michael Johnson is to watch your posture and body tension while playing and relax as much as possible. Michael is a world class guitarist and he is really knowledgeable. It sounds simple but it's much harder than most of us realize. I find that if I also remember to breathe in a relaxed manner it helps to keep the entire body relaxed. My major in college was trumpet and excess tension is a brass players worse enemy. Tension creates fatigue.

01-29-2014, 10:38 AM
A valuable tip I once got was to move your thumb further up the neck toward the head. You should not be gripping like a vice. Sliding your thumb higher provides counter pressure against your fretting fingers with much less force required.

01-29-2014, 01:54 PM
Ok, thanks everybody. I'll keep all of this in mind and try focusing on adjusting my technique if needed