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Thread: Aches and pains and different ukuleles

  1. #1
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    Default Aches and pains and different ukuleles

    Started playing about nine months ago. Sometime in the fall, noticed my deltoids (shoulders) and biceps (upper arm) muscles getting sore in certain arm positions while inactive. Attributed it to the aches and pains of aging and not playing a concert ukulele for one to two hours daily. It increased after purchasing an aNueNue Moon Bird concert with a greater body depth than my Koaloha. Hmmm... could it be the ukulele playing causing the soreness?

    Well, I acquired a Blackbird Clara a few weeks ago and the pain and soreness receded (narrow body depth). It disappeared last week completely as I was in Hawaii and barely played my travel uke.

    Last night, day after returning from Hawaii, I went to an uke meetup. All was fine until I switched, for one song, to a Blackbird Farallon tenor so my friend could try my Clara. WHOA... the soreness came back full force by halfway through the song.

    Conclusion that raising my arm away from my body to clear the uke body is the source of the soreness. The Clara is thin enough to not cause any pain, but the deeper the body, the greater the pain otherwise.

    For discussion: Have others here noticed pain issues from playing the ukulele and does it change when you change to different ukuleles?

  2. #2
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    Is it possible you injured something in your shoulder (non uke related injury), which is being aggravated from the shoulder position you need to play a deeper uke?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AQUATOPAZ View Post
    Is it possible you injured something in your shoulder (non uke related injury), which is being aggravated from the shoulder position you need to play a deeper uke?
    It is possible though there is no episode that I can identify that occurred... that is why I thought it was from aging initially. But changing to the Clara and then not playing for a week had the pain go away and playing the tenor had it return quickly. Might be more similar to arthritis where a certain activity aggravates it. Also figure it is not an injury because it is bilateral, though worse on my right shoulder.

  4. #4
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    Are you using a strap on all your ukes? If not, maybe trying to support your ukes is contributing to the problem. I have a Clara and a Moon Bird. Iíll have to notice if I hold them differently. I use straps on all my ukes so that they are supported & for the most part, uniformly positioned against my body.

    I hope you can figure it out. Bummer that your Moon Bird aggravates it.
    Last edited by RafterGirl; 05-16-2019 at 02:56 PM.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018
    Blackbird Clara - 2019
    Kanilea KCS-SSP super soprano - circa 2016

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow21 View Post
    It is possible though there is no episode that I can identify that occurred... that is why I thought it was from aging initially. But changing to the Clara and then not playing for a week had the pain go away and playing the tenor had it return quickly. Might be more similar to arthritis where a certain activity aggravates it. Also figure it is not an injury because it is bilateral, though worse on my right shoulder.
    As you age, it's possible to injure ligaments and tendons without being able to identify when and how the injury occurred. I injured my knee last Fall, though I couldn't figure out how or when I did. But it took months to heal. It can be something small as having lifted a shopping bag the wrong way. You should definitely see a specialist, as there could be different causes and the last thing you want to do is keep injuring it. If it is really bilateral, I would see a chiropractor or spinal specialist as possibly you are pinching a nerve. Cervical issues often show up as pain in shoulders. I had a cervical disc replaced and my pain was in my shoulders. Not trying to worry you. I had a bad accident. You might just need an adjustment and massages. But see someone as the ukulele is probably just exposing a symptom and isn't the root cause.
    Last edited by AQUATOPAZ; 05-16-2019 at 04:08 PM.

  6. #6
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    With the ukulele resting in the crook of your arm, strum by rotating your wrist back and forth, with your finger(s) and thumb over the 12th fret. Much less (or no) arm movement, and let the fingers do the walking.

  7. #7
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    As well as recommending a strap, as above, are you "sitting up properly"?

    "Laid back and relaxed" may look "cool" but it very often isn't, in the long term

    YMMV
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  8. #8
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    Yes the big question is "do you use a strap"? I'm guessing no and because non-strap users apply pressure to the upper bout to keep the uke in place these deeper bodied ones caused an issue.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Yes the big question is "do you use a strap"? I'm guessing no and because non-strap users apply pressure to the upper bout to keep the uke in place these deeper bodied ones caused an issue.
    Totally agree with Dave but I would advise further, fit a strap and see how you then fair with your Ukes.

    If you still have problems seek medical help.

    I had wrist issues and following seeing a specialist I had an US guided injection and within one week my symptoms were totally alleviated.
    Col.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

  10. #10
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    [/QUOTE]Conclusion that raising my arm away from my body to clear the uke body is the source of the soreness. The Clara is thin enough to not cause any pain, but the deeper the body, the greater the pain otherwise.

    For discussion: Have others here noticed pain issues from playing the ukulele and does it change when you change to different ukuleles?[/QUOTE]


    As a 'retired' member of the medical community and subject of numerous injuries ( impact and stress ), I agree, and highly encourage you to schedule a visit to a Physical Therapist. When making the appointment, explain to the scheduler that you are "a musician, having shoulder pain while playing a stringed instrument." That's a really important step. And, if you're in a town or city that has an orchestra, it's very likely that there is a PT with an understanding of the dynamics of play positions. It's no different than asking for a PT who's familiar with cycling or running discomforts, or any other repetitive injuries. Plan on taking both 'ukulele so she/he can see the differing positions of play.

    FWIW, my cycling group has two PT's. One specialized in hand/wrist/shoulder/and neck problems; the other with knee and hip injuries. They both make very helpful observations 'on the road' on how we can improve riding positions to improve comfort and reduce repetition injuries. When I mentioned your situation, the first reply was to find someone who has treated musicians or plays themselves!
    Last edited by Web_Parrot; 05-17-2019 at 05:05 AM.

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