Playing with hand/wrist pain


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Feb 12, 2012
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I am wondering if anyone has suggestions on techniques or any other hints to make it easier to play through arthritis pain in your hands (chording hand) and wrist (strumming hand)?
I have chronic tendonitis in my left wrist. I will often wrap it with and ACE bandage while I play and take ibuprophen before a gig.

A friend of mine who plays the cello and had chronic pain took a course on (if I remember correctly), the Alexander Method which looks at your posture and tensions while you are playing. I have never actually pursued the Alexander method myself, here is one video about it. You may want to google more info.
I concur. My hands get painful if I go on too long. Remember, everything in moderation. Rest as much as you play, or you might not be able to play at all.
Playing through pain is not recommended. Poco a poco is better. Wrist pain in your strumming hand may be due to: 1. median nerve compression or traction, esp in the carpal tunnel if your hand is not relaxed, or 2. repetitive strain, if you use wrist deviation instead of forearm rotation. Regarding the chording hand joint arthritis, it would be helpful to know which of your joints are reporting symptoms, i.e. base of thumb or in the muscle spaces of the palm. Do you have swelling or nodules and whre is the location of those features?
I use alot of "Icy Hot" cream for muscle pain. I just make sure I wash my hands before playing. Although I don't think my pain outweighs the pain my wife endures, listening to me practice runs and chord progressions over and over and over and over............and.........over.....
I am not a doctor, but when you get is a warning signal.. I would heed the warning and take it easy...nothing worse than to make it permanent or need the elevated pain....not that it will, but better to be on the safe side and get it checked out....don't believe in that old adage, work the pain out...believe
me I know...
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I think there are many ways you can play a uke. I am not sure of your preference, but I imagine fingerpicking or playing melodies with your thumb would put a lot less strain on your wrist than strumming. This is what my dad does.
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