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Kenan Offline OP
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Lately the past 6 months I can't play much longer than 45 minutes sometimes less because of my back.
It's my mid-to-upper back that's hurting very bad.
Any suggestions from people who've had this before or still have it?
I'll usually sometimes spray biofreeze but it still doesn't help.
My sitting position isn't bad, but isn't great either I would say.
Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Kenan; 02/20/16 09:05 AM.

-Kenan
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Kenan,

At 13, I'd say this is a real danger sign. Make sure you tell your parents about it, and ask your teacher to evaluate your sitting position, including seat height and type of seat you use at home.


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Honestly, at your age, if it hurts you are doing something REALLY wrong. Are you doing any kind of sport on a daily basis? If not, you should, for example, go swimming.

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Kenan Offline OP
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I swim four times a week, monday-thursday.
I'm going for a piano lesson in an hour, I'll ask my teacher.
I actually just woke up from a nap and it's feeling better, but I still have to play at least another hour frown


-Kenan
Pearl River EU122 48"
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By sitting position do you mean at the piano or in general?
My posture when sitting on a chair is bad with a hunched back. My posture is good while standing or playing the piano but my back gets tired and I guess this is because I don't sit straight on the chair + lack of exercise.

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Kenan Offline OP
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In general but I've fixed it when I walk, but I just don't know where the pain is coming from, I rarely have a hunched back. At least that I notice.
I'll be back around 12:00 pm est, leave any replies if you'd like.


-Kenan
Pearl River EU122 48"
I've been playing piano with a teacher
since January '15
Studying under Eunmi Ko of USF as of June '16

My Youtube Channel

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I also love Astronomy
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Kenan, I'm sorry to hear you are having back problems. I think you are corrrect to bring it to your teacher's attention, but, don't be shy about seeking medical/chiropractic opinion as well.

I just want to affirm Ataru074's advice regarding exercise. Without knowing how fit you are, I will just say that keeping your body fit will serve you well in all of your endeavors. Since you are obviously serious about your piano, you have ahead of you a lifetime of placing piano-centric stresses on your body, whatever those stresses might be. Superb physical fitness can only help.

As the world becomes more competitive, the one's who finish at the top are incorporating care of their bodies into their training routines. I'm old enough to remember professional baseball players smoking cigarettes in the dugout between innings, professional bowlers and golfers being fat slobs whose technique had to accommodate their beer bellies, and all sorts of horrors that young people now have never seen. But now, the golfers and bowlers are chiselled athletes, with fitness as important a part of their training regimen as technique.

I also know a lot of us older guys frequently suffer from back pains that are DIRECTLY the result of lack of fitness. I have been an athlete all of my life, yet, I still suffer from not keeping my body core fit. My back is very strong, but my frontside is weaker (from lack of targeted exercise), with the result that my back is always pulling things out of proper alignment. Sit ups do the trick for me, but I am lucky in that regard. I just point this out to emphasize that the body is a complex system that works best when worked well.

Make sure you are fit, in an athletic sense. I hope you come to a satisfactory resolution to your back difficulties.


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Kenan Offline OP
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I used to be a heavy gamer, and sat at home for 2 years a while ago, now I hate that decision. I'm now fit, I swim regularly and run. But besides swimming I don't go out to maintain too much of a social life.
No problem with having friends, it's just my neighborhood are a bunch of elderly folks.


-Kenan
Pearl River EU122 48"
I've been playing piano with a teacher
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Studying under Eunmi Ko of USF as of June '16

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Kénan, what did your teacher say?
I don't know if this is related to your problem but my sister has scoliosis, a double curve. When she keeps her back hunched for a while she feels pain in the areas where those curves are. It also happens when she keeps herself straight, altough it takes more time before the pain comes in and with a minor intensity.


raubucho, I would avoid sit-ups, it can give back problems and the 2nd part of the movement (when you get "straight") works the hip flexor more than the abs. Do crunches instead even though I would avoid these too.

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All these suggestions for activity are great --

. . . except that there's _no diagnosis_ for the cause of the pain.

So -- before changing anything -- the OP should find out _why_ his back hurts.

. . . Doctor?

. . . Piano teacher ?

Between the two, they should be able to find a cause.

_Then_, figure out what to do.



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Hi Kenan, Maybe try some abdominal exercises like sit-ups so the abdominals and back are both strong and able to work together. And try being more aware of your shoulders -- tension/lifting in the shoulder can cause pain in the area you mention. Maybe video yourself and see if the shoulders seem high or distorted in any way.
If that doesn't shed any light on the problem, go consult a doctor or a piano teacher who is very expert in the area of physical issues/injury.

EDIT +1 to what JimF said, if you're only 13 your parents should definitely be aware of what's going on.


Last edited by hreichgott; 02/20/16 10:45 PM.

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I agree with JimF. Talk to your teacher about the pain you are experiencing right away!

It's a little hard to diagnose your back problem without more information.

Does the pain occur only while playing the piano? Or does it start while playing and then remains for hours afterwards? Where exactly is the pain? You mentioned mid-upper back. Is the pain deep or on the surface? Focused or widespread? Off to one side at all? Sharp pain? Dull pain?

If you stop for a few minutes and do a few back rotations (rotate very slowly, stopping at max clockwise, then rotate the other way and stop and hold at max counter-clockwise), do some arm rotations, does that relieve the pain or make it worse?

Describe your posture. Is your back straight?

We all struggle with trying to remain relaxed while playing. When I am learning a new song and am uncomfortable with the hand positions and fingerings, I go through all sorts of strange gyrations and stretches. I try to work out the fingerings that cause very little stress on my hand or arm. A piece that has been played for a long time and is "in your fingers and hands" should be relatively tension free. Try that out with an old favorite to see if you are really playing in a relaxed fashion and to set a standard to shoot for.

If the pain is in your lower back, I'm thinking posture. If the pain is in your upper back and/or shoulder areas, I'm thinking overly tense playing. There is another very real possibility, there is something medically wrong that really isn't possible for us to evaluate.

Personally I have never had any back pain while playing and will sometimes play for more than one hour at a time. The only pain that I ever encounter is with unusual stretches of my hand - over and over.

Last edited by AZ_Astro; 02/21/16 01:02 AM.

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Kenan, for such a young individual, I'd venture to say that your back pain is probably a combination of things; poor posture and the tensing up of your upper body, sometimes due to incorrect seat height.

"I rarely have a hunched back. At least that I notice."

You see, that's the thing...it's difficult to notice a slouched back when your mind is thoroughly focused on playing, so find a way to remind yourself while you're sitting at the piano that you need to keep a straight up good posture. A very simple "Post-It" note with the word "POSTURE" written on it placed on the fallboard of your piano would work well. In fact, I had to do something similar, because I realized some time ago that I often slouch while I drive, AND I also sometimes forget to affix my Handicapped parking permit to my rear view mirror when I park in a handicapped spot, which could render me a $250 ticket (I got a ticket for that only once, which was retracted because I am in fact a valid permit holder (who is sometimes forgetful of the fact)). Needing to do something as a reminder, I recalled that I owned a label maker[!], so (when I finally did remember, LOL) I made up a label and placed it conspicuously on the dash of my vehicle that simply states "Posture & Permit" - and for the mostpart it appears to work as a reminder of both issues.

In regards to the proper bench or seat height when playing, there is a general rule about it; as seated, your shoulders should be fully down and relaxed, with your forearms completely parallel with the keyboard, allowing your fingers to freely articulate the individual keys. This positioning will assure that the musculature of your arms and wrists are the only parts of your body doing any work. If you are positioned too low, your shoulders and upper back muscles have to be utilized to raise up and support your arms, which after a period of time will begin to strain and cause you discomfort. Couple this with any slouching and you've just compounded your issue.

Hopefully the above suggestions will help you to take notice and to remedy and eliminate your issues with pain.

Best wishes with your continued studies young man :^)

Regards,
Andy



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Kenan Offline OP
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Sorry for the late reply.
The pain occurs without the piano as well. It remains for an hour afterwards or so.
The middle of my back to my shoulders. The pain feels like I'm numb. It's not off to a side it's in the middle, no sharp, just dull pain.


-Kenan
Pearl River EU122 48"
I've been playing piano with a teacher
since January '15
Studying under Eunmi Ko of USF as of June '16

My Youtube Channel

My Soundcloud

I also love Astronomy
Joined: Apr 2015
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Kenan Offline OP
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My piano teacher, and a few other pianists told me I have perfect posture when playing, and wrists and everything.


-Kenan
Pearl River EU122 48"
I've been playing piano with a teacher
since January '15
Studying under Eunmi Ko of USF as of June '16

My Youtube Channel

My Soundcloud

I also love Astronomy
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,129
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What are you parents saying about it? Seriously if you practice sports and your postures is fine, I would have a talk with your parents, explain them to take you seriously and go see an orthopedic specialized in back issues.
You wouldn't go and ask a plumber about your interpretation of Chopin, in the same way you should go and see a specialist for your back pain.

I was playing rugby at your age and the only pain that did last more than a week was my broken nose.
Even with that level of impact I never had a problem sitting at the piano for hours and my posture was not perfect.



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