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Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling #2899763
10/13/19 12:05 PM
10/13/19 12:05 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 4
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mikeyjm26 Offline OP
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mikeyjm26  Offline OP
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Hi Guys,

I've recently decided to take up playing the piano again and am really enjoying it since I can play the stuff I am interested in. I've not played in over 30 years so I am still finding my way however after about 30-45 minutes I start to get an uncomfortable feeling in the middle back that sometimes comes round the front. I wouldn't call it a pain as it isn't agony. If I stop and rest for 10-15 minutes I can go back to playing again but it is really frustrating as I don't want to stop but I have to.

Do any of you get this feeling? Incidentally, I don't have a piano bench yet and I'm using a seat with a memory foam cushion but I am not convinced it is helping much.

Thanks in advance

Mikey

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Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2899764
10/13/19 12:09 PM
10/13/19 12:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 61
Oregon
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JB_PW Offline
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Oregon
I went through something similar, although I'm not sure if it's exactly the same. For me, that uncomfortable feeling would last for hours after playing. Turns out my posture was bad. My shoulders were sort of collapsing in towards the piano. I didn't recognize this myself; my teacher mentioned it at my first lesson. Once I corrected my posture, I immediately felt much better after practicing, and the problem completely went away within about a month.


Working on:
Bach Inventions, Mendelssohn SWWs (multiple), Encore Book 1, anything by Yann Tiersen that I can get my mitts on
Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2899768
10/13/19 12:13 PM
10/13/19 12:13 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,304
Canada
keystring Offline
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Look at how you're using your whole body in playing, including your feet. Check whether you are in a "posture" or "position" (a way many are taught) rather than being free to move and rebalance the whole body working together. I've often recommended the introductory videos of PianoOlogist - I used them even though I played piano as a child (self-taught) - where he goes through every part of the body, having you feel your way along, and then how the parts work together. Some of us have almost zero awareness. At least I didn't.

Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2899776
10/13/19 12:43 PM
10/13/19 12:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,765
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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And …. of course, exercise always helps.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2899797
10/13/19 01:33 PM
10/13/19 01:33 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 326
Southeast USA
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Progman Offline

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What height is the music desk on your piano? My upright desk is 34 inches. That is too low for me as 6 foot tall guy. Posture is your likely problem. If you get the music at the right level, you will naturally have good posture. Well, I hope it works out that well for me......My teacher didn't notice it because I play on her grand at lesson, and I have good posture in that case. I am making a temporary mod to my piano that looks OK and can be easily removed when I want to sell it.


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2899822
10/13/19 02:38 PM
10/13/19 02:38 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,102
Boynton Beach, FL
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Morodiene Offline
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I think it's just due to being in a fixed position for too long of a stretch. Try stopping every 10 minutes, or after each piece or task you are doing to do some stretches for your shoulders and back. I will often do this and it helps prevent strain.

However, do check the height of your chair - maybe take a quick video of your playing and post it here so we can see if the height is right. Also check that you have both feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart (or heel on the floor for pedaling), and you are resting on your sitting bones.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2899878
10/13/19 04:41 PM
10/13/19 04:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 4
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mikeyjm26 Offline OP
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mikeyjm26  Offline OP
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Thanks for the advice. I have raised the seat I am using although it is not for the purpose, it's basically an all-metal cafe seat, one that if you spend too long on gives you a numb bum which is why I bought the cushion. The height to the top of the keys is 29" and the height of my seat is 19 3/4" which I think is the correct height for me as it keeps my forearms parallel to the ground.

I am only 5' 9" and the digital piano came with the stand by the same manufacturer, it is a Roland FP-30. I have bought a height-adjustable bench but I'm not using it just now as it is my Xmas present lol

Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2899883
10/13/19 05:06 PM
10/13/19 05:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 638
Rockville, MD
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Rockville, MD
Echoing earlier comments - posture can make a difference, also "core strength". Are you a sloucher? As to forearms parallel, there are "religious wars" about proper height. Should the arms angle down from the elbows to the keys, up from the elbows to the keys, level with the keys... How far away from the keyboard should you sit? Should the elbows be angled away from the body? close in? Etc.

One size does not fit all. It depends on your body structure and mechanics.

You might do some gentle standing stretches towards your toes letting the weight of your body carry your arms down. Once you've stretched in that direction, you can try a squat that stretches you in a different direction.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2900005
10/14/19 04:13 AM
10/14/19 04:13 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 4
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mikeyjm26 Offline OP
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mikeyjm26  Offline OP
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Having a think about this, I am wondering if my discomfort is because I am twisting instead of leaning? I can't lean because the seat I use is too narrow and I'd fall off.

Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2900053
10/14/19 07:30 AM
10/14/19 07:30 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,506
Dublin
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Use your Xmas present now. If you can't sit properly, you're wasting your time.

Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2900105
10/14/19 11:14 AM
10/14/19 11:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 249
TomInCinci Offline
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Posts: 249
I don't know if this is of any value, I have herniated discs and my pain is in the lower back, but posture seems to make all the difference for me. If I'm putting 100% of my concentration into something difficult, which usually means failing miserably at it for a time, I tend to forget about posture and start to slouch. Then I feel like an idiot AND my back hurts. smile

Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2900201
10/14/19 04:13 PM
10/14/19 04:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 4
M
mikeyjm26 Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 4
Really appreciate all the advice guys, I've taken out the new stool and still getting the uncomfortable feeling after a while. What, maybe, seems to have reduced the feeling was to sit on it at the lowest height, the feeling isn't quite as bad as before but a wee bit more bearable. I also think I could be stretching a bit too much and that might be attributing to the discomfort.

Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2900206
10/14/19 04:33 PM
10/14/19 04:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 7,735
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by mikeyjm26
I've recently decided to take up playing the piano again and am really enjoying it since I can play the stuff I am interested in. I've not played in over 30 years so I am still finding my way however after about 30-45 minutes I start to get an uncomfortable feeling in the middle back that sometimes comes round the front. I wouldn't call it a pain as it isn't agony. If I stop and rest for 10-15 minutes I can go back to playing again but it is really frustrating as I don't want to stop but I have to.

Do any of you get this feeling? Incidentally, I don't have a piano bench yet and I'm using a seat with a memory foam cushion but I am not convinced it is helping much.

Due to a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 2011 and resulting permanent nerve damage, I couldn't sit for even 15 mins at first on my bench/stool back in February 2018, when I started. What made it bearable was putting this memory foam cushion on top of my padded piano bench and wearing a back brace at the piano. After a number of months, it seems as if my back has strengthened and it is not as bad as it was 20 months ago. I'm able to sit for an hour at a time now. I don't even need the back brace, just the cushion.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Uncomfortable Middle Back Feeling [Re: mikeyjm26] #2900210
10/14/19 04:44 PM
10/14/19 04:44 PM
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 61
Oregon
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JB_PW Offline
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JB_PW  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2019
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Oregon
Before I started working with my current teacher, I went to a physical therapist. Of course he knew nothing about piano posture so he couldn't solve my problem, but he did give me some helpful info. The muscles that were feeling bad for me, in the middle of my back, were the middle and lower traps. Lots of common exercises will work your upper traps (mine had adequate strength), but not the others (it was evident when he put me through some tests that mine were pretty weak). So you might find it helpful to look up some stretches and strength exercises for those muscles.


Working on:
Bach Inventions, Mendelssohn SWWs (multiple), Encore Book 1, anything by Yann Tiersen that I can get my mitts on

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