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#364070 - 10/08/06 02:27 PM Back Ache!
kraniak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 153
Loc: SW Florida
Sitting at the piano for extended periods of time has, since I was a child, produced a back ache. Specifically, my back muscles seem to burn from the bottom of my ribs up to my shoulder blades. Does anyone else experience this?

It would seem that burning muscles translates to over use, but that continual usage would result in eventual strengthening and a cessation of the problem. But this is not the case.

This is a problem for gigs that last more than an hour and definitely puts a damper on my practice and play time.

I realize this isn't a chiropractic forum, but I'm hoping other players have knowledge of this problem and perhaps a suggested solution.

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#364071 - 10/08/06 02:37 PM Re: Back Ache!
Demet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/06
Posts: 29
Loc: North Cyprus
Lots of years same problem for me until I started Hatha Yoga five years ago. Now my back problems have gone.
hope this help.

#364072 - 10/08/06 02:53 PM Re: Back Ache!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18127
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Kraniak, your best bet would be to see a physical therapist and have him/her teach you back and shoulder strengthening exercises. I did this when I was experiencing a pain in my shoulder blades, and I was given one particular set of exercises called W-T-V. You lie down on your stomach (roll up a towel under your forehead so you don't squash your nose). Put your arms out to your side in the shape of a W (elbows pointed down toward your hips, hands at shoulder level). Lift them straight up (back) in the air as high as you can, hold it for 5 seconds, repeat ten times. Then make a T-shape and lift up for 5 seconds, 10 reps. Then put your arms out in a Y formation and do the same thing. (This last position is a killer.) These exercises will strengthen your back/shoulder muscles, if you do them consistently. But I still think a physical therapist is your best bet. ;\)

Good luck. Back pain is no fun.
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#364073 - 10/08/06 03:32 PM Re: Back Ache!
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20231
Loc: Victoria, BC
kraniak :

I think the first thing you need to do is analyze how you sit when you are practicing/playing the piano. Are you naturally erect with your torso properly balanced, the shoulders not hunched up, the head not thrust forward and the feet flat on the floor (or on the pedals) in front of you? Bad posture can be the first and primary contributor to a pianist's back problems.

Video-tape yourself while playing or, if that's not possible, do as is done in some piano studios: try to observe your playing in a full-length mirror. Or, have someone knowledgeable observe you while you are playing.

If posture is not at the root of the problem, then exercises and a physical therapist might be the next step.

- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#364074 - 10/08/06 06:59 PM Re: Back Ache!
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1202
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Had the same thing. Best remedy is those Royal Canadian Air Force exercises...the best - cures everything except ephigitis...

#364075 - 10/08/06 07:00 PM Re: Back Ache!
kraniak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 153
Loc: SW Florida
Great suggestions, thanks for the ideas.

#364076 - 10/08/06 07:12 PM Re: Back Ache!
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
video tape yourself playing or put a mirror on side to check on your posture, which is the most important thing for pianists. i never got back ache and any injury due to playing piano, solely because i'm keenly aware of my posture and movements at keyboard and any type of pain or even just uncomfortableness will alert me to check on my posture and movements in order to avoid any further damage. so, i think you should check on your posture as the first thing and then isolate any movements which create any sort of pain or the kind and make adjustment immediately. if you need me to describe what correct posture is, i'd be glad to do so. if you have already known what correct posture is, then stick to it no matter what you play and how long you play and check on your posture constantly during your practice.

#364077 - 10/08/06 09:45 PM Re: Back Ache!
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i've had quite a bit of trouble lately and have found relief particularly from stretching in every which way and sitting differently. I put the seat quite low, add pillows, stick my legs, out, take the pillows away, raise the seat, change chairs.. I know that i have eliminated the tense posture that has cause my back to ache.. now i'm waiting for the healing to continue.
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#364078 - 10/08/06 10:28 PM Re: Back Ache!
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend Alexander Technique. Here is a link:


It's not a piano technique as we think of. I think the links will explain it better than I can.

I did it for a while and it helped me tremendously. Prior, my upper back was always tired all the time and no matter how I tried to find ways to sit, etc., it didn't help. It helps you learn better habits of holding your muscles and letting go of tension. It helps you become more aware of what you're doing. I find I can even breathe so much easier now. My upper back doesn't get tired at all anymore. I still sometimes tend to go back to the same old habits, but I know how to find that place or feeling back. It really helps with playing an instrument too because one can play in a more relaxed manner minus unnecessary tension that would get in the way of playing or lead to injury.

#364079 - 10/08/06 11:26 PM Re: Back Ache!
kraniak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 153
Loc: SW Florida
All this talk about proper piano posture. I wonder if Bill Evans had any back issues? \:D


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