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Posted By: BJenkins Back Pain - 03/17/08 11:03 PM
I have recently returned to practicing the piano after a two year absence. For some background information, I was attending Chapman University in Orange California as a Piano performance major two years ago when I went on a two year mission for my church. During these two years I did not have any opportunities to practice. I came home in the middle of semesters, so as of right now I will be preparing to re-audition at my old school by practicing quite a bit.

I am currently dealing with quite a bit of pain in my back while I practice. Before I left I had this same problem but now that I am back it is worrying me a bit more. I practice quite a bit, 6-8 hours a day. I would like to think that I am pretty relaxed while I practice. I have never had pain in my hands or wrists. The only place I have pain is my back. As I practice I usually work in hour blocks. I usually practice one piece for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break. I figure that the back pain is just a result of sitting up straight for a long period of time. However with this said, I have also read that there should not be any pain as one plays or practices the piano. So I am looking for some ideas, is this a normal result of sitting up for extended periods of time, or is there something that I need to fix?

I feel I am sitting at the right height and distance from the piano. When I sit I feel comfortable and don't feel any tension. I sit up straight, but not like a board, in a relaxed 90 degree angle. The pain comes after about two hours of practice and is in the lower back. It gets pretty painful after a full eight hour practice session. It makes it difficult to concentrate and I am worried about permanent injury. Two years ago I simply dealt with it, but I want to find out if there is something I should be doing differently.

Any suggestions are appreciated!
Posted By: signa Re: Back Pain - 03/18/08 01:12 AM
i would suggest you have someone else checking on your posture. it does sound like a posture problem, especially for the lower back pain. you could be sitting in a comfortable position, but it doesn't mean it would be the correct posture since the right posture wouldn't result in pain, back pain or any pain.

one thing i could think of is your sitting position and the way you bend your upper body forward (as we often need to when playing). if you lean forward from your waist, then that's the problem, unless you lean forward from your hip bones. in any case, either you check on it yourself or have someone else do that.

also, no matter how long you practice, you always need a break every half to one hour in between.
Posted By: BruceD Re: Back Pain - 03/18/08 01:56 AM
Recent studies have shown that office workers who sit for extended periods of time do suffer physically from that; work stations are being designed that allow office workers to continue their jobs both sitting and standing.

It would not be surprising to learn that your back pain results from so much sitting. However, it sounds to me that this problem is one that should be addressed to a medical practitioner, not to a group of (possibly) uninformed - however sympathetic - internet users.

Everyone's physique is different; people can react differently to physical situations and to physical stress. See a doctor!

Posted By: Akira Re: Back Pain - 03/18/08 02:09 AM
You might want to try strengthening your abdominal muscles.

Or perhaps, you might experiment using a chair with a back on it. Whenever you're not playing (maybe studying the music or are resting for a few minutes), you can lean back to give your back some relief.

Stretching exercises can also help relieve back pain and reduce the risk of injury.
Posted By: apple* Re: Back Pain - 03/18/08 02:15 AM
you can experiment with different postures and heights to get some relief.

i figured out my back pain was from pedalling. when it hurts i pedal with my left foot.
Posted By: miro Re: Back Pain - 03/18/08 05:24 AM
I read I book about what pianist should know about the body, and it explains that there is a part of the pelvis that when properly sit, it can sustain the whole body without tensioning any back muscles. It is not only about sitting up straight.

I have tried to follow the suggestions in the book and it did help me with lower back pain. Nowadays, I try to sit with my hip a little bit forward to the piano.

Posted By: JohnEB Re: Back Pain - 03/18/08 08:32 AM
I'd suggest getting an expert to check your posture - like an osteopath or other physician. I have a friend who hasn't played piano in about 2 years because of back problems - you should probably get it seen to professionally .
Posted By: keyboardklutz Re: Back Pain - 03/18/08 09:00 AM
Try putting blocks under the back legs of your stool. It is far more ergonomically sound.
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