shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Snickerbar » Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:08 am

Lagartija!, or however you spell it lol. I went to that ergonomic link of yours and may have found something that could help. Theres a picture that resembles my back position, (though I could be wrong) According to this article, I need to keep the natural curve of my spine. I'm not doing this. the article said that when the body is in this position your spine curves and twists to the left. This would explain why my shoulders are uneven. I think I'm on to something...I'll do some experimenting.
Snickerbar
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:41 am

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby lagartija » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:29 pm

Snickerbar wrote: I think I'm on to something...I'll do some experimenting.


Yes, Snickerbar, it is a journey and I too, am constantly experimenting with position adjustments and carefully listening to what my body (and my teacher) says.

In the martial arts classes I teach, we have a saying: "If it hurts, don't keep doing it." :lol: Because usually that means that you have a fundamental flaw in some technique and you have to find out what you are doing wrong before you injure yourself and can no longer practice.
You are very wise to explore this in the beginning as you develop your guitar technique. :okok:
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!
User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 7535
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Alan Stancliff » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:24 pm

Snickerbar wrote:Ok, so thank you all for the comments! I"ll try to answer a bunch of questions in this one post so here goes. Firstly, no I don't do anything laborious for a living or hunch over a laptop all day. I also use a normal backpack, not one that rests on one shoulder. I think I'm going to schedule an appointment with a physician soon. About the shoulder thing...I've been pointed this out before, but for the life of me I cant seem to get them even. One shoulder slumps it seems. This could be part of my problem, among many other things. Another piece of advice I'll try out is the methods of becoming more relaxed and aware of tension. Alan, you suggested tai chi. I suppose I could also try yoga, to be more aware of tension too I imagine.
JIm, about seeing an physician, I got an appointment scheduled and will hopefully get some feedback. Also, I have the only classical guitar teacher in town. Sadly he hasn't been able to help me a whole lot on my shoulder pain. Oh well.
I have a lot of things to try out to fix this from your posts! Thanks so much!


Hi SnickerBar,

Yoga is fine. But one word of caution: Don't push yourself out of your comfort zone. When you see some practitioner in some amazing asana (yoga posture), recognize that it took years of gentle but consistent effort to achieve that. What's important is progress, not the final goal.

Seeing a physician is an excellent idea. See if you can get a referral to a sports medicine clinic and possibly from there to an occupational or physical therapist who specializes in musical performance, that would be optimal. In the meantime, do check out this link and this link (clickable links) that Sister Lagartija refers us to.

I think I saw that there are some classic guitar teachers who give lessons via the computer and a web cam here on this forum. You might consider a few lessons from one of them. I imagine you can discuss their general approach ahead of time. You could do some consultation sessions with one or more.

Remember that good technique means finding the most mechanically and efficient way of producing the sound you want to produce without making other sounds. But first, you need to have a clear idea of what that sound you want actually is. Technique is the tongue in the mouth of the poet, and the poem is the beautiful statement that the tongue clearly articulates. The skillful tongue means nothing if the poet has nothing worthwhile to say. These words are meant to put technique into perspective...really study the music as music...even try to sing the melody line and mark out the phrases of the piece you play. Then you have a better idea of the technique needed to make the guitar sing.

Your ability to make beautiful music rests on having beautiful music in your head and then being able to articulate it in a comfortable and physically graceful manner. That means, among other things, without physical pain. I believe that physical fitness can go a long way towards achieving this.

When I looked at the site Lagartija referred us to, I was quite impressed. She reminds us that having a strong core is essential to good posture which is essential to graceful pain-free performance. Personally, I yearn for the day my hand heals from my arthritis surgery enough to enable me to do my 50 to 100 lagartijas (push-ups) again. I really miss my physical exercise routine.

Best of luck and a very happy new year to all. :bye:

Regards,

Alan Stancliff
Alan Stancliff
 

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Jim McCutcheon » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:37 pm

Great - hopefully the physician will have an answer or at least be able to direct you toward someone who can help.

Physicians, like guitar teachers, are not all equally knowledgeable about everything. There is actually a specialty in the treatment of music and other performing arts injuries. I published an article in a journal called Medical Problems of Performing Artists a few years back, so there is knowledge out there, but, like the guitar, you may have to search for it.

Good luck!
Jim McCutcheon
 

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Alan Stancliff » Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:35 am

Jim McCutcheon wrote:...... There is actually a specialty in the treatment of music and other performing arts injuries. I published an article in a journal called Medical Problems of Performing Artists a few years back, so there is knowledge out there, but, like the guitar, you may have to search for it.......


Hi Jim,

Great. I'm sure you have real expertise in this matter. Maybe you could make a copy of the journal article available to SnickerBar to take to the doctor's. They appreciate it very much when a patient shows a willingness to learn stuff and brings in valid academic research related to the complaint.

Image

SnickerBar wrote:Also, I have the only classical guitar teacher in town. Sadly he hasn't been able to help me a whole lot on my shoulder pain. Oh well.


Hey Snickerbar,

I have just been looking at Professor Douglas Niedt's website. He gives lessons via video, and he is quite impressive. Look at the sample lesson and some of the technique articles with accompanying videos on his site and see if he seems compatible with your learning style.

I'm quite impressed with him and in the few enjoyable hours I spent on his site, I learned a lot. You will too.

Regards,

Alan Stancliff

Mod Edit: commercial links removed
Alan Stancliff
 

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby jorpheus » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:25 am

In the same spirit, here a link to "Feldenkrais for Musicians", interesting possibly - I have no links to this person or any commercial interest; this is only to provide information for those who are interested.

http://www.feldenkraisformusicians.com/

Best wishes,

jorpheus
jorpheus
 
Posts: 591
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:35 pm
Location: Europe

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Snickerbar » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:51 pm

Jorpheus, that looks very interesting. If for whatever reason I'm unable to effectively treat my shoulder pain, unique options such as the alexander technique and feldendrais technique could be other options I could consider. It's good to know I lots of options on this.
Alan, It appears the link was removed. I found a douglas Niedt, he's around 50ish with bags under his eyes, and has brown hair. Have I found the same guy? Thanks.
Snickerbar
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:41 am

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Alan Stancliff » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:42 pm

Snickerbar wrote:.....Alan, It appears the link was removed. I found a douglas Niedt, he's around 50ish with bags under his eyes, and has brown hair. Have I found the same guy? Thanks.


Yeah, that's him. He's an old guy, I think around the same age as my kids, maybe a bit younger. He's at a conservatory in Kansas. It looks like the mods took out the link because it was commercial. :D

Sorry mods! I'm kind of new here and just learning what's acceptable.

Regards,

Alan Stancliff
Alan Stancliff
 

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Snickerbar » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:48 pm

HIs site has some really good advice in it. I like the idea of sending him a video, say of my posture, and him being able to give feedback. And at 50 dollars a lesson, that might be worth trying out. He also has some really good tips on a wide range of things. Awesome site.
Snickerbar
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:41 am

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby sphinx » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:24 pm

Snickerbar wrote: I started to get really bad shoulder pain about a year from now. It got to the point where I could no longer play... Is my posture still causing the pain? I'll be posting links to my posture on Photobucket...


Judging by the fotos and video link, your guitar holding posture is problematic. The guitar sits too far left (fretting side) and the neck is too low. You also seem to overtense the right shoulder (plucking side) while playing. (Other way round if you are left-handed)

Perhaps a guitar support that allows for a more centered guitar position (e.g. Ergoplay) might help. Otherwise I strongly advice you get a CG teacher, if you haven't. Best wishes.
sphinx
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby bergmann » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:05 pm

Did you tell us in which shoulder you feel the pain?
From the pictures I would guess that it is your right shoulder.

A few thing you can try:
1. Tilt the guitar a little vertical - the upper part closer to your chest.
2. Bring the guitar neck a little backwards.

The aim for this advice is to bring your right arm (the neck arm) closer to your body. It takes a lot of strength to hold your arm too far from the body.

Get a large mirror in front of you - then it is easy to check your own position.

Take a painkiller from time to time - having pain forces more pain.

allan
User avatar
bergmann
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:22 pm
Location: Kalundborg, Denmark

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Snickerbar » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:47 am

Hey Alan, I tried that simple exercise where you go from side to side with your hips and neck, while concentrating on breathing. I had a friend examine my slouched shoulders, and tell me if there was any improvement before and after the exercise. Apparently there was a big change. My friend said my shoulders and posture improved a lot. I didn't believe this little exercise could have that big of an improvement, so I asked her to grab a mirror. Well it seems it may have worked.
Now, my friend is not a guitarist, so I was wondering if I could send you a picture of my revised posture, and see if I am achieving a better posture. I'm going to start every practice session with this exercise to ensure, I don't fall into my old ways. If this little exercise is the key to fixing my unbalanced posture, and my unbalanced posture is the key to curing my shoulder pain, I owe you a very big thank you! Also, if you have any other similar exercises I would be very grateful to hear them. Thanks
Snickerbar
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:41 am

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Snickerbar » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:50 am

Hey abj, it's in both shoulders, but mostly in the right shoulder as you presumed. I'll experiment with bringing it closer. P.S. Is it only my (neck arm) thats too far away from my body, or is it both arms? thanks.
Snickerbar
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:41 am

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Alan Stancliff » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:16 am

Hi Snickerbar,

I'm so pleased my suggestion was valuable to you. I suggest you post a video here on the forum for us when you feel ready.

It's hard to judge posture from pictures. I thought your picture looked okay until I saw the video, and then I could see what some of the problems are. So a video would be great. Your lady friend is a great resource, as she can give you quick feedback about posture. Aim for feeling balanced and fluid in your movements. Think graceful dancing thoughts, or maybe visualize bamboo gently waving in a wind.

I am a big believer in exercise and body awareness. The exercise I gave you is actually a body awareness exercise. For others who are interested, this is a link to that exercise.

Breathing is really important. When you play, breathe deeply and naturally. So often, when I was teaching, I noticed my students held their breath.

To develop breathing, a walking program is fundamental. Try to get in walking every day, breathing deeply, with good posture. I also do squats, flat-footed, and push-ups. I don't go all the way down with my squats or push-ups, as I'm a pretty old guy and going too far down is too hard on my joints. So I squat until my upper legs are parallel to the floor, keeping a straight back, bending slightly forward at the hips for balance. In my push-ups, I go down until my upper arms are parallel to the floor. That's nose about 6 inches from the floor.

Try to exercise enough to get slightly winded. Don't do anything that makes your joints hurt, but a small amount of mild muscle pain is okay.

I am not into weights, but I sometimes use light dumbbells and strands. Unless you're an athlete or a body builder, you don't need to do superman heroics. Before my operation a few months ago, I was doing 50 push-ups and 100 squats, and now I've recovered enough that I'm starting it again.

Pull-ups are great too, if you can manage it.

If you can get body awareness, you can develop physical poise and relaxed breathing. I think those are great for acquiring good technique.

Sorry I did not respond to the PM, especially after I had invited you to send one. But I got very busy and also realized that others might be interested too, and so I'm glad you posted here. My wife became disabled 8 months ago, and I'm her primary caretaker, and that has limited my time, making it hard for me to respond as quickly as I would have liked. But I'm keeping positive thoughts in mind for you and your progress.

Regards y saludos,

Alan Stancliff
Alan Stancliff
 

Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Snickerbar » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:39 pm

Video on the way. I'll need a day or two I think. I'll also try to incorporate some other tips that people gave in this video. I always forget how important breathing is. I'll see if I cant become more conscience of it during my playing
Snickerbar
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:41 am

PreviousNext

Return to Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Tomzooki and 11 guests