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 Jean-Paul » Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:16 am

The heel insert is what I was referring to as an orthotic. They are a huge mistake in my humble opinion. It is not correcting the problem. In fact, all it does is make your body adapt and compensate rather than correct.

I didn't meant to imply that all chiros scam people. I have known many incredible chiros who genuinely want to improve their patients.

That being said, I have found myself disagreeing a lot with the approach and philosophy of PTs/chiros/ortho docs. See my above comment on the crack spackling. The place where your bones are out of line or your tissue is broken down is just where the injury presents... NOT the source. This is a pretty complicated concept to explain. As long as you're happy with the results you're getting and you can practice without pain that is all you need. Good luck!
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Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby Snickerbar » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:15 am

Thanks for the comment Jean! You seem to know a lot about this subject. I'll look into this more.
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Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby mezzo_piano » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:16 am

lagartija wrote:After reading the overview, you can go here and it will show pictures of guitar holding positions from various angles. Notice the picture from the back and the position of the shoulder blades. Also take note of the position of the pelvis in the side view.


sometimes i tend to twist my body to left a bit.


:merci: for this lagartija...
My Guitar, my only companion
In sorrow, in happiness, in trouble
Through my hands, fingers
From my heart
My guitar speaks for me
In every note, emotion comes
In every smile nor tears
I'm glad i have my guitar

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

Postby lagartija » Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:01 pm

Glad to be of help, Mezzo!
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Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby mezzo_piano » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:04 am

I just tried the posture on the site you posted last night on my practice and guess what? I didn't feel any pain specially in my shoulder joints. :) :merci:
My Guitar, my only companion
In sorrow, in happiness, in trouble
Through my hands, fingers
From my heart
My guitar speaks for me
In every note, emotion comes
In every smile nor tears
I'm glad i have my guitar

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

Postby mic2002 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:05 pm

I know this thread is quite old but I thought I would share my own experience.Last year I started getting pain in my right shoulder.Couldn't figure it out at all.The pain got worse until I couldn't sleep on my right side at night or even put on a jacket in the normal way.I could not hold my right arm above shoulder height.Playing guitar was severely curtailed!I was convinced my posture was wrong while playing and all sorts of things that I was doing wrong.I ended up going to a PT, who lucky for me, had experience of shoulder injury as well.Turns out the injury was down to a shoulder impingement,caused by basically an imbalance in the way the shoulder is held in place by the rotator muscles.The cure was to rebalance the muscles by exercise and some manipulation.Within a few days the pain was substantially reduced by doing a few simple exercises,and improved radically since then over a period of 3 months.On reading a bit more about this I have found out that guitarists, along with players of other stings instruments naturally develop fairly pronounced muscle mass on the shoulder by the very action of playing.It does not take very much to upset the muscle balance.In my case I had been doing some workouts with weights and using a cross trainer machine which was enough to upset the muscle balance and this caused the impingement.If you are a guitar player be careful doing arm exercises or doing work outs that are designed to strengthen arms.Seek medical help from a professional.I would be interested in any other resources out there on this.
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Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby AndreiKrylov » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:30 am

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

Postby lagartija » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:37 am

I know this thread is quite old but I thought I would share my own experience.Last year I started getting pain in my right shoulder.


Interesting that it was your right shoulder that was the problem. I would have thought it was the left shoulder or fretting side that would be unbalanced by playing guitar. Speaking for myself, the right arm doesn't do as much work as the left when it comes to effort expended further from the core. My right arm is closer to my body and thus it is easier to use the muscles of the torso. I still use the muscles of the torso to support my left arm as well, but since it is further from my body (in first position especially) the arm and shoulder muscles are also engaged... a bit more so than on the right.
For muscular balance, I've found that yoga is a good way to maintain strength and flexibility in an all around way.
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Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby lagartija » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:55 am

AndreiKrylov wrote:Yes if people do not care about their back, shoulders etc. but just want to follow tradition - yes it is fine!
If they don't want to play longer and to practice longer and with more results and less stress then it is fine !


I know that you have had serious back problems, Andrei (degenerative disk disease) and have benefited greatly from playing in a standing position.
Not everyone has or will have that same problem if they play in a seated position. There are many people who have played seated for years without pain or injury.
One position (just like one size) does not fit all.
You have made some very good points in other threads about people maintaining their fitness so that they can play without pain and I agree with you totally about that.
Having the core strength to hold your body in whatever position you desire (whether standing or sitting) is very important to avoid injury.
A strong and fit body can endure staying in one position for longer than a body which has fundamental weaknesses, but no body should stay in one position (even standing) for excessive amounts of time.
Should someone have a problem sitting while playing, then surely they could try a standing position as you use. For myself, supporting the guitar with a strap and standing would be more stressful and ultimately more painful because I had a fractured vertebra (T6 mid back just below the shoulder blades) and surgery. Therefore, supporting the weight of the guitar on my leg in a seated position is a better and less painful solution for me and a position I can use for many hours of practice (even when I was still wearing a back brace).

As they say...."different strokes for different folks" :D
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Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby AndreiKrylov » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:35 am

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

Postby Luis_Br » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:17 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:Why? If it is absolutely clear that sitting (ergonomically) is not good for you... and it is not necessary to sit with guitar, because classical guitar is not heavy and can be easily played with the strap...

What do you do to let the back of the guitar vibrate while standing up with it?
With my guitar, if I stand up with the back of the guitar completely resting over my body, it kills an important part of the guitar sound.
I've tried standing up and using a support detaching the guitar completely from the body, similar to Aguado's tripod (some pop players use it). The sound was ok, but I was worried with damaging the guitar soundboard with the support clamps. It was a nice exercise to learn freeing up some tensions I've had. But the equipment was from a friend, so I just tested it for a few days.
When some students have a lot of tension, the first thing my teacher does is to make them play standing up. He has one of those supports. Later on he teaches them to play sitting.
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Re: shoulder pain! Maybe It's my posture? Need help.

Postby AndreiKrylov » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:01 pm

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

Postby Luis_Br » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:58 pm

I don't think the tripod would make you totally rigid, the same with siting position. But if walking around is so important, then I have to agree with you.

About the sound dampening. Well, it varies from guitar to guitar. One of my guitars, the one I like the most, varies a lot. The other one does not vary very much. But I do not agree with the 4 point against 2. First of all, I can hear the difference clearly. I think I can explain it too. The 4 point in traditional posture are at the edge of the guitar, at the edge of the boards. The point in the back of the guitar when standing up, in my case, it was the surface of the backboard. If you think as an area of contact, then this back point is much bigger than the sum of all the others, as well as the side boards have much less influence in t he sound then the backboard. But maybe there is a way to put something between the guitar and the body to minimize the contact surface when standing up. Maybe it is just a matter of working it around.

I've been adopting non-traditional position, Galbraith's style. I've noticed in this position the sound propagation is also a little better because there is less contact area (there is no contact point with right arm) and the guitar soundboard is a little up to the audience.

Another thing to think about. I am a little perfeccionist. I think walking around randomly would generate non-controlled dynamics to the audience. Or maybe I could use it: to be louder I would just walk toward the audience, then in the pianisimos I could walk back. It is a new technique practice to stand up players: dynamic control through walikng instead of RH work... :idea:

About the shoulder pain and posture, there was another topic where someguy pointed out a nice exercise at youtube. I also posted some comments with exercises I would do to work on this:
viewtopic.php?f=71&t=64756&p=719585#p719585

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

Postby AndreiKrylov » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:56 pm

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

Postby Luis_Br » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:04 pm

I am not against playing in a stand up position. I think it might be a nice alternative. My questions were just trying to learn from an experienced player in that position.
But I just don't agree it is a mandatory alternative if you don't want body problems. It is simple, I know a lot of people who haven't back problems. I don't have back problems and I work the whole day in a sit position. Segovia practice for hours and hours and he had a busy career. He could play up to 90 years old without back problems. I don't think he is a mutant, he just knew how to do it without harming himself.
A lot of people have back problems and RSI, I agree, but it is because of bad posture and bad movements at any situation, standing up, sitting or whatever. The most relaxed position is not sit nor standing up. First lesson in Alexander technique is to lay down and learn to relax all body muscles. And several people take several lessons just to learn to relax in that so simple position. If you read Menuhin violin's method, he recommends several body exercises while laying down, to develop the sense for good posture, equilibrium and movements.
I agree siting for long periods may develop problems. But you can work on it too. I avoid practicing or sitting for more than 30 minutes without standing up and walking around for a couple minutes.I also drink water in this moment. And it is not only because of the body part. Playing for more than 30 min uninterruptedly is bad for the memorization process too.
In concert situation, you can stand up between pieces to thank the audience. Although I don't think it is really necesary, you could stay up for a minute and walk around talking about the next piece before you sit down and play again...
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