Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
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Lawler
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by Lawler » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:05 pm

guitarrista wrote:One thing which seems to be missing from the discussion on back pain and strain is that exercising so that one's muscles are properly conditioned/developed compensates for any differences in strain between different postures. In North America, a lot of people have lower back pain not because of a particular posture at work, but because they lead a very sedentary and exercise-free lifestyle overall (thus typically have very weak back muscles). To me, the most useful advice to sedentary people is not how to give their muscles even less to work with (by adjusting to almost lying positions etc.), which likely leaves them even more atrophied, but to increase exercise and therefore build up their muscles through progressive overload and recovery. This would have the effect of minimizing and eliminating back pain in many cases, as the muscles would become strong enough to support the spine and the body. Of course, all that applies more in a preventive sense - if one already has severe back problems, don't go out and start squating with 300lbs.
Coincidentally, that's the gist of the NPR article I linked to 3 posts back.

Except for the 300 lb. squat-lift part.

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guitarrista
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by guitarrista » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:08 pm

Lawler wrote:
guitarrista wrote:One thing which seems to be missing from the discussion on back pain and strain is that exercising so that one's muscles are properly conditioned/developed compensates for any differences in strain between different postures. In North America, a lot of people have lower back pain not because of a particular posture at work, but because they lead a very sedentary and exercise-free lifestyle overall (thus typically have very weak back muscles). To me, the most useful advice to sedentary people is not how to give their muscles even less to work with (by adjusting to almost lying positions etc.), which likely leaves them even more atrophied, but to increase exercise and therefore build up their muscles through progressive overload and recovery. This would have the effect of minimizing and eliminating back pain in many cases, as the muscles would become strong enough to support the spine and the body. Of course, all that applies more in a preventive sense - if one already has severe back problems, don't go out and start squating with 300lbs.
Coincidentally, that's the gist of the NPR article I linked to 3 posts back.

Except for the 300 lb. squat-lift part.
:lol:
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guitarrista
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by guitarrista » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:39 am

BTW, I just found a 2009 systematic review regarding classical guitar playing and the risk of performance-related musculoskeletal disorders. It is freely available as a pdf at http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func ... Id=1530022.

Abstract:
Traditional classical guitar playing position — using a footstool for the left foot to elevate the leg — is considered by some guitar pedagogues to be an important risk factor for developing Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PRMD) among guitarists; alternative supports for the classical guitar have emerged in the past three decades as a putatively more healthy method of sitting with the instrument. This review study aimed to determine what research currently exists concerning classical guitar playing position and the risk of PRMD, and of classical guitar and PRMD in general. A systematic search was performed on the online database Web of Knowledge and the Performance Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) online bibliography, and a manual search was performed on the journal, Medical Problems of Performing Artists. The search yielded a total of thirteen articles concerning classical guitar and PRMD, none of which specifically address playing position as a risk factor. The quality of the relevant articles was low; none were constructed to allow for analysis of basic epidemiological measures such as prevalence, incidence or relative risk. This study found that there was no conclusive scientific evidence that alternative supports are healthier or even as healthy as the traditional footstool.
The references in it (to the articles that were found in conducting the search and review) as well as the discussion may prove useful for some; also the chapter on history. I plan to read it carefully myself.. :D See the table of contents below

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Last edited by guitarrista on Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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AndreiKrylov

Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:45 am

guitarrista wrote:BTW, I just found a 2009 systematic review regarding classical guitar playing and the risk of performance-related musculoskeletal disorders. It is freely available as as pdf at http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func ... Id=1530022.
Thanks for interesting link!
Those researchers should look on this forum - especially in ergonomics section:
there are endless complaints about back pain and other problems related with guitar playing (in standard, sitting position) :)

Interesting that myself I do not have and never had any kind of playing related injuries or problems etc. in my 47 years of playing, except general tiredness after playing many gigs in one day 8-12 hours total sometimes.
I have a back problem but it is not related to guitar - just a general ostheochondrosis probably related with my aging.. but when it is painful for me to sit any long period of time - to stand and move (with guitar or not) - I have no problem or pain.
I attribute that to several things.
1. General exercises and condition. - some exercises especially good for my hands - chin ups for example which I do everyday lifting myself 8-10 times at once - they really help me to stretch my hands shoulders etc.
2. I never force the sound, play lightly with hands relaxed.
3. Mental attitude - I do not force myself to play anything and only play what I like... (yet I could convince myself that I like something if I need to )
4. Standing/moving really helps me do not feel tired and be relaxed and concentrated on my task for a long periods of time. Sitting would make me tired fast and I am losing my concentration, and could not complete my tasks or have progress in it .

I am not insisting that "my way" is the only possible one, but just sharing my positive experience.
It helped me to make/create immense amount of music work . I would not be able to do it otherwise... :)

blackbrook

Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by blackbrook » Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:19 am

I've never seen a study or analysis of the physiology involved that came out in favor of conventional legs-90-degrees-to-torso sitting. The major problem with it is the pelvic tilt which puts stress on the lumbar spine while putting you in a position where it is difficult to use your core muscles to support it. The forward tilt of the orchestra chair mentioned by robert e is at least a small improvement.

I've lately been experimenting with playing in a saddle stool. It seats you higher and puts your legs at a more shallow angle to your body, feet on the ground, no back rest. As you might expect, it makes supporting the guitar particularly challenging. I've found using shelf / drawer liner helps (the spongy, rubbery, grippy kind with holes--I assume this is what Nick Cutroneo was talking about also). As it is I manage alright for short practice sessions, but it wouldn't be secure enough for anything more than that. I'm still debating whether to try a support device like the murata, or maybe a strap. I'm still working out some details of what guitar position is best for my hands' positions though, and want that settled before committing to more hardware.

A low saddle stool (you can find them on e - b a y for about $40, sold for salons and spas) might be a decent compromise for some.

Iain
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by Iain » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:10 pm

I have been playing classical guitar about three years using the footstool, the problem was after about
40 minutes my back starts to ache. I then experimented with various supports with limited success.

Someone on the forum mentioned the de oro support, I tried one the other night, I also changed
the guitar onto the right leg, it took a wee bit time to get used to.

The surprising thing was, after well over an hour, no backache, I was really surprised.

Ever the pessimist I am waiting for everything to go pear-shaped, and my back to start aching again.
Here's hoping I've cracked it.

ronjazz
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by ronjazz » Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:26 pm

Check out Alexander Technique or Feldenkriest (?) movement if back pain becomes a problem with guitar-playing.
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by keithwwk » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:57 am

A lot of simple yoga postures can heal lower body pain. Try and to persevere like practise cg skil. It really work.

I was using a murata support and now I no need it anymore back to foot stool.
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by Luis_Br » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:49 pm

Alfredo Escande teaches Abel Carlevaro's sitting position, on feet positioning to balance the back (with English subtitles):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtrfQd3r ... q-RlKzB1Zi
You see thinking about the back is not somethig really new. It's always been a puzzle. I think Carlevaro's way helps a lot.
More vídeos on this at the channel.
Alfredo was co-worker in Carlevaro's book "School of the Guitar".

Dave Stott
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by Dave Stott » Tue May 24, 2016 11:53 am

I used a strap while standing and sitting for years and developed neck / shoulder pain issues.

I'm addicted to the De Oro guitar supports and can't play guitar without them anymore.
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AndreiKrylov

Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu May 26, 2016 2:18 pm

Dave Stott wrote:I used a strap while standing and sitting for years and developed neck / shoulder pain issues.

I'm addicted to the De Oro guitar supports and can't play guitar without them anymore.
It is nice if De Oro guitar support is good for you!
But ... one could not stand and move using it...therefore it would not work for me.
Strap could be fixed and used in different ways and some ways (many) of fixing it on guitar are not comfortable for one's body.
Also guitar position and way of playing is very important.
For example one may have most ergonomic strap but because he/she constantly look on guitar fingerboard and left hand fingers - neck/shoulder pain is almost guaranteed...
Position of guitar versus body is important too.
Therefore plying with strap should be done properly together with care of all other aspects of ergonomics otherwise it would make no difference to play with footstool or strap.
But all these are personal choice - therefore anybody can freely choose what to do with his/her body and guitar :).

Jake Brawler

Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by Jake Brawler » Fri May 27, 2016 6:53 am

I often use a strap. Actually two straps. One goes complety around the sides of the guitar and has the strap pegs attached, A T-bolt holds the strap ends together with the strap peg by the neck joint. The other strap peg is attached to the strap on the tail end of the guitar with a thick pad. the second strap connects to the strap pegs no mods required to the guitar. Standing and playing is not so good as the guitars sound board is further away from you and I feel I'm reaching out too much to feel comfortable. Being seated with a strap feels better as I can squirm around on my but a bit but not loose position. I get carpel tunnel symptoms the moment the nut gets above my shoulder and guitar wrist tendonitis if the nut is below my armpit so I'm sensitive to the position and posture. The perimeter strap suspends the guitar higher on my left leg so I can lower my foot stool or raise my chair to ease my lower back.

AndreiKrylov

Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri May 27, 2016 3:13 pm

Jake Brawler wrote:I often use a strap. Actually two straps. One goes complety around the sides of the guitar and has the strap pegs attached, A T-bolt holds the strap ends together with the strap peg by the neck joint. The other strap peg is attached to the strap on the tail end of the guitar with a thick pad. the second strap connects to the strap pegs no mods required to the guitar. Standing and playing is not so good as the guitars sound board is further away from you and I feel I'm reaching out too much to feel comfortable. Being seated with a strap feels better as I can squirm around on my but a bit but not loose position. I get carpel tunnel symptoms the moment the nut gets above my shoulder and guitar wrist tendonitis if the nut is below my armpit so I'm sensitive to the position and posture. The perimeter strap suspends the guitar higher on my left leg so I can lower my foot stool or raise my chair to ease my lower back.
Interesting! I am surprised that you could feel difference when playing standing versus sitting with strap, while I am feeling no difference...maybe it is because I do not look on guitar when I play? Glad that you find it useful.
I never had any problems like carpal tunnel etc, therefore I am not sure that it is connected with playing standing.
Thanks for your input,

Steve Langham
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by Steve Langham » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:16 pm

Can someone explain how they manage to play without looking at their left hand. I find that even simple pieces I stumble over them if I don't look.
Is it a level of ability or particular practice?
I'm finding my upper right side of my back hurts and i think because my right side is turning to look at my fingers.

ronjazz
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Re: Standard sitting posture - good for techniques but not for the body??

Post by ronjazz » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:55 pm

Steve Langham wrote:Can someone explain how they manage to play without looking at their left hand. I find that even simple pieces I stumble over them if I don't look.
Is it a level of ability or particular practice?
I'm finding my upper right side of my back hurts and i think because my right side is turning to look at my fingers.
Stumbling over simple pieces means that you haven't really learned them yet. Most instrumentalists who achieve mastery can play without looking at the instrument, and the classical guitar is especially difficult to hold and look at without creating pain and stress. However, some of the great players (Sharon Isbin comes to mind) spend a lot of time practicing in front of a mirror, where they can really see what the hands and arms are doing without having to strain the neck or back. I remember early in my career practicing many hours in the dark so as to avoid sight dependency; this was a good method of learning since I was then one of the very few guitarists who could follow a conductor, thus I got a lot of lucrative pit orchestra work.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

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