Mid-back Pain

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tpter1, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Manny- I've been experienceing alot of muscle pain in my mid-left back recently. I think it may be associated with playing, because on days I don't get to put much time in, it is less. It was particularly noticable after rehearsals with the wind ensemble and after the pit orch rehearsal last night (bending to get mutes was quite painful). I am worried that I may be developing some bad posture habit without knowing it. I have been trying to be more conscious of posture and weight (of the horn) distribution. Being near the middle of nowhere, there aren't any Alexander teachers that I know of to consult. I've never had this problem before.

    I am also trying the "puppet" excercises, but today was a fairly busy lesson day, so I didn't get to practice as much.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

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    Manchester / London
    Some tips for backpain:

    My dad (who used to work making custom furniture) slipped a disc in his back a while back, and was doing "lying down work" as my Alexander teacher called it - he was prescribed it by a physiotherapist, so I think this is a good idea.

    Lie down on a flat, hard surface, propping up your head with a few books (not pillows - they push the neck too far forward). Once you're comfortable, raise up your legs so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are pointing at the ceiling. The idea of this is that your back isn't under the strain of gravity, but is otherwise the way you'd have it while standing. Your ankles / feet should be likewise: without the pressure of supporting your body, but otherwise in the same position on the floor. Your arms should each form a triangle, with your elbows pointing in opposite directions, away from the spine.

    Try to stay centred over your spine when you're playing - and use a mirror!

    Hope that helps (I am no alexander teacher, but I had a great one last year).

    Jack.
     
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Guys,

    I think Alexander technique is best done live. In text or book form it's too esoteric to do good and might just be confusing the issue.

    My best advice is to go play for a chiropractor (wear a t-shirt or be ready to ask to play without the shirt). I'm sure there's a chiropractor in your area and they have the same basic knowledge as an A.T. teacher but a different application. They can see where your muscle strengths and weaknesses are. There's an imbalance somewhere and you need expert advice to find it.

    ML
     
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Yes, there is at least one. Insurance does cover it, too. Thanks!
     
  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    "Recently"... how recently? A day or four? Could you have twisted somehow getting in or out of a car? craning around to see something behind you while seated? lifted something incorrectly? Any of these can easily strain a back muscle and cause muscle/back spasms that can last for a week or even more. (the older you get the more frequently they happen).

    One of the guys at work walked a golf course with his golf bag over the same shoulder....and ended up having to take a week off work (and he's no wussy 'cause he operates a greenhouse as his "hobby" job).

    Sometimes it doesn't take much to mess something up.

    Muscle relaxants (such as Robaxisyl or Robaxicette) are great for alleviating the cramping, cutting the pain, and allow the muscles to heal.

    FWIWCFM.... a 58 year old with a long back and a history of back pain.
     
  6. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Northern New York
    Jack- "Cheers", as you say across the pond! I will try that later after the young ones are tucked in. The mirror...I can practice in my daughterr's room. She has the only full-length mirror in the house! (But when she's up, of course!)

    Tootsall- It's been about 2-3 weeks. It really began to escalate about a week or so ago (we were on vacation from school and I played alot...a few hours a day). I still try to get about an hour in before school (on non-jazz band days) and an hour after, plus about a period (43 minutes) during the day when I have a break.

    I don't think it's horn weight, because clarinet, sax and flute produce similar results.

    Even on light days I notice a little...on days off the horn it's pretty much non-existant. I also notice it if I have to drive far.

    My wife noticed that I've been favoring a foot...a soft corn is making walking painful, and she mentioned that I might be favoring it when I sit to play, causing me to be off balance. That may line up with what both you and Manny are saying.

    Now to get some books...
     
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    are you sure? i think you should get a MD to check it out.
     
  8. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
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    Northern New York
    I had a doctor appointment already scheduled for today (but with a PA, so this is not a physician's opinion) so, diz, I asked. She looked at it (no extra cost, either).

    She told me, after testing me by having me bend over to touch my toes, put my elbows out, pull shoulders back, etc (trying to isolate) and feeling on my left side of my back (none of those tests could really isolate it, though), that she could feel where the muscle tension was. She mentioned that it may be due to overuse, and that after my playing commitments are fulfilled, that a let-up in activity should allow the muscle to heal. Muscle, when strained, reacts by tensing up. Allowing it to relax will give it time to heal. Should be no problem after that. Moist heat should help alleviate pain. If it still exists after my let up, physical therapy may be recommended.

    I am not sure I am too satisfied with her response, though.

    Jack- how long did your father do the book excercise, and how frequently?
     
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Tpter,

    Any yoga studios down your way? It might be a nice activity for you and some family members(?) to do together after you heal/rest up.

    It certainly wouldn't do any harm and might do you good.

    ML
     
  10. JackD

    JackD Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 30, 2003
    Manchester / London
    I can't remember how long exactly - but he was in and out of hospital too for a while, and I seem to remember him doing some other exercises too. He definitely did it every day, and I think it's something that's quite nice to do (very relaxing!) even if your back is in perfect condition. He continued working though, which involved carrying heavy loads etc, so that can't have helped him at all.
     

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