#1
Edit: 10/26/2012-

So I'm still alive. The pain has gotten worse, I having very little sleep now due to the back pain and I haven't been able to play as I used to. I'm making an effort, but I think I'll have to make peace with my pain eventually if this doesn't get any better. Try to go to pain management and the sort. This kills me and I'm in severe depression. I really need a hug right now and/or support. Yeah?

Hello.

I've been lurking on this website pretty much since I started playing guitar around 4 years ago and it has helped me in ton of ways, technically and musically, in the guitar. During the first year of playing I pretty much played guitar all the time. It has and is my passion. From there I just been listening and playing awesome music.

After the first year, following a series of events, I started having this aching back pain. It wasn't much, and I still could play for hours without too much of a problem. But by the end of the session my back was burning and I had to rest. From there, I still been trying to aim for those Steve Vai-like practice session, trying to achieve great technique to be able to perform Guitar instrumetals ala Steve vai, Satch, Gilbert, etc. But it was getting a bit more and more difficult to play.

From there, the pain has only escalated, even If I've tried absolubtly everything to perfect my sitting position while playing and not employing too much strenght on the fingers to not form muscle tension. A little bit later, the pain evolved to being there 24/7, all the time: Standing, sitting, sleeping.

Been taking all kinds of medicine you could imagine, visited all kinds of doctors, to no avail. Even then, I still been trying to remain playing, attending music classes, but after around the 3rd year playing... It has been really hard to find the fun in playing...

At this point, If I start to play, the pain inmediatly wakes up and just starts munching away my energy. At that point I could only play an hour until the pain was unbearable. I asked my music teachers, My guitar teacher especially, for help. They told me to try doing my practice sessions in bits: 15 min practice, with 5 min breaks.

I tried it but after the 3rd section I was just tired.

On my 4th year playing, I pretty much stopped playing for 6 months, hoping that it would let my back rest a bit, while still looking for ways to help the pain. During those months, I've been playing on and off, thinking, "Maybe I'll be able to play"... Remember that I had my pain as soon as I start playing and leave the guitar in its stand. Occasionally, I would try to fight through the pain, and try to have some fun playing a song or two.. And I would, but after playing I would just drop tears from the pain.


Now, in the present, with the pain worsened, I had been recently inspired listening to my favorite guitarist, Joe Satriani, to pick up the guitar again seriously, forgetting the back pain. Im trying to be optimistic and trying to do what makes me happy... But sometimes its just heartbreaking and depressing as ****. Not been able to do what you love because of a physical impediment. Ugh.

So. Hopefully I didn't bore you with my story, and I would like to ask you guys if you had, by any chance, any kind of tips related to playing guitar with back pain. Any kind of tendency that has been proven to work or whatever. I'd really, really, really appreciate it.

(I guess I will do a TL;DR)

TL;DR: I've been having Chronic back pain for 3 years and counting and I have been forced to stop playing the guitar, which is the one thing I love and is my passion. I tried lots of stuff to be able to play guitar without breaking from the pain but, so far, it's been really hard, physically and emotionally. I appreciate any and all kinds of help. Even a simple "Hang in there", would be great for me
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
Last edited by Music MadMan at Oct 26, 2012,
#2
Man that sucks!!
I cant even imagine how hard and frustrating that can be. HORRIBLE situation...
But don't give up if it is your passion! Seriously HANG IN THERE man! I hope that you'll get better!
All the best!
#3
Quote by ZipperKink
Man that sucks!!
I cant even imagine how hard and frustrating that can be. HORRIBLE situation...
But don't give up if it is your passion! Seriously HANG IN THERE man! I hope that you'll get better!
All the best!


Thanks a lot man Really appreciate it.
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
#4
Keep looking for doctors, man. There's gotta be a doctor or two that'll know what's up and can help you. It's obvious from your 1st year in pain that you need some help. Look for some top doctors, ask the hospital for help.
#5
Quote by Lavatain
Keep looking for doctors, man. There's gotta be a doctor or two that'll know what's up and can help you. It's obvious from your 1st year in pain that you need some help. Look for some top doctors, ask the hospital for help.


I have, I have. Right now I'm in treatment with Vitamin D, since I had some vitamin D deficiency. Doctors seem to think that that was definitly the reason for the pain, but I'm reaching the last week of treatment and I haven't felt any change at all. If the vitamin D wasn't the factor, then a lot more doctor visits will be in the future
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
#7
What was it, a physical rehabilitation could help you but, I wonder why you sit while playing? I mean, you can try to play always standing, maybe. Btw what kinda guitar you have? Get a light weight comfortable guitar with a nice neck that will fit your hand perfectly, plus use a heavy leather strap. You know, also you can get a guitar seat if you want... Btw you talk about D vitamin, what if you take a long vacation and get enough sunshine for that? You know, get credit, or sell something, go for a 1 month vacation, see the sunhine ( not seeing enough sun is a reson for D vitamin deficiency) , and seriously drink milk.


Oh oh oh!!! Another idea, body building ? Under control of a trainer there! Would be helpful!
#8
^^^ Yeah, try standing.

I'm sure you've seen a doctor for proper advice. I've had issues with chronic back pain as well, if it ever starts creeping I just park my car further away from work so I end up walking 40 or so minutes a day.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#9
Buy this book, i bet you my Jem it will help.

If it doesn't you can come back and yell at me for wasting 20 dollars.
But knowing pain myself and many others with pain that have found it incredibly useful i swear by it:

http://www.triggerpointbook.com/

You already invested many hours , time and money in trying to find a solution, worst thing that could happen is that it doesnt help as much as you would like, but i have hopes it will cure you completely..
#10
If your back pain is strongly associated with playing the guitar, I would consider working with an Alexander Technique practitioner. The Alexander Technique is all about learning to recognize the ways that your body is holding tension so you can release them. It turns out that we're really bad judges of our own habitual kinesthetics - and somebody experienced in this can help you discover things about your posture/tension that could be causing your pain.
#11
Unfortunatly, Standing really doesn't work. If anything it makes a bit worse, that's why I usually go for sitting. I even tried playing while lying down in bed but it was a failure :P

As for the vitamin D, I'm taking huge bombs of 50k units of Vitamin D every week for 9 weeks now, which are suppoused to substitute the vitamin D that would be gained from diet or sunshine, so it shouldn't be a problem. Doctor said that, if the Vit. D levels don't change, their might be some problems with the intestine and the way its NOT absorbing the Vitamin D.

As for the pain, It's not really related strictly with the guitar. As in, my back still hurts if I'm not playing, but that pain makes it horrible for practice.

Right now I guess I can try that book, which, by the looks of it, it might be worth a shot. Thanks a bunch for the input, guys.

EDIT: Forgot to say that I also went to a rehab gym for around a solid 6 months, but, after a while, I really didn't notice any change at all. My back was still hurting after the session =\
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
Last edited by Music MadMan at Jun 6, 2012,
#13
Quote by Music MadMan
Unfortunatly, Standing really doesn't work. If anything it makes a bit worse, that's why I usually go for sitting. I even tried playing while lying down in bed but it was a failure :P

As for the vitamin D, I'm taking huge bombs of 50k units of Vitamin D every week for 9 weeks now, which are suppoused to substitute the vitamin D that would be gained from diet or sunshine, so it shouldn't be a problem. Doctor said that, if the Vit. D levels don't change, their might be some problems with the intestine and the way its NOT absorbing the Vitamin D.

As for the pain, It's not really related strictly with the guitar. As in, my back still hurts if I'm not playing, but that pain makes it horrible for practice.

Right now I guess I can try that book, which, by the looks of it, it might be worth a shot. Thanks a bunch for the input, guys.

EDIT: Forgot to say that I also went to a rehab gym for around a solid 6 months, but, after a while, I really didn't notice any change at all. My back was still hurting after the session =\


By all means tackle it from any way possible, nutritionally, mentally, physically, Hotspur's suggestion seems like a great idea to prevent any injury from ever happening again -indeed we are not so bright, we cant even walk or type on a keyboard without getting injured, yet we want to colonize space-

When you start working with that book, please let me know , so far it has always helped everyone i know in some way.. yours truly included.

Respect on your attitude, i can only imagine how friggin hard it has been to tame your mind through the process, you already know it, but again as a reminder, hang in there a little more, the solution and the healing process might be just at the turn of the next corner, and i have a feeling it might be sooner than you think .

Best wishes
Last edited by Slashiepie at Jun 6, 2012,
#14
That really sucks man I'm so sorry to hear that. I would be crushed if I couldn't play. My only suggestion would be have you tried a back brace? I don't really know if it would help but it's just an idea.
#15
@Salshiepie: Thanks for your kind words and your help, It really helps a lot ^^ Makes it a lot more bearable thinking there are people there to help you out And indeed I'll let you know when I get around to that book.

@Rush: Thanks for your concern bro, I haven't thought of back bracers since no doctor has mentioned it, but it might be worth a shot to mention it next time I go to the doctors.

Thanks again for being so awesome you guys. You have no idea how much I appreciate the help.

I was wondering if you guys had any kind of short practice exercises I could maybe try out so that my fingers don't rust off completely from the lack of playing, that really concerns me =\
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
#16
I guess you could run through your scales and make sure you don't lose your theory, their short and sweet but I must admit their not the most fun to play. Just playing some short songs can be fun if you have one that is mostly chords and one that has some more complicated riffs.
#17
Quote by Slashiepie
Buy this book, i bet you my Jem it will help.

If it doesn't you can come back and yell at me for wasting 20 dollars.
But knowing pain myself and many others with pain that have found it incredibly useful i swear by it:

http://www.triggerpointbook.com/

You already invested many hours , time and money in trying to find a solution, worst thing that could happen is that it doesnt help as much as you would like, but i have hopes it will cure you completely..

Nah man - If it doesn't help he won't come back and yell at you for wasting $20. He will be back for that Jem you just wagered.
Si
#18
Quote by 20Tigers
Nah man - If it doesn't help he won't come back and yell at you for wasting $20. He will be back for that Jem you just wagered.


for the first time in my life i found myself thinking: thanks god for Chinese guitar piracy and "prestige floral pattern limited edition Steve Vai Signature Jems" for only 120$ + shipping costs.

TS, jk! don't worry im confident it will help you!

For the time being you could try practicing picking only, if that hurts you could try practicing your left hand only, if that hurts too you could buy a cheap guitar neck cut it in half and practice trills with it.

Mental practice also helps solidify learning. Just imagine yourself playing a song or melody as vivid as you can, picturing the notes on the neck, exactly where they are , and how they sound.

You can also use your practice time to do some ear training , transcribing and increasing your music theory knowledge.

Best wishes!
Last edited by Slashiepie at Jun 7, 2012,
#19
Make them find out what the cause of the back pain is.

Get a referral to pain management.

If an activity is causing you pain, that activity should be stopped.

I don't know what your condition is, but speak to your Doctor. If it is something muscular and not operable (for example) pain management would probably enable you to live a normal life.

Speak to them, don't take no for an answer.
#20
@Slashiepie: Thanks bro! Yeah I would think it would be a good idea to do music theory, stuff that isn't so physical, for a while. But, still, music theory without playing music is kinda meh ;P But better than nothing indeed.

@Mephaphil: Trust me, we have been looking at it. As of now, there is various elements that seem to be related to the pain:
1) Low Vitamin D, which causes weakening of bone and muscle (Osteomalasia). This is suppoused to be treated with the pills Im taking.

2) Straight Back Syndrome: For some reason, my back is 100% straight, without any of its natural curves that it should have, which causes back pain. I went to chiropractors for this, went for a few months, but, in the end, it really didn't help outside of temporary relief (20mins tops).

3) Hypermobility: It seems that my articulations strech far more than they normally should, which can ALSO cause back pain. For me, as a guitarist, I also experienced some wrist pain but I suspected it was because of this aswell.

For now, My doctors are seeking the Vitamin D approach, and in a few days I'll find out my Vit D levels and see if they have stabilized and see from there. But man I wanna play so bad >_<
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
Last edited by Music MadMan at Jun 7, 2012,
#21
Possibility its a pinched nerve also.

Family member has almost identical symptoms, due largely to a pinched nerve in her neck.

No idea if it is that - but always something else to check out.
#22
This is sad to read

have you been to a chiropractor?

When my muscles go out of whack, an adjustment somehow fixes it all. Why? I don't know. From what I've gathered, micro spinal mis-alignments can cause ridiculous tension long term in your muscles.

If you have already done so and posted it, my bad. Doctors won't be able to help much, if you run out of all options, look to natural things (acupuncture, healing herbs maybe?)
It's spelled wiener.
#23
@Corza334 Apperantly, it's not a pinched nerve, since I did have some images taken and there was no evidence of such a thing.

Also, they said that I would feel a shock through the leg if the nerve was actually pinched, which I haven't felt. But still, I would probably feel inclined to revisit this if it's not what I'm checking out atm.

@AtomicBirdy: I'm sorry, it kinda is ****ed up but I'm actively trying to find ways to get out of where I'm standing right now, so that's why I'm here. So thank you for taking your time to post

I did go to a chiropractor, the details are in the other page, but pretty much what happened is that it only gave very small temporary relief that wouldn't last more than half an hour. And I also tried acupunture, but that quickly turned out to be not too helpful for the pain.

But this "micro spinal mis-alignment" thing is interesting, because, for some reason, along with the pain, my back cracks A LOT. And unintentionally, mind you, every time I stand up, sometimes when I walk or any kind of basic movement. But my back turns incredibly noisy and starts crackin' when I lay on a bed, as if all the bones go back into place or something.

This cracking is every day without skipping a single time. Even the simple movement of raising my shoulders cracks my back. I'ma google that stuff and ask the doctor next time I see him, Thanks a lot
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
#25
Quote by Music MadMan
@Corza334 Apperantly, it's not a pinched nerve, since I did have some images taken and there was no evidence of such a thing.

Also, they said that I would feel a shock through the leg if the nerve was actually pinched, which I haven't felt. But still, I would probably feel inclined to revisit this if it's not what I'm checking out atm.

@AtomicBirdy: I'm sorry, it kinda is ****ed up but I'm actively trying to find ways to get out of where I'm standing right now, so that's why I'm here. So thank you for taking your time to post

I did go to a chiropractor, the details are in the other page, but pretty much what happened is that it only gave very small temporary relief that wouldn't last more than half an hour. And I also tried acupunture, but that quickly turned out to be not too helpful for the pain.

But this "micro spinal mis-alignment" thing is interesting, because, for some reason, along with the pain, my back cracks A LOT. And unintentionally, mind you, every time I stand up, sometimes when I walk or any kind of basic movement. But my back turns incredibly noisy and starts crackin' when I lay on a bed, as if all the bones go back into place or something.

This cracking is every day without skipping a single time. Even the simple movement of raising my shoulders cracks my back. I'ma google that stuff and ask the doctor next time I see him, Thanks a lot



Sounds like myofascial pain, btw im with birdy on that one, it is important to know not every chiropractor is good, there are actually many dumbasses out there, but the good ones are like magicians..

Also have in mind Doctors rarely ever fix those kind of problems, you're better off trying different chiropractors and acupuncturists, especially since you already went to the doctor and he discarded the possibility of a misaligned disk or pinched nerve.
#26
Haven't read any other posts than the OP, so I'm sorry if this has been answered, but are you doing physical exercises for your back (and body as a whole)? Seeing the amount of time you've had this I suppose you have, but I have to ask, because if you haven't I believe a year of focus on rehabilitation with strengthening exercises might be the trick.

I'm kind of in the same position, having trouble with my shoulders, which I've had for about 18 months, I do still believe I can become 100% again though. But I know how it tears a lot on your mind...
#27
Well I'm here back again. Did a little edit to the OP, but basicly what's happening is that the pain has gotten worse, I've had to leave tons of classes of the semester due to the pain, haven't been to play still. Going to a Pain Management Doctor soon, but going to have to make peace with accepting that the pain won't go away.

I'm in severe depression and just sad as ****. The only thing, aside from the little things in life, that makes me happy is actually listening to music and thinking of being able to pick up the guitar again and play on a gig.

I really need a hug right now.

And for reference, I've gone to every kind of doctor you could imagine, including chiropractors, acupunture and the like.
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
Last edited by Music MadMan at Oct 26, 2012,
#28
^^^ That sucks dude. This may be a silly question, but have you tried walking or seeing a sports rehab centre? I found exercise really helped when I slipped a disc in my spine.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#29
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ That sucks dude. This may be a silly question, but have you tried walking or seeing a sports rehab centre? I found exercise really helped when I slipped a disc in my spine.


Yeah. It was one the very first things I did, I entered into rebah gyms + massage therapy sessions for about 3-4 months straight. I felt I was toning my muscles, and the sessions helped me for a while (as in, 30 mins), but my pain stayed the same, so I decided to move on.

I'm currently *trying* to do some swimming 30mins to 1 hour a day, around 4 days a week, but my body responds with a very heavy fatigue and muscle weakness that leaves me with worse pain than before swimming. Excercise in general seems to be more detrimental to me, from past experiences and now.
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
#30
Quote by Music MadMan
Yeah. It was one the very first things I did, I entered into rebah gyms + massage therapy sessions for about 3-4 months straight. I felt I was toning my muscles, and the sessions helped me for a while (as in, 30 mins), but my pain stayed the same, so I decided to move on.

I'm currently *trying* to do some swimming 30mins to 1 hour a day, around 4 days a week, but my body responds with a very heavy fatigue and muscle weakness that leaves me with worse pain than before swimming. Excercise in general seems to be more detrimental to me, from past experiences and now.


Have you seen a doctor? Seems like you may require surgery Just to get back to anything normal
song stuck in my head today


Last edited by lbc_sublime at Oct 26, 2012,
#31
Quote by lbc_sublime
Have you seen a doctor? Seems like you may require surgery Just to get back to anything normal


Yeah, pretty much any doctor. The thing is that there doesn't seem to be any evidence of a diagnostic that will actually require surgery. After 4 years, there isn't even a diagnosis. They still don't know what the **** I have.
Guitar:
PRS SE Custom
Amp:
Roland Cube 60w
Pedal:
GT-10
#32
Quote by Music MadMan
Yeah, pretty much any doctor. The thing is that there doesn't seem to be any evidence of a diagnostic that will actually require surgery. After 4 years, there isn't even a diagnosis. They still don't know what the **** I have.


Seems pretty common(back problems with no diagnosis) I had lower back problems so bad I couldn't even sit up and after a week or so it diminished then my Sciatic nerve gave me pain fur a couple months and now kick boxing seems to have cured it just exersize..

Do you live in the states?
song stuck in my head today


Last edited by lbc_sublime at Oct 26, 2012,
#34
1)Did you try the Trigger Point Therapy?

2)How are your abdominals muscles doing?
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Oct 28, 2012,