#1
Hi all,

I seem to get a lot of upper back pain (feels just to the left of my spine) everytime I play guitar. It doesn't matter if I stand up, or sit down. My band really started to get serious just before christmas and I had to leave because we were playing gigs all over England 5 days a week and my back was having none of it.

I'm 18, not obese or anything (I'm quite skinny really) and go on long walks frequently.

I don't tend to do any intense exercises on particular muscles (situps etc.)

My posture is quite bad, but I have been working on this for a few months now

Any help would be extremely appreciated
#2
Could be your posture, could be the guitar you're using is simply too heavy. Could be your guitar's playing position is bad for your physique, and the pain could disappear with adjustment of the strap.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
Either your guitar might be too heavy or you have bad posture.

ron666
#5
go see a doctor. or a physiotherapist (I'm not a chiropractor believer, but people can disagree). if you're experiencing back pain holding up a sub 10lbs guitar, your posture, playing position, back muscles or any number of other things could be out of whack. additionally, it may not even be with your back (I had a shoulder injury that caused serious lower back pain because of how I subconsciously corrected for the muscular imbalance)

a medical professional will be able to diagnose you PROPERLY and provide you with remedial exercises that will help alleviate the problem in the short term, and help you prevent the problem from recurring. it may cost you a little to see a doc or physio, but its a good investment. you'll see quick improvement, and you'll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you properly addressed your issues.
#6
Thanks for the replies

Yeah, my main guitar was a epiphone les paul custom, which weighed in excess of 8 pounds, and I had a very narrow strap for it.

I ended up buying a squier telecaster custom II (its basically a les paul in a tele's body, but its got more of a bite and is significantly lighter) and buying a very wide 3.5 inch strap, but still get that pain.

I'm gonna try some exercises, see how that goes, with any luck it's probably all down to me just being a lazy ass :P

If the problem persists, luckily I live in England so I can be treated on the NHS (although they are cutting back like crazy and wont even make referrals if your arm is falling off )

Thank's UG!
#7
hey man, i also suffer a little from what your describing and i find that doing Yoga (my wife is a yoga instructor) helps immensely.... proper stretching out the muscles after playing helps stop them becoming tight.
also, i play a les paul custom and for long gigs, certainly doesn't help but i got an ESP Ltd ec-256 at xmas and it's brilliant. i switched the pups for something more my taste but it feels like a les paul to play but it weighs nothing!! i can do a 2 hour show with that guitar and i have no pain the following day!

Chapman ML2 x 2
Dean Razorback Slime Bumblebee
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Epi Les Paul Custom (EMG 81/85)
ESP Ltd EC-256 (SH4jb/SH2n)
Jackson DKMG (EMG 81/60)
Epi SG Iommi
Squier Classic Vibes 50's Tele
Ovation MT-37
Peavey 6505+ 112
#8
Thanks syzee, I think I'll go dig out my sister's yoga DVD's and give it a try! :P
#9
I play an S series Ibanez so I can't exactly comment on the weight of guitars and my back, but I've never had a problem or pain resulting from playing. Besides just the weight of the guitar, there are other aspects that also effect your back when you play. One thing that gets taken for granted is that looking down at the fretboard while playing usually causes you to lean forward and thusly puts extra strain on your back as you're pretty much bending your whole back forward to get your eyes in front of the board to see the frets while you play. If you do already, try not to look down at the fretboard while you play and stand up as straight as possible. Another biggie, and one I've personally been responsible of doing, is not keeping your guitar strung too low. Sure it looks a lot better to have your guitar lower and might feel a little better but trust me, having your guitar strapped higher on your body will improve not only the strain on your back, but your playing altogether. Sure your friends might joke that you look like you're playing in the beatles, but at the end of the day, your back, your wrists, your shoulders, and your playing clarity will thank you.
Ibanez S2170FB Prestige + Crunch Lab
Ibanez RG1570MRR Prestige + Crunch Lab
Taylor 214CE
Peavey 6505MH + Orange PPC112 + TS9 + ISP Decimator + MXR 10-Band EQ

Watch and subscribe to my guitar ventures!
Search Nick Catelli on YouTube
#10
Quote by slippers man
Thanks syzee, I think I'll go dig out my sister's yoga DVD's and give it a try! :P


You should dude, give it a go!!...... don't forget your leotard though! :P

Chapman ML2 x 2
Dean Razorback Slime Bumblebee
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Epi Les Paul Custom (EMG 81/85)
ESP Ltd EC-256 (SH4jb/SH2n)
Jackson DKMG (EMG 81/60)
Epi SG Iommi
Squier Classic Vibes 50's Tele
Ovation MT-37
Peavey 6505+ 112
#11
I have experience with back problems like this (6ft 12 and insanely underweight)...

Subscribe to a gym, do some exercises for your sides and your back.
Also, pay attention to how you're sitting and standing.

Above all, though, get a good seat for playing guitar at home. Preferably something with an ergonomic backrest.

EDIT: In lieu of the gym, yoga works quite nicely. You may not want to tell anyone in school that you do yoga, though.
Ceci n'est pas une signature.
#13
Nope- 6'12" is a funnier height than 7'...and arguably funnier than 84"
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
You know, feel free to try any exercises, stretches, strengthening, etc. but I'll tell you -- bringing your guitar to your chiropractor/physical therapist will honestly be your best bet.

I say this because you could spend a year doing yoga and not see much in the way of results. Or you could do a ton of back exercises to strengthen things and not see much result. If you go see someone like a PT they'll be able to look at your posture & how the guitar impacts it -- then tell you the specific things you'll need to do on a daily basis to deal with it.

Just cuts out all the "what if's" and "maybe I should try's" from the equation and goes straight for the bulls eye...
Richard

I tried setting my password to "penis". It said my password wasn't long enough.

PRSi:
*ME Quatro
*CE-22
*SE Soapbar II
H&K TubeMeister
TC Electronic Nova System

PBT Native
#15
Quote by richardlpalmer
You know, feel free to try any exercises, stretches, strengthening, etc. but I'll tell you -- bringing your guitar to your chiropractor/physical therapist will honestly be your best bet.

I say this because you could spend a year doing yoga and not see much in the way of results. Or you could do a ton of back exercises to strengthen things and not see much result. If you go see someone like a PT they'll be able to look at your posture & how the guitar impacts it -- then tell you the specific things you'll need to do on a daily basis to deal with it.

Just cuts out all the "what if's" and "maybe I should try's" from the equation and goes straight for the bulls eye...



I can vouch for this. I'm not a PT or chiropractor, but I am a massage therapist who focuses on specifically musicians who develop problems. The very best thing to do is have somebody look at the way you are playing who knows about both the issues and is familiar with the instrument to some degree. If they are good they will be able to help you correct your issues without having to completely re learn how to play your instrument.
#16
Quote by Kerry_K
I can vouch for this. I'm not a PT or chiropractor, but I am a massage therapist who focuses on specifically musicians who develop problems. The very best thing to do is have somebody look at the way you are playing who knows about both the issues and is familiar with the instrument to some degree. If they are good they will be able to help you correct your issues without having to completely re learn how to play your instrument.

Yup! (BTW, finding a good LMP = best thing EVAR!)

Realize if you're playing 5 nights a week there isn't a whole lot of time to "train" in between gigs. Sort of like how sports players primarily practice in the off season. Once the season starts they're really just trying to recover between games.

Same thing holds true for you. If you knew a better way to stand, or specific exercises/motions to do before/after your gigs, then you'll be able to maintain. Otherwise it's more than likely going to require you "taking time off" regularly to heal...
Richard

I tried setting my password to "penis". It said my password wasn't long enough.

PRSi:
*ME Quatro
*CE-22
*SE Soapbar II
H&K TubeMeister
TC Electronic Nova System

PBT Native
#18
Everything said here is good advice. I'll repeat what a couple have said- raise your strap so it's at least at waist level if your guitar's slung low- I had some back problems until I raised my guitar and afterward the pain went away.

Also, maybe you can try taking a few days off from playing guitar. It might help with fatigue?
#19
Quote by syzee
You should dude, give it a go!!...... don't forget your leotard though! :P


Yoga is done properly in the nude.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#20
With a chick who digs yoga...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#21
Quote by dannyalcatraz
With a chick who digs yoga...


Perhaps you could borrow syzee's wife?

I dunno, just a suggestion......
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#22
Quote by Arby911
Perhaps you could borrow syzee's wife?

I dunno, just a suggestion......


should i move this to the 'for sale' section? AHAHAHAHA

Chapman ML2 x 2
Dean Razorback Slime Bumblebee
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Epi Les Paul Custom (EMG 81/85)
ESP Ltd EC-256 (SH4jb/SH2n)
Jackson DKMG (EMG 81/60)
Epi SG Iommi
Squier Classic Vibes 50's Tele
Ovation MT-37
Peavey 6505+ 112
#23
Luckily i'm influenced by guitarists who all have their guitar straps at a reasonable height: Jimi Hendrix, Matthew Bellamy, Tom Morello, so my guitar is always resting at a nice height

I'm taking all the advice, thank you so much for it
#25
id be interested to talk to somebody like james 'munky" shaffer when he's 75 or something cuase im not a guitar expert but everybody nos you shuldnt bend over with your back and he aslo holds his guitar in a more horizontal fashion than most players