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Does Your Back Hurt?


MartinJ

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I read through the threads on this topic, but I didn't find exactly what I was looking for.

 

I'm 43 and in reasonably good shape; I jog or lift weights about 5-6 times each week. I'm about 5'-11" tall and weigh around 195lbs; truth be told, I COULD lose 10-15 pounds, but I'm not grossly overweight. I've never had any back problems that a regular regimen of stomach crunches couldn't fix.

 

Until now.

 

After I play (my Fender J-bass) for about 30-60 minutes, my back begins to ache. When I practice with friends for a couple of hours, it's pretty bad. Resting, stretching and/or weight lifting afterwards helps a great deal, but it still hurts when I play.

 

I've tried to watch my posture, move the position of the instrument (up/down a little), concentrate on relaxing, but nothing seems to help much.

 

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas?

 

Thanks!

C.V.: Snowboarder (1983-), Bass Owner (1996-), Chemistry Teacher (1997-) & Serious Bass Student (2003-)
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I don't know how severe this back pain is to you, but if it is really unbearable you should have your doctor look at it.

 

I know that If I am standing in one spot for a while (about 20 minutes or more), my back start to feel uncomfortable.

 

Maybe its just because I am used to sitting so much.

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I've had lower back pain from time to time, and standing with a bass does seem to aggravate it. Recently I've been using yoga to stretch and strengthen my back and find that it helps. After a few weeks of doing that, I'm a lot more flexible, and don't have as much back pain.

 

I have a "Beginning Yoga for Dummies" DVD that I started out with, which is very easy to follow and very gentle. And the instructor is very easy on the eyes, which helps inspire me to use it. :D

 

Bruiser

 

Bruiser

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I, too, have frequent back problems - staying with lighter (less than 9 lbs) and well balanced basses has helped, but I also give credit to the Comfort Strapp I use these days.

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Wow...this is strange. I don't do nearly the amount of exercise that you do (I work out at least 4 times a week), but I've never had this problem. Then again, I'm not your age (I'm 28). I think you really should go to the doctor if it bothers you so much. The other advice is helpful, but given your situation, I wouldn't wait too long.
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MartinJ...

 

Is it your lower back or upper back? Please describe a little more if you can.

 

I think that depending on where the pain is, will make a difference to get rid of it.

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

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I started developing lower back pain when I was about 35 after playing or being on my feet for extended periods in general. I, too have stuck to a weight and exercise ritual for many years and am in pretty good shape. Believe it or not, it ended up being my feet. I was fitted for orthodic supports and told to buy high quality shoes with cushioned insoles. I bought good shoes, put the orthodics in them, wear them ALL THE TIME and the problem cleared up. I am now 42 and still have no back pain whatsoever. I do have to have new supports made every 2-3 years, but it's well worth the price.
Later..................
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Originally posted by 61Pbass:

I started developing lower back pain when I was about 35 after playing or being on my feet for extended periods in general. I, too have stuck to a weight and exercise ritual for many years and am in pretty good shape. Believe it or not, it ended up being my feet. I was fitted for orthodic supports and told to buy high quality shoes with cushioned insoles. I bought good shoes, put the orthodics in them, wear them ALL THE TIME and the problem cleared up. I am now 42 and still have no back pain whatsoever. I do have to have new supports made every 2-3 years, but it's well worth the price.

I had the same experience and orthodics helped get rid of knee and back pains that I would get after being on my feet for an extended amount of time. Good quality orthodics can run $250 and up but as 61Pbass said they are well worth the price and then some.

 

Good luck

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I also experience back pain. I am young, but I play the sousaphone in marching band (the really big one that wraps around the players body, for those of you who don't know) and that causes MANY problems because that is 8 hours a week on my feet with this 30+ lb instrument.

 

However, I don't really know how to fix it. I stretch, work out (if only I had more time), and try to keep relatively little weight on my shoulders when not neccessary. The doc gave me some drugs that really help, and also put me to sleep. :bor:

www.geocities.com/nk_bass/enter.html

 

Still working on it...

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Originally posted by Connie Z:

MartinJ...

Is it your lower back or upper back? Please describe a little more if you can.

I think that depending on where the pain is, will make a difference to get rid of it.

... connie z

Connie,

 

Good idea!

 

I'll focus on it when I get a chance to practice for an extended period again...probably within the next 72 hours, and try to figure this out.

 

Thanks,

Martin

C.V.: Snowboarder (1983-), Bass Owner (1996-), Chemistry Teacher (1997-) & Serious Bass Student (2003-)
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Why not just play on a stool? I use a 4 sting Yamaha which is the lightest bass I've ever picked up, and play either sitting down or wandering around. I'd talk to a few doctor types, a chyro will tell you its a neck or back problem, a physio will tell you need to build up specific muscles and a podiatrist will get you some shoe inserts...
A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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I've had back problems, too, and have had a lot of luck with massage therapy. I get regular bodywork and it keeps the pain to a minimum. A good massage therapist can also show you specific stretches and exercises for your problem spots. Holding a bass causes all kinds of problems with your body, especially because of the odd way we hold and play the instrument which creates some twist in the way we stand. I've also gotten a lot of relief in my hands and forearms, which I didn't even realize were bothering me! :)
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I suffer from pretty bad back pains, it runs in my family, and aside from streching and exercising(which I could definately do more of) I use a topical rub called arnica. It`s an anti-inflamatory and pain reliever. Works wonders, I use it every show. We did a :mad: four hour show last night and I wouldn`t know what I would have done without it. Also, it comes in either a spray or gel and you can get it at any health food store or something like Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

 

Hope it helps

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Originally posted by clatteramy:

I've had back problems, too, and have had a lot of luck with massage therapy. I get regular bodywork and it keeps the pain to a minimum. A good massage therapist can also show you specific stretches and exercises for your problem spots. Holding a bass causes all kinds of problems with your body, especially because of the odd way we hold and play the instrument which creates some twist in the way we stand. I've also gotten a lot of relief in my hands and forearms, which I didn't even realize were bothering me! :)

My girlfriend is a massage therapist. Massage therapy does wonders for the little and big aches and pains in life

:D

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I have a bad back. I can trace it to a specific instance of trying to maneouvre a 4 x 10" into the back seat of my car. Playing doesn't exacerbate it too much but lifting even moderate weights (like a 2 x 10") will result in my having a slight adverse reaction a couple of hours later. The only times I've had treatment I was surprise to find that a very conventional physiotherapy approach was most effective - a chiropractor only seemed to make things worse.
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Along with the ComfortStrap that Bob mentioned, there is the BassBrace system (www.bassbrace.com). These may not fix your problem, but can help.

 

I echo 61PBass on the feet thing. I have flat feet (like pancakes on a riddle), and my calves and back feel it if I don't have good supportive shoes (though I haven't reached the pro orthopedic level yet).

 

I like the other suggestions as well. Beyond that, see a doctor or therapist who can help you understand why this happens, and what you can do to help. Stretching and exercise can do a lot, but you have to watch how you lift. I know - you're thinking about that bass cab. I mean EVERYTHING - when your muscles are hurting you have to rethink every move you make. For example, when I'm having trouble I don't lift the milk container off the table until I slide it next to me first. Is your seat OK in your car? Your chair at the day job? Everything counts...

 

My physical therapist gave me a small electric shock unit to relieve the pain (it doesn't cure anything), and that has helped. thankfully I haven't needed it for a few years.

 

Good luck!!

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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If the problem is muscle imbalance (the pain feels deep and achy and is aggravated after you play)than definitely go on a remedial exercise program

 

low back pain

-stretch quadriceps and iliopsoas

-strengthen abdominal muscles (its important not to recruit your neck muscles when preform this exercise)crunches are excellent; start off with 20reps 2sets 5x week; you can increase your reps on the 3rd week.

 

upper back pain

-stretch scalenes (to stretch your R side bring your L ear to your L shoulder), upper trapezius and levator scapula (armpit sniff stretch- to stretch the R side bring your nose to your L armpit also you will need to sit for this stretch tuck your R hand under your butt to isolate the muscle)

-strengthen inter scapular muscles; rhomboids and middle traps (just squeeze your shoulder blades together it helps if you flex your shoulders to 90 degrees you can also add some weights .5 to 2 lbs. 10reps 2sets 4x week; start w/ no weight than gradually increase the weight.

- the stretches should be held for 30 secs and performed in the morning and before you play******. AVOID BOUNCING THROUGH THE STRETCHES. You should feel a light stretch not a tear of the muscle.

 

If the pain is radiating down a limb (or tingling), your back goes into spasm, or if the symptoms are aggravated when you sneeze or cough than go see your doctor

 

good luck

Maria

(massage therapist)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all - I'm new here. I've been searching around for some info on a better way to strap up a bass (cause of a pinched nerve in my shoulder). Dr. Zarpov-Capasso, you mentioned something about the BassBrace, which I'm interested in checking out. The website looks interesting, but I'ld like to find some people who have used it, or what people know about. It would be good to get some feedback before I go buy the thing. Can anyone tell me about this thing? I'm also interested in another approach - does anybody know where that bigass strap the Santana uses comes from?

Thanks - jbb

Smile - it's contagious!
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When I first started playing I often had pain in my upper back. I was playing this huge Cort P-style bass. I went out and got the widest leather strap I could find. Bye back pain.

 

8 years ago I was in an accident. I'm 6'6" driving a tiny sportscar when I was hit from behind by by a van at a stop light. The driver was impaired. Didn't even touch the brake. The car was totalled. Years later after surgery my lower back pain is permanent. It seems odd but I have less pain dancing around than standing still. I keep my feet shoulder width apart, left foot in front, keep my knees slightly bent and rock back and forth. I sit on something when we play slow songs.

 

If the drum riser is big enough, I'll jump up on there. It's more flexible and the vibrations coming thru my feet to my back actually feel pretty good. Does anybody else do that or am I just wierd?

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yes, try not to lock your knees. it was a hard habit for me to break. i thought i had tried everything ( had lower back pain since '88) but you guys have given me some new ideas. ( orthodic supports) i've got a much lighter guitar now, and that seems to help somewhat, but it's basically a frustrating problem for me all of the time. you younger guys take note of the other cats having problems here. take care of your back and your body in general. you won't be sorry later......
Those who can,do. Those who cannot, usually run the monitor mix.
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Actually, when I sit down and play, I tend to hunch over the bass and have very bad posture, and it also moves my arms into a different position and I don't play as well. :/

 

I don't have back pain TOO much from playing the bass, which is a miracle since I spent two very painful years in marching band with 10kg of snare or bass drum hanging off the front of me.

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Originally posted by MartinJ:

I've tried to watch my posture, move the position of the instrument (up/down a little), concentrate on relaxing, but nothing seems to help much.

 

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas?

MartinJ - Stretch. Especially your legs, and especially your hamstrings and calf muscles (which tend to really shorten up on people).

 

I exercise 5-6 times a week too - running/lifting, and I have too little time for exercise and practice and gigs, and all the rest ... but stretching is KEY, and when I don't, I really pay for it. I think this is particularly true BECAUSE I exercise regularly.

 

Tight leg muscles will really alter the position of your hips/spine, etc. - I find that the looser my legs are, the longer I can stand without backaches.

 

My wife always tries to get me to go to yoga classes; I really resist "group" workout things, but perhaps you're a braver man than I am.

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Originally posted by jellybassbeans:

sorry "doctor" - I meant Zarkov-Capasso! :P

Its called the Edit button. Use it.

 

(Its the little quote thingee)

 

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Well lower back problems run in my family. So My back starts to hurt when Im playing my bass for too long, and im only 18!

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im not sure if it would help you or not but heres my story. last year i got hit in the lower back very hard. i was playing football and got hit by a fullback who had his head down running full speed. ouch. what worked for me was resting and those icyhot patches(they are the best thing ive ever used on muscle injuries). other than that, i have no advice except going to a doctor

 

good luck :thu:

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