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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2003, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 430


Hey guys, after a recent injury of mine ive been spending a lot of time worrying about my posture, and its surprising how **** it actually is.

About a month ago I noticed some pains in my hands, so I went to the doctors and she said it was repetitive strain injury. A week of painkillers did nothing so I went and began to have private physiotherapy as by this time I had really serious pain in both arms, wrists, hands, and joints. When I told them my symptoms, which included random cold spots on my hands, sharp stabbing pains, aching, and burning sensations from my shoulders downwards they said that the cause was my back, and due to hours upon hours of bending over my guitar whilst sitting and playing.
Like a lot of people, I neglected the fact that my body is all connected and that anything you do will no doubt have effects in many places over your body, and I was under the assumption that I ****ed something in my hands, rather than my back. Anyways, they said that there was a never problem in the spine and it was stopping vital things getting to the hands/arms, this is what caused the pains and coldness. I was given a strap that ran down my back making me sit up straight all of the time, and it got me thinking as to how little I/people actually worry about their posture.

Now, im very conscious of the way I sit, and I always get up and walk around after some typing, or playing.

I was wondering if many other people worry about the way they sit, or carry themselves. Itís a very over looked matter, and imo something that if abused can lead to all sorts of problems, especially in later life.

Also, any articles anybody knows of that give advice on correct posture/things to losen your body up would be great.
Swirly is offline  
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2003, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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No replies aye....ill take it your all couch slouchers then
Swirly is offline  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2003, 09:39 AM
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Location: Toronto, Canada
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as a matter of fact...

actually, it's funny, I've been thinking about the same things lately. Your body is your shrine, and the most important thing you can do is treat it right.

There are many things that involves however, as you've discovered.
davester1234 is offline  
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2003, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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I feel my main thing is the way i sit when playing the guitar, i try to sit up, but after a while i forget and i just end up being hunched over.

I tried a more 'classical' position, by using a box (cheap footstall aye) for my left leg, and resting the body at a 45 degree angle on the left hip, smilar to how someone like Rusty cooley plays a lot. It certainly feels better, if anyone has an info on sitting positions, or possibly ways to avoid strain on your back it would be apprieciated.
Swirly is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2003, 10:04 AM
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Location: Toronto, Canada
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I find the best thing is avoiding the 'curved back syndrome' while playing.
You know, where your back and neck are contorted every which way.

Keep your back as straight as you can. Its hard of course, but it helps once you get used to it.
davester1234 is offline  
post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2003, 07:15 PM
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Location: Australia
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I actually worry alot about my posture. Except, when playing guitar. That's bad huh. But I find it harder to express feeling while playing if I sit perfectly straight.

But hey, don't do what I do. I have a sciatic nerve problem because of bad posture and lack of stretching or something. So sit straight! sit straight dammit!

wilch is offline  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 05:46 AM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: UK
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I notice other people's posture mainly because at 5'10" I'm not that tall but a lot of people taller than me don't look it.
The only explanation is that for some reason they don't stand erect as straight as they should.

Just out of curriosity did they reffer you to a chiropractor or at least to a physio?

dex is offline  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 07:25 AM
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Location: Canterbury, England
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why not try practising standing up, you'll have a straight back that way. If i ever feel stiff from practising i stand up for a bit. Also, practising standing up is good practise for playing live, as something that is easy sitting can become much harder when standing.
weserman is offline  
post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 09:28 AM
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Yeah, I usually play standing up.
The_Grindfiend is offline  
post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 10:57 AM
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A few weeks ago after playing for a while (playing sitting down), I got up and started to walk, then instantly fell over. I made my way down stairs and nearly fell down the stairs!
My leg had gone completely dead from sitting on it. It took ages to get it back to normal (it still felt tingly the next morning).

I've also had pains in my hand when I was playing keyboards in a band (lots of one-handed bouncing octave-ey techno stuff) for a while, from stretching. It got beter after a while though, and I just forced myself to take frequent breaks when practising.

Anyway. I guess that just goes to show that I should make more of an effort to think about posture. I should get used to playing standing up too..
hexa-db is offline  
post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 02:45 PM
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Location: Hamburg-HongKong-Miami: at work!
Posts: 599
I find posture extremely important and it's one of the first things I notice when I look at women, for example. I find it totally unattractive how nearly no woman German can manage to sit up straight. They all have this hunch that I, personally, find very unfeminine. Yet in Eastern European countries they all seem to pay attention to that and all sit up, very perky.

I find it important for myself as well, obviously, to sit up straight and not slouch. First of all, it makes an impression (even if it's just an unconscious one) to have somebody come up to you standing up straight as opposed to a slouch. Like a strong handshake instead of a limp, wet one. Secondly, it's good for your back!
babahi is offline  
post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 01:00 PM
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Location: ÷rebro, Sweden
Posts: 166
Well, this is right up my alley!

I've played classical guitar for about 17 years and at least three of my teachers have had severe problems with back, shoulders and hands. This has forced them to rethink posture and ergonomics. As a product of this I would say I have pretty good posture. I am currently in dental school and most of the students display horrible ergonomics, which will ultimately lead to early retirement, pain and huge costs to society. So, I thought I'd offer you some friendly advice on posture and ergonomics. Please pay no attention to the somewhat uptight tone that may present itself in the text below. I'm doing this because I think it would help a lot of players. Here goes...

1. Don't use a foot stool unless you're Michael Angelo of Nitro and plan on spending an equal amount of time practicing right and left handed. Slouching over a guitar with one leg slightly elevated will make matters worse. Think of factory workers who spend all day doing a gazillion repetitions of a single movement. Playing guitar for any length of time is no different. Instead plant both feet firmly on the floor and elevate the guitar by way of guitar rest. Theese come in many different guises.There are cushions that you put on one leg and then rest the guitar upon the cushion, there are supports that you mount on the guitar (often with a piece of adhesive tape). You'll find these at . Search for guitar support or guitar cushion.

2. Keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body. Think of playing guitar as sitting at a nice dinner table: don't slouch, bend forward, tilt your neck, spread your elbows ect. ect. Relax and for God's sake, STOP PLAYING IF YOU EXPERIENCE PAIN!!!

3. Your hands are extensions of your arms, so try not to bend them in weird positions. When I see most bass player's and some classical and flamenco guitarist's right hand technique drawing from the Francisco Tarrega technique, it hurts by just looking. Watch Garry Willis of Tribal Tech and you'll see a good example of an ergonomic playing position.

4.Try to keep the neck at an upwards angle like classical guitarists do. Why? Try playing a nice big sweep arpeggio in the position and now try to play it in the first position. Left hand feels different? It shouldn't if you keep the neck at an upwards angle. Again, the hand is an extension of the arm!

5. Practice makes perfect posture. I used to practice in front of a mirror to really see if I was doing it the way I way supposed to. Play for a minute or two then look in the mirror and see if you're still sitting correctly. This will take time and possibly feel very strange at first. At one point I felt like I was a beginner playing an instrument I knew how to play, If that makes any sense.

Playing should be fun and it shouldn't be a health hazard. Remember, pain is the body telling you to stop. You'd be well adviced to do as it tells you!

Mikael Jurman is offline  
post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 04:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 344
Man, speaking of posture, if sitting down incorrrectly can wreck your back, i can only imagine what some of these guys like Mike Mushok { Staind } and the guys from Korn are doing to their bodies playing as hunched over as they do.
Jupiter is offline  
post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 453
Hi Swirly,
I have some pointers that will assist you.

There are two websites you should check out:

Yes, I know....but the techniques contained herein are quite excellent. Matt Furey (the author of that site) is an *amazing* guy. Tough as nails, with a heart like butter, funny as heck. This stuff works, that's the best I can tell you right now.

Also, each and every one of us should be looking at:

His work revolves and evolves around the notion that tension in the body results in poor playing - and poor everything say I - and he facilitates an excellent way of holding oneself.

Also...I've done a lot of bodywork over the last sixteen years or so, utilised a ton of different systems....Pilates, Osteopathy, Alexander Technique, etc...and yoga is really where it starts and finishes. So go do some! There are plenty of places in Brighton.

John Petrucci's Rock Discipline video, as well as making you shred like a food processor, contains some very short and simple ideas about warm up that are useful.

By the way, how do you feel now?

All the best, stay well.
hamand is offline  

john petrucci , mike mushok , playing guitar , rusty cooley

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