Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My aching back!

I mentioned back issues HERE several months ago.  I am happy to say that things have improved since then!  The aches improved with manual therapy (and tennis balls on the wall, and time on the floor at home) to relieve the muscle knots.  Stretching the pectorals have made a big difference in posture.  I had been working on that for months, but didn't see real improvement until my second physiotherapist gave me a bigger, better stretch.**  Combining that with the "Fix the Shoulder Blades" exercise as seen at, and trying to develop new habits...  big difference.  I had tried the shoulder blade exercise before without much success, probably due to the tight pectorals. helped me to understand why my neck was bothering me, even after physio treatment - or rather, even more after treatment. It seems to be slowly improving now.

I am not going to blame cello playing for all my issues (I have mild scoliosis, probably inherited from both parents!), but I think playing has contributed to the muscle imbalances.  Currently reading more about that in The Athletic Musician by physiotherapist Barbara Paull and violinist Christine Harrison.  Still on my reading list is The Musician as Athlete by cellist Dorothy Bishop.  Another good book about taking care of the musician's body is Playing (Less) Hurt by cellist Janet Horvath.***  Here is an interview where she offers advice for musicians:
 You might be at a place where videos and books can help, but if you are already aching I recommend also seeking the help of a good physiotherapist who does manual therapy - wish I had done so years ago!

Check back soon for my other reason to see a physiotherapist!

 **EDIT: The stretch worked very well for my muscles, but unfortunately was a bit too much for the nerves. When numbness and tingling developed in my hands I returned to the physiotherapist who had me change stretching techniques.
***EDIT: Another article which gives injury prevention advice: A Painful Melody: Repetetive Strain Injury Among Musicians.

1 comment:

  1. To be fair, I should mention that I began seeing a massage therapist when our insurance for physical therapy ran out - right when I began the super pectorals stretch. I am sure that is helping me as well!