How Musicians Can Prevent & Treat Spine Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 17, 2022

Drummer playing drums

Being a musician, either amateurly or professionally, may not seem like an overly physical activity, but you’d be amazed at how hard it can be on a body to play music in sometimes awkward positions for hours on end. A large portion of professional orchestra players suffer from chronic pain conditions, with different specialties being plagued by a variety of chronic conditions. One type of pain that is common among musicians, regardless of specialty, is back pain.

Spine pain is common among musicians for a number of reasons. Some are tasked with carrying heavy instruments and holding them for long periods without respite. Others simply stand and move around for hours during a session, and even the limited weight of a guitar can eventually take its toll on your back. And then there are drummers, who are seated and twisting their arms and their spine to crush that drum solo during the middle of a set.

We’ve helped treat high school band members and professional orchestra players, so we know how important it is that you work to prevent back pain and fully treat it when it develops. In today’s blog, we share some tips for how musicians can prevent and treat back pain so that their pursuit of music isn’t a painful endeavor.

Preventing And Treating Back Pain In Musicians

Here’s a look at a number of different ways you can work to prevent and treat back pain if you play music professionally or amateurly.

  • Practice Proper Body Positioning And Mechanics – Your form is very important when you’re playing. If you’re hunched over or leaned too far backwards because you’re trying to support heavy equipment, your spine is going to bear the brunt of this pressure. Sit or stand with your head above your shoulders and your music at the correct level so that you’re not leaning or hunching and putting extra stress on your spine.
  • Warm Up – Just like an athlete needs time to warm up before a game, you will want to take a few minutes to stretch and get your muscles loose before you jump into a set. Similarly, slowly increase your playing duration. If you normally only play for about 30-45 minutes, don’t try to crank out a three-hour jam session with your friends. Warm up and slowly increase your workload.
  • Take Breaks – It’s also important to take some breaks throughout your playing session. Take five minutes to shake out some muscles and give them a break. Staying in one position for too long can lead to prolonged stress on your spine.
  • Adequate Sleep – Sleep is imperative for the health of your spine because it helps to alleviate muscle tension, which can develop if you’re challenging your muscles when you’re playing music. Strive for at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to help limit muscle tension in your spine.
  • Stress Reduction – As we’ve talked about on the blog in the past, stress can actually manifest in the form of physical pain, as it can lead to muscle tension and other muscular dysfunction. Many people play music to unwind and destress, but for others who pursue it as a career or competitively, it can also be a source of stress. Work to limit stress in your life and find healthy outlets like exercise or meditation to help alleviate stress in a healthy manner.

And finally, if you’re still bothered by spine pain despite trying some of these tips, your best bet is to connect with an experienced spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. He’ll take a closer look at your lifestyle habits, conduct a physical exam and figure out the best ways to prevent and treat back pain that is causing problems for your music career. Playing music should be an enjoyable experience, but back pain can make the activity uncomfortable, so don’t try to push through the pain. Talk to a spine specialist who can treat the problem head on.

For more information or for help with your spinal issue, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today at (651) 430-3800.

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