Magnatone Giveawya

August Issue
more... Gigging AdviceUpkeep

How to Avoid Your Chiropractor: Playing Guitar Without Breaking Your Back

A A
How to Avoid Your Chiropractor: Playing Guitar Without Breaking Your Back

Tight Chest
Of course, if you’re sitting at a desk all day and going to play guitar all night, you have double the aches and pains to contend with. Almost everybody—guitarist or not—suffers from tight muscles in their chest, in comparison to shoulder muscles. “When we were running through the forest from ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my,’ we were using those muscles, pulling our shoulders back. We never use those today,” says Dennis. Chest problems can be amplified for guitarists who play turned in at a slight angle, as the ribs may sit higher on one side than the other.

“When people have a lot of pain in their upper shoulders, it’s usually because a rib has gotten twisted down on the front and up on the back,” Dennis explains. He suggests a simple stretch that can be done anywhere with a doorway.

Place your hands on a door frame at shoulder height, with your feet about a foot back from the doorway, and lean in. Do this stretch four or five times.

After that, raise one hand up about a foot and the other down a foot and lean forward, so that you’re stretching the upper part of the pectoralis on one side and the lower part on the other. Do this four or five times, then switch your hand positions. After stretching four or five times in the reverse position, raise both hands up about a foot and lean forward four or five times. “By stretching like this, it stretches the muscles and uses them to actually pull your ribs up on the front,” Dennis explains, “and it relaxes the muscles on the back.”



How to do it:
  • Stand in a door frame with your feet about a foot back from the doorway and your hands each at shoulder height.
  • Lean into the doorway and back four or five times.
  • Raise your right hand up about a foot on the door frame, and lower your left hand about a foot.
  • Lean into the doorway and back four or five times.
  • Reverse the positioning of your hands (right hand a foot below your shoulders, left hand a foot above).
  • Lean into the doorway and back four or five times.
  • Raise your lower hand to be even with your upper hand (both hands on the door frame about a foot above your shoulders).
  • Lean into the doorway and back four or five times.

The final step, which we’ll call “door frame pull-ups,” will then strengthen the shoulder muscles. Byrn illustrates:



How to do it:
  • Stand in a door frame with your feet directly in the doorway and your hands holding the door frame at shoulder level (palms facing back—your hands will be supporting your weight as you lean backward).
  • Extend your arms and lean backward, then pull your body back toward the door frame.
  • Repeat four or five times.

Post a comment to this article