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Leg and Back Pain for Seated Guitarists
Some guitarists who perform seated have their own host of pain problems. This is another area that can be improved on by stretching the muscles in the front (as shown in our third example) to strengthen the muscles in the back—and keep your shoulders from rolling forward and putting additional strain on your back. Says Dennis, “The straighter your spine is, the less strain you’re putting on your muscles—so sitting straighter by stretching out these tight muscles will help you sit up straighter for longer periods of time without putting a strain on the back.”
But the back and shoulders are only part of the equation. A right-handed player seated in a chair will tend to turn, with their left leg up and out, and the right leg down and back. This repeated position causes one leg to be stronger in front, while the other is stronger in back. Starting to sound like a recurring phenomenon? This can pull the pelvis out of position, as well as the lower lumbar vertebrae.
Stretches for leg pain can be as simple as stretching the quad on the weaker leg by pulling your knee up toward your back. In addition, you can pick up your weak leg further as you’re walking, or put a 1 or 2 pound weight on your weak leg’s ankle. These activities will strengthen the quad, which is important because, Dennis says, “We use this muscle to pull your pelvis back where it’s supposed to be.” You can determine the weaker quad by attempting to resist pressure placed on your knee in a sitting position. He adds, “You don’t have to stretch the hamstring and quad every day, just every day you don’t want your back to be out of position.”
How to do it:
- When seated, have a friend press on each knee, one at a time, as you try to push their hand up with your leg. It should be easy to determine your weaker quad.
- Stretch the weaker leg by standing, bending at the knee, and pulling the knee back toward your back—a typical runner’s stretch.
- Incorporate strengthening into your daily routine: pick up the weak leg further when waking, or wear a light ankle weight.