A fair number of classical guitarists experience
back pain at some point during their career. After talking
with a number of guitar players, teachers and physicians,
I have come up with a list of things that may help to ease
- Check the height of your chair. Some players use a
chair that is too high. If this is the case, your right
leg (or left leg if you play left) might be in a position
that does not fully support the guitar. Check yourself
in a mirror.
- Make sure your chair is comfortable! Use a chair that
has a cushion, avoid using a hard plastic seat. A hard
chair will only cause muscle tension in your back (and
- Make sure your music stand is at a comfortable height.
Adjust your music stand so that you minimize neck strain.
Make sure you are looking straight (or just slightly down)
at your music.
- Do stretching exercises before, after and during your
practice. Bend yourself at the waist (left and right)
and touch your toes a few times. Do exercises for your
neck as well. The back and shoulder muscles are closely
related to the neck muscles. If you have muscle fatigue
in any of these areas, it may affect the other areas of
your body. This is especially important if you are practicing
every day or for long periods of time. It will help you
to avoid the onset of chronic muscle fatigue.
- Check your posture and make a conscious effort to force
your back to stay straight! If you slouch or "hunch
over" you will be almost guaranteed back pain. You
may have to sit closer to the edge of your chair.
- If after all this you still have back pain, massages
and hot tubs work wonders! Be careful with hot tubs however.
If a hot tub makes you feel good at the time but then
hours later your muscles feel even more stiff and sore,
this could indicate that you have an injured muscle that
is inflamed. REST and possibly an anti-inflammatory (like
Ibuprofen) is the way to go.
- Check the way you sleep. It is recommended that you
do NOT sleep on your stomach, but on your back or side.
Use a proper pillow that supports your head and neck.
The way you sleep should promote a straight and supported