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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter #1
I've been feeling better and better over the last few months. Played a job last night with no problems, bent over with a little twist to put the horn case on the floor this morning and bang, got a mid level shot mid back. I hope it passes because I have my stocking day job tomorrow but this is frustrating. Normally I have less pain the day after a gig since my nerves are tired but this one little thing shows how I need to be careful 24 7. THis type of move never bothered me before? I do my swiss ball every night and still walk/stationary bike when I can. This kind of thing makes me wonder if its worth it? K
 

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Scar tissue

Don't know how old you are but if it's a previous injury get a massage therapist to work that area of your back. Ive had back and recently shoulder and neck problems from repetive working conditions and sitting or lying in bed whatching tv to the left.My day job is an electrician lots of overhead work or kneeling all day nothing in between very strenous because your working in a static position twisting especially on ladders.I don't get enough blood flow into the nessecary muscles that tend to seize up and bind on the nerve which causes pain.I'm 50 now and standing to long in one spot on stage bothers me. Lots of exercise and stretching and special core exercises, helps keep the scar tissue from rebinding on the nerves.It's basiccally caused by a lack of blood flow to a starved muscle that cramps or seizes up (oxygen)and can become stretched or torn and also binding on the nerve.A massage therapist specializing in active release techniques would be a good start hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thats not a bad idea. I"ve been lately using biofreeze on my chronic low back point to massage out the cramp/pinched area that always seems to bother me. This morning was a new thing but my back is at the root. K
 

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You could also try seeing an osteopath to check that you are not holding yourself in an uncomfortable position. The first time i went to see one, she made a few minor adjustments to my spine and joints and I walked out feeling like I fit in my skin like a made to measure suit.

Another approach would be Alexander technique. This was developed in the late 19thcentury by an American actor who realised that his loss of voice and tension before going on stage was due to his posture. Alexander Technique is about learning to hold yourself in a naturally comfortable posture at all times, even when sitting or lying down. There are groups and teachers all over, so sure to be someone locally.
 

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Back Problems are the worst. Been dealing with severe pain my entire adult life.

4 weeks ago I started a gig in pain and it went BAD fast. Even after 12 Advils, I just couldn'd stand any longer. I had to leave after the cocktail set of the wedding I was playing. My wife drove me to the emergency room. A shot of Demerol (Spelling?) and some other shot of some SERIOUS pain medication and spent the night in the hospital.

2 weeks later I was finally able to stand. This sort of pain happens ever couple years. Just when I thought I was all finished with these episodes - WHAM - NO WARNING!!!!!:cry:

So figure out your pain and get it fixed - If possible.
 

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I've had back problems off and on, for 25 years. It always went away after a few days, but could be very painful. About seven years ago, I started sitting on a stool. 90% of my back problems were solved! Last night I played a gig, standing, with low, dance band type stands, (leaning over). My back was KILLING me within an hour. IF YOU CAN- SIT ON A STOOL!!!
 

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Don't neglect the abs. If you do, your back will pay the price. ( K I know you are working on the core, this is just a general statement)
 

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I not a big guy and my bones have clocked up a few miles now.

Recently I bought a back brace and that has helped a lot in reducing
the killing back ache I used to get after playing my tenor.

I wear it while playing.
 

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Although they may not look cool, harnesses are extremely effective and, in my opinion, better fit for holding the sax on you. Relieves all of the stress from you neck and back and promotes better posture while playing. The strap I use is the Oleg strap. It is incredibly comfortable, and I'm a really tall guy. Plus, I think it is stylish as well.

http://www.wwbw.com/Oleg-Ergonomic-Sax-Strap-or-Harness-i84845.music
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've got an oleg strap and today my over the shoulder harness worked better but thanks for all the help guys. This is a new (for me ) injury and I hope it moves along by tomorrow. I tryed Ice and that was a mistake. I could hardly walk for an hour or so. Now that I've unthawed I'm drinking lots of water, standing as much as I can and sitting on my exercise ball. The stool idea is a good one and I have one and should always use it. Just no good reason not to. Whats so frustrating about this is that I felt fine at the end of the gig last night and just woke up tired today but not in anypain. Bent over to set the case on the floor with my left hand and got a bad mid back shock that set off my lower left chronic one. I walked around immediately afterwards and tryed to rub it out but it was way sensitive to the touch so I stopped. I did go to church and a pot luck (lots of sitting) and made it home okay until I forgot that ice doesn't help me. I should have used heat. I think this is musculerture not spinal but who knows? I had a deep bone scan a couple of years ago and no buldging discs, just osteoperosis. Anyway, thanks for all your kind thoughts and Bill that swiss ball has done my abs a world of good. It seems like its two steps forward and one back. today was my one back. K
 

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I have a lot of experience in the area of lower back problems. I had a body surfing accident in 1989, and I have had back surgeries in 1989, 1993, and 2004. (each of these was a so-called disk removal surgery, with the more formal name being a partial laminectomy and micro-diskectomy).

Here are some things that I know now, that I wish I had known back in 1989:

1. Whether you have had surgery on your back or not, find a good physical therapist. Good ones are hard to find, you have to ask around a lot. I was referred to a physical therapist in 1989 after my first surgery, but that one was mediocre. The physical therapist I found in 2004 was a godsend.

2. If you are having lower back problems, you probably need to stretch your hamstrings. Do NOT use the so-called hurdler's stretch to do this, because that method will put stress on your lower back. Instead, find a bare stretch of wall, put your back and head on the floor, and wedge your butt into the "vertical corner" between the floor and wall. Your head will be on the floor, pointed away from the wall. Your legs will be along the wall, pointing up vertically at the ceiling, with your knees bent. Now try to straighten one leg at a time. Hold each leg straight for some length of time - 20 seconds, 40 seconds, or longer. Repeat. Then straighten out both knees at the same time. Hold. Repeat. Then put your legs in the spread-eagled position (with your legs still against the wall). Hold. Repeat.

If you are unable to lock your knees with your butt up against the wall, try starting with your butt 6 inches or so away from the wall.

3. There are other stretching and flexing exercises that can help you tremendously. But be wary of sit-ups and leg-lifts: if you are having lower back problems, each of these can cause stress in your lower back, and potentially make things worse. I do neither of these exercises, but do different ones (to which my good physical therapist introduced me) to try to achieve the same strengthening benefits.

Not everyone who has lower back discomfort has the same root cause. The reason I am sharing this info here is that, if you can find a good physical therapist, they can teach you to learn a set of stretching and strengthening exercises that will help you (without hurting you), and that you will be able to continue on your own, after the physical therapy sessions are over. In my opinion, this is the thing you want to do, as opposed to getting treatment from anyone who wants you to keep doing repeat visits to their office forever.
 

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Keith,

Sorry to hear that you've joined the recurring back injury club. I think I've mentioned my own accident before,so I won't rehash it here. Suffice to say, that some injuries seem to leave a legacy of a "weak spot," for want of the correct term.
My back goes out in similar fashion toyour incident. Sometimes it can be something as ridiculous as sneezing, that will put it out.
My Doc says the pain is from the joint pinching the nerve and the body sends all the surrounding muscles into spasm in an effort to avoid further damage.
Who knows?
What works for me, is heat and massage. Trigger point therapy has been amazingly effective at unlocking the muscle spasms. I also cheat occasionally and pop an anti-inflamatory when things get too bad. I hate doing it,but my particular injury affects my ability to take a breath, so sometimes, it's medicate or suffocate.

The stretching, strengthening and posture stuff is a must. Also, see if your favourite lounge or chair isn't exacerbating the problem. Also changing to a firmer matress has helped a lot.

Good luck mate and my best wishes for a full recovery.
 

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Have your ever tried stripping your weight down really low. Like ribs jutting out low and your face looking gaunt and sunken in from so much fat being removed. I know your back problem won't go away, but I think this might increase your mobility. These chronic back problems you're having are obviously effecting life and your passion for playing, so doing with few less calories is a small price to pay to get some of this back.

And keep the exercise consistent, not now until your back settles down, but the aches and pains you feel and the fact that you're getting older is reason enough to make these things a basic priority in your life. If you've been to the doctor and there's nothing that can be done with surgery than I'd look into dumping all the fat in your midsection. I've seen guys suffering from back problems over the years and barring some major accident that wrecked their back I can often point out that they need to get themselves on a diet. If you could get yourself down to the weight that you were when you were in high school I'd like to see if your problems don't reduce over time.

And if you use a stool to play then I'd get an angle wedge cushion that will put your legs in a comfy position with the knees far below waist level.
 

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Dog, I'm home from work today and using the heating pad off and on. Heath, for a variety of reasons I'd like to lose 20 lbs. Thanks for bringing that into the ideas. K
 

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I get lower back/ sacro-ileac issues on occasion. I can't take anti-inflammatories due to allergies, so I typically get pain-killers prescribed.

I find that two percs, or two vicodins along with my Scotch works for me.:)
 

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Should your back bother you at a gig, try standing straight with your back against the wall. Then pull in your gut. While holding your gut in, lift up with your chest and shoulders as if trying to appear taller. Hold that position for about five or ten seconds, then release.
 

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I fell off a stage (during the day, while setting up) backwards six feet onto concrete in 1990. I couldn't tie my shoes for six weeks. The worker's comp wouldn't pay for PT, so I had to find my own exercises (I had a friend that is a physical therapist).

I still have pains from the pelvis to the heel once in a while. I can't take vicodin (it makes me itch). I just take massive does of Ibuprofen (like 1500 mg/day).

Back pain really sucks. Knee pain ain't great either.
 

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Keith and others who have chronic and intermittent back troubles,
I know how quick many men are to reject yoga, but I would urge you to consider finding a class with a well-qualified teacher who is accustomed to working with people who have various physical difficulties. Hatha yoga would be the general style to look for. Besides strengthening the muscles that are needed to maintain healthy posture (which, as one of the previous posters underlined, include the abs in particular), yoga increases flexibilty and mobility, is excellent for developing breath awareness and control (so is good for sax playing as well), and perhaps most valuable of all, develops a heightened awareness of body alignment or lack thereof, which can help greatly to head off additional problems. If you look around you at the way in which many people walk, stand, sit, slouch, etc, the wonder is that more of them don't have back problems. And I haven't even mentioned the philosophical/spiritual benefits of regular yoga practice!

There is at least one yoga video I know of that is specifically for persons with back problems and it is available from Amazon, among other places. The teacher is Rodney Yee, who is very highly respected among yoga teachers. And no, I am not a yoga teacher, nor do I have any affiliation with Rodney Yee. I am, however, a long-time yoga practitioner who is currently distraught because my favorite teacher has resigned from the facility where I currently take classes--but that's my problem!

Keith, I hope you continue to feel better and can avoid further trouble. Back pain can certainly make life miserable.

Best regards to you.
Ruth
 

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Sorry to hear of your woes, Keith. Stretches have helped me a ton, and:

kavala said:
Recently I bought a back brace and that has helped a lot in reducing
the killing back ache I used to get after playing my tenor.

I wear it while playing.
YES!! I have a simple elastic/velcro back brace that has almost eliminated my back pain. about $15 - 25 now. Cheap as a box of Vandoren Tenor reeds.
 
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