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Discussion Starter #1
Walking was good, floor exercise was good, modified yoga was good but so far the best thing I've done is use the Swiss (big ball you sit on) ball for some gentle but effective stretch/strenghening exercises. Any tips from you guys?
(Ps I've also tryed alexander, feldoncris, Tai Chi, and chi gung)
 

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I've been practising yoga for 8 years, almost never have back problems.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Gently raising hand upwards, slip two ibuprofen into mouth.

Seriously I think all of those are good. One on the big ball that I had deoed by a physio:

Sit on ball. Hands on top of hips. Keep the hands nd upper body still and slide your lower hip area (pelvis I suppose) backk and forward. Kind of sexy, I had to laugh because it remnded me of a pole dancing move.

Which reminds me, depending on how bad your back is, belly dancing is supposed to be good. I bought me wife a belly dancing instruction DVD, unfortunately she then had to go in for a spinal fusion, and is only just recovered enough to even contemplate learning.
 

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doing a bridge , if you can, helps, or getting someone else to put their arms under your armpits and gently lifting you up, if you can completely relax your back it may well help, it works very well for me.
 

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The best exercise for me is laying on a floor with my hands at my sides with my lower back relaxed. After I do that I bring my hands up and elevate the top half of my body with my elbows and forearms on the floor. The next step is putting your hands on the floor and pushing your arms straight. I found these in a back book years ago and have been doing them since. they seem to help a lot for me.
 

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Keith,

All the reports I've heard encourage strengthening the core muscles within that area. Mostly abdominal exercises. The big ball is certainly helping that area but you may want to consider using an Roman Chair.

http://www.back-exercises.com/Roman-Chair.html


Glen
 

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I will concur. I will have lower back pain from time to time (which is usually related to the expansion of my gut, btw). Aside from cardio exercise (to get my weight down) I have found the roman chair exercises to be the most beneficial.

Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.
 

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Lie on back on floor
Lift legs over head,legs straight
Touch toes to floor,slowly
Bend legs,bringing knees up close to head
Drop knees slowly to floor
Hold as tolerated
Repeat as tolerated

This exercise stretches out lower vertebrae
Should be done slowly and only as tolerated
If you have a gut it is much harder
You will see that it gets in the way
 

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Posture

One thing that helps tons, and tones the core muscles is playing tenor in a position so that I am in perfect posture.

I sustain proper posture on tenor by using a Codera, AND a pair of leather shoes that I have had the heal lowered so that I naturally stand straight with the saxophone. On days (without the tenor) where the muscles are tight, the tendency is to lean forward, the shoes correct the posture. On days where the posture is straight,(without the tenor) the shoes tendency is to pull me backwards slightly.

There is a slight pull back my balance the weight of my Buffet Dynaction (heavy sax) counterbalances. On days where I am leaning forward naturally and play the sax, thus a double pull forward, it still corrects the playing posture. It also positions the jaw for optimum open throat. The pay off to this position is that it becomes natural after awhile. I have gained alot more power because of the right muscles relaxing. My alto playing I have to watch as the increased internal wind pressure can bother a disc in my lower back. I have being playing alto recently using a 4 vandoren Blue box reed on a meyer 5 mouthpiece. I will not play that resistant setup alot but its nice to know I still can for that really dense tone. On the tenor I went up to a Zonda 4 on a Link STM NY 5* from a Zonda 3.5. I'm still toying with that. It is alot easier to play the 3.5, a singing quality has emerged like the Morgans have, but with the Link tone.

I have a board set up with a milk crate, a small rubbermaid stool and some cut 2x4 wood and stretch in the zero gravity position for about half and hour a day. I also sleep with my legs raised about two inches, with a board under my mattress by my feet.

I am looking for ways to keep proper posture as long as I can day and night, thats the goal. On the computer I use the giant exercise ball as a chair, that way I am in constant motion. I do stretch over it and sometimes with the weight balls. For walks, I take a 3 or 5 pound weight ball with me and toss it up as I walk. It builds core because as it comes down its more like 3-20 pounds depending how high you throw it, and how much arm is extended whn catching it.

For walking shoes I use Garmont Nagevi XCR.

www.garmontusa.com/light-hiking.html

They somehow level in the heel, so if you step on a small stone, the shoe adjusts and or rolls slightly, because the sole is slightly rounded. The hips stay level and take pressure off the disc and muscles are not overtaxed if they get tired. They are designed for hiking over uneven terain. They work fine on almost any surface except and level poured concrete floors. Floors in a house are almost never level. The hiking shoes tendency is to keep you standing straight. I find on tenor they do not work as well as the leather shoes. I can hear it first in the tone and ease of playing.


Check out Ben Webster playing when he was younger. Thats the posture I'm going for. His left shoulder is raised a bit though. In theroy if he had a codera he could play with even better posture.
 

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saxphil said:
Lie on back on floor
Lift legs over head,legs straight
Touch toes to floor,slowly
Bend legs,bringing knees up close to head
Drop knees slowly to floor
Hold as tolerated
Repeat as tolerated

This exercise stretches out lower vertebrae
Should be done slowly and only as tolerated
If you have a gut it is much harder
You will see that it gets in the way
The suggestion by saxphil may help some people. But it may hurt people who have one or more bulging disks in the lower back. Consider the space where each disk resides, with one vertebra above, and one below. Any type of exercise where the knees or legs are brought up towards your chest is going to pinch the disk tighter towards the front (interior) of your body, and widen the space between the vertebrae towards the back of your body. This is the direction in which most disk herniations "squirt out".

Nefertiti said:
The best exercise for me is laying on a floor with my hands at my sides with my lower back relaxed. After I do that I bring my hands up and elevate the top half of my body with my elbows and forearms on the floor. The next step is putting your hands on the floor and pushing your arms straight. I found these in a back book years ago and have been doing them since. they seem to help a lot for me.
In case it was not clear, Nefertiti was describing an exercise that you do by laying down on the floor with your stomach facing down. This method will flex the back in the opposite way as the method described by saxphil, which means the pinching will encourage the disk to go towards the interior of the body. This makes Nefertiti's method generally safer, if you happen to be someone who has (or may have) bulging disks in your lower back.

Hamstring stretches are also important. For a technique that a really good physical therapist recommended to me, for stretching the hamstrings without putting a load on your lower back, see post #11 in this thread:
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=67478

Strengthening the abdominals (the core of your body) is also important. The best way to do this may depend on the person, and on what parts of their body are working well or not working well, so I don't think it would be useful for me to recommend the strengthening techniques I use (which were recommended to me by my PT).
 

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I have had a sciatic nerve problem for years.
One day I was at my friends house, he had an inversion table, it lets you hang upside down from your feet
I was cured the first hang.
I used to think I was going to go through life with the pain.
I am a new man...no more pain.

Thanks, Paul
 

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Here is my one exercise: Stand as flat as you can against a wall. Slowly move both feet away from the wall, while letting your upper body rest flat against the wall. Hold for 30+ seconds. I was told that this exercise tends to squeeze disks back into place and can be really good for very mild disk problems. It's great for me, and gets rid of tension too.

Please be careful about the Roman chair. I had many problems culminating in a successful back surgery 10 years ago. I too was advised that abdominal exercises are the single most important measure to prevent a recurrence of my lower back problems. But hyperextensions can easily injure you if you don't carefully build up to them. You may be in better shape than I had been (that wouldn't take much), but I was warned by two doctors to do crunches only. It took quite some time to work up to sit ups, and the Roman chair was verboten! Although I'm not a doctor, I would think that the relaxation exercise described by Steve (Nefertiti) should be doable by anyone; I also find it helpful sometimes. I had to build up to the bridge (SearjeantSax), but it also has helped me.

If you want more choices, consider doing the McKenzie exercises:
7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life: How to Rapidly Relieve Back and Neck Pain, by Robin McKenzie and Craig Kubey
ISBN-10: 0452282772

Good luck!
 

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I would think some gentle stretching would work great. I spent a good deal of time seeing a sports medicine doctor for pinched sciatic nerve that I had my last year of high school. Me and my sister were rotating are sports injuries and my parents converted one room in the house for rehab. So me and her would spend about an hour everyday after school and sometimes before school doing stretches. It was a board that you strapped into and used some pulleys to lift your legs straight up in the air and as you progress towards your head...ouch! It may be a little advanced for most people that have limited mobility.

I still think the best is to get your body moving. Sitting around is the kiss of death and a body that isn't used over time is like a car that's never driven. It starts rusting and falling apart. If the average person could loose weight and slim down to the size of say Gandhi after a good fast then most of these back problems would lessen. I'll take a massive reduction in calories and a religious workout schedule any day of the week over chronic pain.
 

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7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life: How to Rapidly Relieve Back and Neck Pain[/I], by Robin McKenzie and Craig Kubey
ISBN-10: 0452282772
This is the book I got the exercise and yes you do lie on your stomach. Believe me it works. I had two herniated discs and had surgery in 2001 it was so bad. i bought this book afterward when I started to have pain from being stupid(I lifted something heavy the wrong way. You would think after back surgery I would have learned my lesson!)
 

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I have arthritis in the low back. The Physical therapist gave me a bunch of stretching exercises that have and are working, tremendously. The one that works best is a leg stretch:
Lay on your back, with both legs flat
Stick one leg straight up, perpendicular, hold the leg at the thigh with both hands, point the toes toward your face, hold for 30 seconds. Simple yet effective. I do two groups of three, one in the AM, one in the PM.
 

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Long Moans? :twisted:

Sorry; couldn't resist. Seriously, I hope your back feels better soon. I've dealt with back issues in the past. No fun at all.
 

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When the lower disc starts bothering me, I lay on my stomach for 20 minutes, in the morning, on a level surface with my head and chest up like I am reading a newspaper. A bit like Nefertitis technique. The idea is the disc gets pulled back into the spine.
 

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I said this before.

I find a back brace helps a lot when playing tenor.
 

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I had lower back problems after I started playing bari. I solved my problems with a "freeneck" strap. Plus I got a rowing machine (water rower) that I workout about three times a week. After that all problems are gone.
 
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