I’ve heard a lot of office workers have sciatic pain and they would normally conclude that sitting long all day long causes it. People standing all day long can have the same problem. I heard violinists complained about the pain and contributed it to long hour sitting on hard orchestra chairs. Even joggers complain about the same thing. I don’t know why all the other people have this problem, but I may find what went wrong with mine.
I play violin in the mornings and evenings after sitting in an office all day long. The first time I experienced sciatic pain on my left side was shortly after I had started playing violin again last year, after 20 years without touching the guy. X-ray shows that my vertebrate is entirely fine so my GP and physiotherapist both believed the problem being that the sciatic nerve was pressed by the left piriformis muscle, which was very stiff due to sitting in the office all day long. I rearranged my office setting so that I could stand most of the time when I was working, but the pain didn’t go away. The physiotherapist I saw is one of the best in town but his treatment only provided temporary relief. I did stretching and various exercises recommended by the fine therapist but no obvious improvement. I stopped the treatment and the pain remained until a little over 3 weeks ago when I started my AT lessons. The pain was diminishing within a week and now it is pretty much gone. I’m sitting all day long in office, workshops, conferences, and concerts without problem. My violin practice is much more focused now and I certainly enjoy the practice a lot more each day. The only time I can feel the tense feeling around the piriformis area is after I practice violin more than two hours a day. I still have a lot to work on but I'm very please with the result that seems to be brought by AT lessons.
The interesting thing is that my AT teacher hasn’t started working on my violin playing yet. So far she is doing a lot of table work on me to help me to realize how the back, neck, shoulder, hip and knee joints should feel when the body is in balance. Just by frequently checking these areas throughout the day, within or without violin, it makes all the difference.
I know this is a single case comes from 1st person subjective point of view, and three weeks is too short a period to conclude anything definitively. But I thought it is conceivable that sciatic pain may be caused by violin playing (standing or sitting), if one is not properly balanced, and AT can effectively deal with it, if the pain is caused by muscle tension.
I’d like to hear what you guys think about this possibility. Skeptics are most welcome!
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