Back pain behind the should blade

April 26, 2006 at 05:45 AM · I have just recently purchased a larger viola. During orchestra practice tonight, I started getting fatigue pain on the left side of my back behind my shoulder blade after about an hour into the rehearsal. I went from a 15" to a 16" viola, and the new viola is quite a bit heavier than my old one.

I'm assuming that I have to just practice more with the new "baby boy" to build up the stamina and maybe work with my shoulder rest a bit to find a good fit. I find that I'm "clutching" the instrument more than my old one and it hasn't had too much of a chance to balance itself on my body yet. Are there any other techniques to help get used to a larger instrument besides "patience and practice"?

Replies (8)

April 26, 2006 at 09:43 PM · Greetings,

yes. Roll up a towel (smallish) and put it directly under your armpit. It is not a rest and does not come in conattc with the viola. It merely holds the arm up thereby releasing the stress on the neck( muscles) which is the origin of your problem. Lots of pros use this.

Also make sure you do a lot od extra back stretchign before and after you play no matte rhow stupid you feel in front of otehr people.

Cheers,

Buri

April 26, 2006 at 10:14 PM · If you lean in towards your stand a bit so that your instrument is not parallel to the floor, you can get back pains.

April 26, 2006 at 11:08 PM · With a bigger instrument it's harder to get your hand in position to play on the lower strings - take care that you are not wrenching round with your shoulder to achieve this.

April 26, 2006 at 11:58 PM · Greetings,

yes, you can experiment with rotating the instrument so the lower strings are easier to get to.One advantage of foam over a rest

Cheers,

Buri

April 27, 2006 at 12:49 AM · I got back pain in orchestra a lot last season until I realized, of all things, I was sitting crooked in my chair--e.g. the chair was facing straight ahead towards the other side of the stage, and I was sittting kind of on the corner facing at a diagonal (I was inside chair.) When I turned my chair so I was actually sitting squarely in it, the back pain went almost completely away. Strange, but you might see if that's part of the problem.

MG

April 27, 2006 at 01:34 AM · Greetings,

yep. And while we are on the subject do the old raisng trick by putting blocks under the back legs. Your hips -must - be higher than your knees,

Cheers,

Buri

April 27, 2006 at 02:39 AM · Buri -

I tried that trick tonight with the towel under the arm. WOW! It helped a ton! I just got to overdo it and alternate with and without during practice until those muscles back there get used to the larger instrument. And I see what you mean about changing position to get to the lower strings - it is a farther reach now than before.

THANKS!!!!!

April 29, 2006 at 09:16 AM · There's a strengthening exercise that might help, if you still need it.

Lie flat on the floor with your arms down along your sides. Raise both legs straight up together, slowly, until they're at a right angle at the hip. Then lower them slowly to the floor.

I've used this for lower backaches, but it's also worked for me with aches higher up toward the shoulder blades. Just 4 or 5 iterations eases the pain immediately, although if it's a stubborn case you might have to do it three or four days in a row to eliminate the last traces of the ache.

If you do it regularly it strengthens the muscles enough to keep the problem from returning later.

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