I've been playing the bass guitar for 4 years now, nothing professional, just for fun. A couple of months ago, I started to practice everything thoroughly (scales, arpeggios, permutations)... After a few weeks I noticed a pain in the upper part of my back (somewhere in the middle of the trapezius muscle: http://anatomisty.com/wp-content/upl...us-Muscle1.jpg) I realized that my right hand wasn't in the right position. No matter how or where i position it, the pain's still there. Over the time, it has gotten worse. Every time I pick up the bass now, i feel the pain as soon as I start playing. Could you guys please suggest some solutions, I would really like to play the bass again without pain.
Thank you in advance! Simke
I would think how you strap on your bass would relate to where the pain is. My first reaction would be to ask you to move the base up on your chest a little more, but, of course I can not see what you are now doing - so strap it on differently and see if that eliminates some of the pain.
A wider strap may help. Those are my suggestions......
I would give a +1 to Malcolm's suggestions. Other things to consider would be, are you tensing the shoulders without realising it ? Try to be aware of the whole body when you play, and try to be as relaxed as possible.
If you practice while sitting, make sure to use the strap and have the bass positioned the same as when standing. Ideally this would be with the main body of the bass at about belly button height. Also if sitting, dont use a couch or the side of the bed. Use a hard chair, preferably one with a back support.
A good idea would be to do some shoulder stretches or exercises both before and after you practice. Below are some links that might help.
You say that you thought your right hand was not in the right position. Check out this clip on R/H safe technique.
thanks for the responses
I suggest acupuncture/massage treatment to relieve muscle tightness. Don't wait to fix your tight muscles with new positioning/technique. IME, the muscles won't relieve themselves of tightness for a very long time. You may have a permanent condition if it's not tended to right away.
Stretching out before you play is a good idea. Also paying attention to what muscles are tensing up while you play is another good idea. You need to be relaxed and not tensed up when you play. Yoga or Pilates might help as well.
It may be a herniated disc. I had a herniated c6 and it started just like this and wound up being a long, PAINFUL and EXPENSIVE ordeal. Especially if there is any numbness or tingling traveling anywhere through your body, do not take this lightly and see a doctor or you may end up like I did with an expensive ambulance/emergency room visit and expensive PT visits.
Mugre's right--go see a doctor. The shoulder and upper back have a cluster of nerves that eminate from the C5 and C6 vertebrae, and surround the various muscles and go down the arm. I recently had a strange episode where I suddenly lost strength in my right arm and could barely hold a razor up to shave. After three MRIs and nerve conduction tests, my neurologist came to the conclusion that I had an atrophied teres minor muscle in my upper back and a dead nerve attached to it. I partially tore my rotator cuff around 2000 and apparently that caused my shoulder to drop just a little, putting pressure on that nerve over time, leading to this problem. Ultimately I was able to rehab the arm and shoulder--though that muscle and nerve are useless, I was able to get it back to about 80% and have no problem playing now. Anyway, the point of this is just to emphasize that it's worth having a doctor check it out. It could be something that you can resolve with some physical therapy.
Back pain is such a varied area for problems. You need a diagnosis before anyone can suggest any sort of treatment.
Go see a doctor and get examined, if need be get a referral, some some further tests, even ask for an MRI or CT scan. Remember a GP is the first step, you really need access to a neural specialist of some sort as your GP is not really fully qualified in such areas as a rule. :)
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