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Healthy stretching techniques for cellists with back pain

Playing a musical instrument is a beautiful and rewarding experience, but it can take a toll on your body. Studies show that almost 75% of string musicians suffer from playing-related repetitive strain injuries (RSI). These types of injuries are usually the result of overuse and often impact a musician’s practice and performance.

Cellists in particular spend hours sitting while practicing, which not only leads to lower back pain, but neck pain from incorrect playing posture, and potential hand pain from improper bowing. If you are a cellist experiencing any of these symptoms, consider incorporating some simple stretching exercises into your routine.

My Bach hurts!

people standing with their cellos

Cellists are required to sit upright without lumbar support while playing the cello, which can quickly cause lower back strain. But with regular stretching you can improve flexibility, alleviate muscle tension and reduce the risk of injury. (Always consult your physician first!)

The best stretches for your lower back will also work the key muscles of your hips and torso which directly impact your spine. Start by sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Cross one leg over the other and gently twist your torso in the direction of the crossed leg. You should feel a gentle stretch in your lower back. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat this stretch several times throughout your practice session to release tension in your lower back. 

Stretching lower back muscles is just one way to prevent pain and injury. Take regular breaks, change your sitting position, and stand up and move around to help prevent stiffness and muscle fatigue.

Take a seat

In addition to stretching exercises, having a better seat can provide proper support and promote good posture, thus reducing the risk of lower back pain. Adjustrite Musician's Chair for cellists ergonomically supports proper alignment and provides comfort during long practice sessions. And with adjustable features you can customize the chair's height and angle for the perfect playing position that minimizes strain on your back.

It’s important to remember that back pain can sometimes be a symptom of other issues. If you consistently experience back pain while playing the cello, it's a good idea to consult with a qualified physical therapist who specializes in musician-related issues. They can assess your technique, posture, and provide specific exercises or recommendations to help you.

By incorporating these healthy stretching techniques, investing in proper seating, and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can alleviate back pain and continue to make your cello sing.

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