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View Full Version : Is the neck strap the cause of neck and back pain?



queperknuckle
05-31-2006, 08:25 PM
I'm a pretty young guy, but I had been feeling a little pain in my neck. I couldn't figure out what it was, so I decided to take a two week vacation from my daily sax practice routine. Guess what? The pain went away. When I play, I let the neck strap hang on my neck, relegating the job of holding the sax to my neck and back. Over a period of time, it seems like that 10 or so pound sax just becomes to much for my body (i've been playing for 12 years. there is no telling what kind of effects this has had). Do any other sax players have back/neck stiffness and discomfort from playing? Is the neck strap to blame? Any ideas how to get around this?

RS
05-31-2006, 08:47 PM
It's possible that the strap is cutting into your neck and pinching a nerve. This would cause some pain. If you're using a narrow strap consider a wider strap like a Ray Hyman supersling or a neotech. Or maybe try putting some padding like a small towel between the strap and your neck. If the problem is too much weight on your neck the solution would probably be a harness type rig.

Rackety Sax
05-31-2006, 09:00 PM
I advise you to use a sax harness which will take the weight off your neck. You can search the site for suggested brands. I think I really messed up my neck from having a sax hang on it too much when I was growing up.

S Reno
05-31-2006, 09:18 PM
You might consider a shoulder strap also. I occasionally suffer from a pinched nerve in my neck and shoulder and have been using this shoulder strap for a couple months and it works for me so far:

http://www.music123.com/BG-Shoulder-Strap-i85263.music?source=priceg

queperknuckle
06-01-2006, 12:10 AM
Thanks guys. I didn't even know shoulder straps and harnesses existed. I'm playing alto, so I think I'm going to give a shoulder strap a try. I'm gonna go to my local music store, and if they don't have it, buy it at music123.

I think the neck strap is definitely giving me minor health problems. I want to change before I get 30 or something and have some real problems. Sax players shouldn't play hurt just to be macho.

Nobby Keys
06-01-2006, 02:40 PM
I get pain in my neck and back, from standing playing and looking down to the music on a music stand or whatever. If I'm playing where I don't need the dots then its fine. So, the answer, for me, is keep your head up and if you are using music try and get the music stand up higher.

Anyway just my thoughts.

Jolle
06-01-2006, 03:47 PM
Been there after less than 2 years of playing. OK, my instrument heavy, even for a tenor, but still... A harness avoids me having pain in my neck.

But it's not the only solution. As Nobby Keys said, keeping your neck and back straight when you play is defenitely as important. I have difficulties when playing the piano for a longer time, just from looking down to the keys the whole time (in fact, I can't play. I use the piano as an aid for learning to recognize chords and changes and for composing off course)

greetzz

gary
06-01-2006, 04:18 PM
queperknuckle - just a friendly word. If you are young and that's only an alto you're playing, you should not be having any problems. I would suggest you think about visiting a chiropractor, yoga studio or Alexander technique teacher.

Ari
06-01-2006, 06:05 PM
It may not be the weight of the sax at all but the posture that the player adopts while practicing - peering down with a bent neck at a music stand that is set at the wrong height or slouching in a chair for instance.

Definitely try out a harness such as that made by neotech (usually used for bari but I do know one alto player that swears by it) but if it doesn't work you may want to try practicing in a different position - eg standing; if you usually sit and vica versa.

queperknuckle
06-01-2006, 06:21 PM
Gary, your right. It might not be my neck strap. I think Yoga is a good way to go, but I'm gonna go with the harness until I figure out what's going on. I'm gonna work on my posture while playing to. Thanks guys!

gmilne
05-26-2008, 11:06 PM
Buy a harness NOW!. I've got damaged C2345 disks in my neck. No chance of recovery .. Check it out. How many sax players are stooped? this is an interesting harness - you could make it yourself

http://www.saxophon-service.de/shop/GuFreeneck1.htm

martinm5862
05-27-2008, 12:58 AM
I'm a pretty young guy, but I had been feeling a little pain in my neck. I couldn't figure out what it was, so I decided to take a two week vacation from my daily sax practice routine. Guess what? The pain went away. When I play, I let the neck strap hang on my neck, relegating the job of holding the sax to my neck and back. Over a period of time, it seems like that 10 or so pound sax just becomes to much for my body (i've been playing for 12 years. there is no telling what kind of effects this has had). Do any other sax players have back/neck stiffness and discomfort from playing? Is the neck strap to blame? Any ideas how to get around this?

Alto, tenor or baritone?

martinm5862
05-27-2008, 01:08 AM
Gary, your right. It might not be my neck strap. I think Yoga is a good way to go, but I'm gonna go with the harness until I figure out what's going on. I'm gonna work on my posture while playing to. Thanks guys!
Tension(tightening muscles) is usually the cause of the pain, not the neckstrap.

warp x
05-27-2008, 01:13 AM
queperknuckle - just a friendly word. If you are young and that's only an alto you're playing, you should not be having any problems. I would suggest you think about visiting a chiropractor, yoga studio or Alexander technique teacher.

Great advice. We had someone in the conservatory especially for these kind of things. Go to an Alexander or Mensendieck teacher that specializes in musicians.

heath
05-27-2008, 06:14 AM
I think the neck strap is definitely giving me minor health problems. I want to change before I get 30 or something and have some real problems. Sax players shouldn't play hurt just to be macho.

Yeah and you know your body better than anyone on this forum.

Bottom line is if you use a harness and the pain goes away then you've solved the problem.

Some of the people on this forum are dead set against using a harness, they look upon such a device as taking the easy way out or a lack of fashion sense.

I switched to a harness for tenor a little over a year or two ago, no neck pain at all, no back pain at all. For alto I still use a neck strap, but the alto might be too heavy for you, so give it a try.

And neck and back pain problems don't just affect our neck and back, there's bundles of nerves running through that stuff and it will affect your mood and personality if you let this pain go on.

I work out none stop all year long, train and race, have a VO2 max ranked in the elite catogory, lift weights, work on flexibility everyday. So afaic you can be in the best shape of your life and still have neck pain that's driving you crazy. You can use Alexander technique, see numerous doctors and rack up some heavy bills, they might even give you a CT scan($4000) to see what's going on(in your bank account that is). Or you could spend $50 on a Gemini harness like I did and practice for hours everyday and forget about this stuff entirely.

Two of the greatest tenor players in the world, Garzone and Bergonzi use harnesses, no one on this forum can out play these guys. Nuff said.

Dan Forshaw
05-27-2008, 07:05 PM
see my earlier post I've had some pretty bad xp with this I also would suggest less time on the computer....defo if you have a laptop!!

whitetrane
05-28-2008, 10:12 AM
Harness.

frankeric
07-31-2008, 05:08 PM
I started playing 3 months ago and, being older than most, my neck is killing me. I think the strap that came with my leased Yamaha alto is causing the problem. I just ordered a Ligophone wide neck strap leather with terry cloth insert. Will let you know what happens.

frankeric
08-05-2008, 08:05 PM
Forget the Ligophone. Got it last night and went right to work, 50 minutes later same problem, pain. Got to an hour and quit.
Shoulder strap next.
f

heath
08-05-2008, 08:34 PM
I got the ligaphone and several other ergonomic neck straps. None of them will prevent neck pain. No matter how there shaped or padded the horn is still hanging around your neck.

Shoulder straps don't work all that well either because I found that they shift or move. The Harness stays put.

Mike Cesati
08-07-2008, 03:06 AM
Since I got the BG harness I've been loving it. No neck pressure or pain and I think my sound is even bigger. No neck restriction and good comfort.

I won't ever use a strap again.

kctess5
08-16-2008, 12:33 AM
Get a neotech there great I've never had a problem with mine:D