Not only piano, doing every work while sitting in a wrong posture can cause Carpal Tunnel.
We understand that looks do matter, but when it comes to health, nothing should matter at all. Would you still care about the way you look while playing the piano if we tell you that you won’t be able to play at all in the future? Obviously, you wouldn’t.
So, let’s correct postures for the best of our future as pianists. Trust me, it’s not that hard.
A good piano posture is a neutral posture. By neutral, we mean the posture that balances out all the pressures on your muscles on either side of your body. You know what happens to a muscle when it experiences a certain amount of extra pressure over a course of time, right? It starts deteriorating slowly and gradually until it collapses completely. So, when all of that pressure is distributed equally throughout your body, there wouldn’t be any major wear and tear as every muscle would be akin to the pressure experienced.
Apply this to the way you sit for playing the piano. Do you have a balanced posture? If not, read on to know how to achieve it.
1. Make sure you're using an adjustable bench as a seat.
2. Sit on half of the bench and bring it to an appropriate distance from the piano. The distance that allows you to press the keys without either extending your arms a lot.
3. One of the good ways to know if you are sitting at the right distance is to see if your shoulder to elbow hand is parallel to your body.
4. Sit with the natural curve of your spine. Your belly might protrude in a small paunch.
5. Most importantly, place your wrists at an angle not too high or low. Make sure your wrists are flat compared to the keyboard.
6. Keep the height of your bench such that your feet are flat on the ground and you don’t experience pressure on your thighs.
7. If you use a pedal, make sure your heel always touches the ground.
8. Do not stoop over your piano and keep your neck in a straight position. This way you’d be saved from rounding of your shoulders.
This is how you can achieve a balanced posture when you are playing the piano.
Does this posture restrict any wrist movements?
Maintaining this posture by no means restrict your wrist movement to play a number of things in the repertoire. You see, there’s a difference between moving your wrists and keeping them flat. You can move your hands in any direction while playing. You only would run into the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel if you keep the position of your wrists either too high or too low.
How do you know if you already have a risk of developing Carpal Tunnel?
See how you play your piano. Does your posture comply with our recommendations of neutral or balanced posture? If it does not, please change your playing habits immediately. This is to avoid the pressure being developed on the nerve in our Carpal Tunnel, which is connected to four of our fingers excluding the little finger.
If you are already feeling a burning sensation in your wrist, tingling or numbness in your fingers, a loss of movement of your fingers, and swelling in any part of your fingers close to the wrist, please consult a physician as soon as possible.
The key to playing the piano for longer without receiving any damages like the Carpal Tunnel is keeping a balanced posture that we talked above. However, while keeping that posture, always pay attention to the relaxation of your hand and your muscles. Know that any stress caused to any muscle /joint for a long time can only end up in damage and nothing else.