The Free-Reed Journal
Articles and Essays Featuring Classical Free-Reed Instruments and Performers

The Accordion: A Back Breaker

Part Six: Special Instructions for Low Back Patients

by John Bonica, L.P.T., N.Z.R.P.

The following instructions will ensure that you do not aggravate your condition between treatments and are designed to speed your recovery. The success of your treatment program depends as much upon you and your participation as it does upon the therapist's skills. Doing your part ensures the quickest recovery. Your program was designed to optimize your recovery in the quickest possible time and it important that you keep your scheduled appointments. If you have any questions, ask your therapist.

1. Do not sit down more than you have to, and if you do, get up frequently and move about.

2. If given a back pillow, use it every time in the car, at work, and at home that you have to sit.

3. Maintain a slight hollow in your low back at all times.

4. Avoid lifting anything over 15 pounds until instructed otherwise.

5. When watching T.V. lie on the floor on your stomach or on the sofa stretched out. Change position frequently.

6. When in bed, lie in any position that is comfortable for your back. Two pillows under your knees if you are lying on your back works well.

7. Avoid unnecessary driving in the car.

8. Walk little and often. If walking increases your pain, refrain from doing so and talk to your therapist.

9. Do not touch your toes. This is a banned exercise.

10. Do the stretch exercises prescribed by your therapist little and often.

11. Do not cough or sneeze in a sitting or bent over position. Brace your back with your hands.

12. Do nothing that increases back pain or induces any pain, numbness, or tingling in either leg.

13. Conscientiously do the stretch exercises prescribed by your therapist.

The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. staff gratefully acknowledges volunteer Terry Knight who assisted in the production of this article.

About the Author

John Bonica, L.P.T., N.Z.R.P., is the founder of Pacific Spinal and Orthopaedic Manual Therapy Clinic, a subsidiary of Rockwood Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Clinic, P.C., located in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Born in New Zealand in 1942 of Italian parents, he grew up in a musical family in which his grandfather played accordion. Mr. Bonica played drums, percussion, flugelhorn, bugle and string bass before turning to the accordion at age 15. He taught himself by ear and learned the Chopin "Minute Waltz" by listening to a recording by Charles Magnante.

After some time, he realized the limitations of playing only by ear, so he taught himself how to read music so he could enter competitions. He won the New Zealand Championship several years in the duet, trio and quartet divisions. He won second place at the New Zealand Open in 1978 in the solo division.

Mr. Bonica emigrated to the United States in 1980 to teach spinal specialists and continue his practice of spinal therapy. He has recorded four CDs of Italian and European folk music utilizing a MIDI orchestra ensemble. Other activities include writing and publishing (he was editor and publisher for Accordion World magazine from 1989 until 1994), sailing and photography.

Part Seven: The Great Accordion Myth!
Is Lighter Really Better?

by John Bonica, L.P.T., N.Z.R.P.

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