Musicians can face many challenges across their musical careers and at Ace Sports Clinic we consider musicians to be athletes in their own right. The majority of musicians will encounter a music related injury at some point throughout their career which can have a major effect on their ability to play whether, they are a Symphony Orchestra musician, a musician in a local band or a musician who plays by themselves for their own enjoyment. Here of three types of injuries in musicians that we most commonly see at Ace Sports Clinic.
Nerve Compression Injuries
Nerve compression injuries are a type of injury where nerves travel through areas of the body and tight tissues such as muscles can press on them causing pain. The most common types of nerve compression injuries in musicians include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and Radial Tunnel Syndrome. These types of nerve compression injuries are characterized by nerve compression causing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, pins and needles and pain down different areas of the arm and into areas of the hand and fingers.
The repetitive movement nature of playing an instrument can create irritation of the tendons particularly around the hand, wrist, and elbow in many musicians. Tendinopathy is caused by overuse and irritation of the tendons around the hand, wrist, and elbow. Tendinopathy typically presents as pain in the area around the hand, wrist and elbow when playing and performing movements that irritate the affected tendon/s such as instrument fingering patterns, strumming, and plucking.
Many instruments require the musician to hold a posture for an extended period of time. Whether it be a violinist resting their chin on the violin’s chin resulting in possible side bending or a twisted neck position, a pianist constantly looking down the piano or a guitarist having the shoulder constantly turned in to strum the guitar, all types of musicians can get postural muscular pain. Postural muscular pain in musicians is most commonly found in the neck, back and around the shoulders. This can make it difficult play songs and pieces for an extended period of time.
So What Can Be Done?
Assessing the injury and getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step of managing any injury. From there, a variety on management strategies are implemented to help reduce the pain and get you pain free. Management for each injury and each person will look different depending on how they present but it will typically include mobility exercises to improve joint movement and muscle tightness, strengthening exercise to address muscle weaknesses and postural imbalances, manual therapy to relieve muscle tension, pain and improve joint movement and lastly possible activity modification to help recovery and healing whilst playing.
If you are new to playing an instrument or an experienced musician and experiencing pain, you don’t need to be. Please contact Ace Sports Clinic and one of our experienced Ace Certified practitioners will help you return to doing what you love pain free and feeling great in your body. Remember, small actions done consistently over time lead to massive results. Start today, your body will thank you.
Written by Dr Thomas McKillop – Associate Osteopath