Playing music can be beautiful and may seem effortless, but for the musician,
it includes hundreds of hours of practice, dedication, and hard work.
While an injury to a violin player may not look as dramatic as an injury
to a football player, it can be equally as severe. For example, pianists
require the dexterous use of their fingers to play intricate melodies.
The human hand typically has 29 major joints, 123 named ligaments, 34
muscles that move the fingers and thumb, 48 named nerves, and 30 named
arteries. If any or all of these are injured, the player can no longer practice.
Studies have shown musicians are also particularly vulnerable to repetitive
stress injuries (RSI), or injuries caused by repetitive movements that
irritate and damage muscles, nerves, or tendons. Around 50% to 80% of
musicians will experience physical problems at some point. They usually
maintain a certain position while performing skilled, rapid, and repetitive
movements for extended periods of time.
Other risks could increase their chance of injury, including playing in
cold temperatures, incorrect positioning of the instrument, excessive
force, inadequate rest, and poor posture. These factors can cause stress
on muscles, tendons, and surrounding soft tissue.
RSIs can be devastating for professional musicians who might not be able
to play their instrument while healing from their injuries. A national
survey of orchestra musicians, for example, found that 76% of players
had to take time off from playing to take care of their RSIs.
There are ways for music players to avoid sustaining an RSI. If you intersperse
long periods of practice or performance with sessions of gentle stretching
or range of motion exercises, the movement can enhance blood flow to the
extremities and prevent your limbs and fingers from becoming fatigued.
Likewise, the movement will also lubricate the joints with synovial fluid,
the viscous material found in the cavities of joints that prevents friction
Strength and endurance training can also help a musician hold proper form
throughout a performance or practice. Additionally, drinking lots of water,
avoiding caffeine and nicotine, and having a healthy diet can also contribute
to your body’s overall health. If possible, get an ergonomically
adjusted instrument that will help you adapt to improved body alignment
and avoid unnecessary stress on your body. Warm-up exercises and stretching
may also help.
Occasionally, however, musicians might need physical or
massage therapy to help them return to work. Physical therapy helps improve range of motion
and increases strength. If you think you might need physical therapy,
don’t hesitate to call us. Our
experienced Aberdeen physical therapists can provide you with well-trained, individualized, and compassionate care.
Let us see how we can help you.
Contact us at (732) 333-6360 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.