Category : Musician

Hand Therapy Musician Overuse

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: Injury Prevention for Musicians

In a previous blog post we discussed some of the common injuries that can occur in musicians due to the repetitive and sustained nature of playing an instrument.  These can include pain and cramping of the neck and shoulder. Numbness, tingling, heaviness, tremors and pain can occur in the wrist and hand, and fingers can become “stuck” in a bent position.

While a musician may seek treatment when these injuries occur, we as clinicians would prefer to help musicians learn to prevent these injuries in the first place. This can help prevent loss of playing time, income, and the ability to participate in their passion. Fortunately, there are techniques that can be learned in order to keep a musicians body “in tune” – learning body awareness, healthy practice and play, and maintaining general health and wellness.

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Hand Musician Pain

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist for Musicians

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“…the instrument becomes an extension of the body, for example, the bow of the violinist or the drumsticks of the drummer.” – Schlinger, 2006.

Many musicians say they “merge” with their instrument when they are playing – that they lose themselves and do not know where they stop and the instrument begins. This process leads to beautiful music; however, it can lead to less body awareness, pain and overuse injuries related to playing their instrument.

Statistics estimate more than 39,000 people are formally employed as musicians in the United States. This does not include the large numbers of children and teenagers just starting out, or devoted amateur and professional musicians playing night and weekend shows. Among this large number of musicians, studies have shown that the percentage who report having play-related pain may actually be higher than in other professions. In some groups, more than 90% of musicians surveyed reported having some type of pain.

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