Musicians aren’t the first group of people you think of when you think of people who need physical or occupational therapy – you may think this kind of therapy is only for hard training, high performing athletes. But musicians can have injuries, too, from the repetitive stress of playing an instrument. Read on for ways to prevent injuries so that you can keep playing in comfort.
What kinds of injuries do musicians get?
Physical problems that musicians have depend, of course, on the instrument played. They can range from back and neck strain in a drummer from leaning forward all the time to tendon tears in a guitar player’s fingers. Signs that it is time to see a doctor include weakness or coldness in the hands, stiffness and restricted motion in the neck or arm, pain during or after playing, an increased feeling of clumsiness, and pain when lifting or carrying your instrument.
How can you prevent injuries?
Preventing injuries is preferable to dealing with them once you have them! Try these tips to prevent injuries:
• Evaluate how you play. A musician mentor or a therapist may be able to advise you on some changes you can make in how you hold your instrument or how you play to reduce the risk of injury.
• Check your instrument. Is your instrument set up in a way that puts extra stress on your body? Would a stand or a strap help?
• Always warm up (and not just your instrument). An athlete wouldn’t jump into a game without stretching and preparing their body, and musicians shouldn’t start playing without some warm up as well.
• Take breaks. When practicing, don’t overdo it. Take short breaks when you can and a longer break every hour.
It isn’t just athletes who need the help of physical or occupational therapy. The repetitive stress that you put your body through if you are a musician can be very painful and can eventually keep you from performing altogether. Keep the music flowing, with help from a therapist at Cynergy PT. There are five locations in New York – call (212) 974-7252 for an appointment today!