Musculoskeletal and neural problems are very common in musicians due to the significant load on the body during prolonged playing or practice. Many instruments require asymmetrical (unbalanced) postures which can cause muscular tightness, pain or aching symptoms.
An Australian study (Ackermann, Driscoll & Kenny, 2012) looking at over 375 orchestral musicians found that nearly 85% had experienced symptoms interfering with their playing of an instrument or participating in performance and rehearsal. Many musicians cited that their neck and upper limbs were affected. With musical instruments a tool of the trade, it is important that they are used correctly for long-term upper limb health and comfort.
How Can Our Hand Therapists Help?
Our team has an excellent understanding of postural biomechanics and the influence of playing postures on upper limb tension. An assessment explores your playing schedule and watches you actually play your instrument. If that is not possible, we may ask to look at some video footage. This might identify a muscle imbalance such as over-dominant muscles and weaker ones or even nerve tightness which is a common contributor to pain.
Prescription of exercises can help to address any muscle imbalances or help with targeting exercises that would benefit your specific situation and instrument being played.
We are also able to offer specific rehabilitation following any injury or surgery with the goal of instrument use being front of mind.