Repetitive Strain Injury & Chiropractic Care for Muscians

Same with elite athletes, musicians put their efforts in perfecting their craft thru endless practice.  These sessions entail long hours of pushing the arm and hand muscles to exhaustion.  Some may dismiss this as simply fatigue and with a few hours of rest will solve the problem.  However, if the pain is persistent and you experience a stabbing pain in the forearm accompanied clumsiness and numbness of hands, it is possible you have a repetitive strain injury (RSI) due to prolonged training without sufficient breaks to properly rest the muscles.Musician Repetitive Stress Injury 266_display

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health said that roughly 50% of the work force suffers from different forms of RSI.  Musicians comprise a part of this statistic as they overuse their muscles in unidirectional movement patterns such as a guitarist.  Other musicians commonly affected by such condition are flute and string players, keyboardists and fretboardists.  This condition is a horror story for any musician as this may dictate the end of their professional career.

Do not let RSI stop your music from playing

Pain even in its slightest sensation is a signal that tells you that there is something wrong.  Oftentimes when musicians feel arm or hand pain, they do not feel worried at all and assume that the pain will go away.  Here are tips to keep RSI away from your playlist:

  1. Watch your playing technique.  Find positions in which you are most comfortable with.  Always keep a correct posture and avoid fixed and tensed positions.
  2. A warm-up routine is as important as in any sporting practice or performance.  Abruptly starting a vigorous activity poses serious risks of injury.
  3. Learn your pace.  Avoid pushing your body to its limit.  Acknowledge what your body is feeling and keep yourself from the danger of overexertion.
  4. Do not omit frequent breaks.  Relax your hand or arm for a moment to break the continuity of unidirectional movements.  This is a great way to let your muscles momentarily recover.

Chiropractic Care Specific for Musicians

Chiropractors provide the best care in manipulating or adjusting the spinal column for injuries such as RSI.  The method includes several bending and twisting positions to correct the vertebrae.  A chiropractor would be able to help you on the following:

  1. Thorough evaluation and analysis of the spine will be conducted.  Postures when playing the instrument are looked into as it puts stress on the spine, ribs, neck, shoulders and hips.  Careful manipulation will be carried out to correct distortions.
  2. A side-by-side analysis of the musician and his instrument will also be conducted. This will enable a chiropractor to determine dysfunctional areas involving the spine.  Generally specific exercises maybe introduced to strengthen the weaker muscles and help keep repetitive strain away while playing a particular instrument.
  3. A chiropractor will be able to guide musicians with regards to their overall wellness which does not only include exercise but also proper nutrition and rest.

Slight discomfort while playing an instrument may seem trivial at first, but for musicians this should not be neglected.  Tell-tale signs should be considered with utmost concern because if RSI is treated in its early stage, your muscle will definitely heal faster.  Always remember that in order to keep your music playing, a dose of chiropractic care is all you need.

Dr. Judd Lowrey is a Folsom & El Dorado Hills Chiropractor.

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