Why do my arm and hand muscles hurt when I play?
It is common for musicians to complain of hand, forearm and arm pain. This is because the repetitive motion required for playing can lead to muscle fatigue, strain, and inflammation. Repetitive playing in an already strained muscle can lead to micro-tears in the tendon. Luckily, this can be treated and prevented with safe practice techniques and healthy habits.
What can I do to prevent pain while playing?
There are many reasons for experiencing pain while playing. Once the problem has been identified an expert can provide specific advice, exercises, and recommendations that are specific to you as well as education in general healthy practice habits that include rest breaks, warm-up, proper pacing, and stretches.
Why do I have a problem now when I have been playing for many years without any issues?
It is very common for musicians to develop a musculoskeletal injury at any point during their career. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes, it is because of the effect of cumulative trauma and poor habits over many years. Sometimes, it is due to a change in repertoire, instrument, or playing schedule.
What are some of the common conditions that affect musicians?
Injuries that affect musicians include tendinopothies, nerve irritation, and hypermobile joints.
Why are musicians at risk for musculoskeletal injury?
Instrumental musicians have specific playing demands that place them at risk for overuse injury. These include: rapid, complex, coordinated movements, and high repetition of movements. Some instruments and demanding repertoires also place the joints and limbs in awkward postures and may contribute to injury. The pressures of performance often lead to stress and anxiety that can further contribute to the problem.
How can therapy help?
Treatment and rehabilitation includes specific advice, exercises, and recommendations to alleviate the problems and prevent injury. A combination of manual techniques, proper biomechanical positioning, and exercises helps reduce muscle spasms, and relieve tension and tendinitis, and improve posture and position.
How soon can I return to play following an injury?
A structured and graded return to play program is essential following an injury to avoid a relapse or reoccurrence. Depending on the type of injury this can be fairly quick or may take a while. A graded return to play program is divided into rest and play intervals that are individually modified and adjusted to each performer’s instrument, ability, and injury. The program is designed to maximize return to the pre-injury level of performance.