Treating a musician is no different than treating an athlete. Let’s call our musicians the musical athletes. These athletes happen to need all the same stabilizing muscles that any endurance runner may need—if not more. As one would imagine, singers rely on the muscles surrounding the throat. However, you may not have guessed that woodwind and brass players do as well. Woodwind players also require fine muscles in the hands as well as stabilizing muscles of the elbow, shoulder, and neck.
String ensemble musicians have to be crafty and nimble. Often times the small fine motor muscles in the hands and wrists are overused, putting stress and strain on the tendons and nerves.
Repetition Yields Damage and Overuse
The injuries that can occur in musicians are plenty. For example, nerve damage to wrists, neck, and upper back, as well as chronic tears of the shoulder and elbow pain, are common complaints. Not to mention the headaches and loss of force production from the rib cages create strains on the throat that are possibly career-enders for some singers and woodwind players.
What Should Be Done?
Biomechanically, working and focusing on efficient posture—whether sitting or standing—is high on the list for any type of musician. Proper force production of the fine muscles via strong stabilizing muscles that have to produce muscle memory to hit the right keys or strings is crucial.
This can be achieved with proper stabilization at the neck, shoulder, trunk, and abdomen for string and woodwind players. We have developed at Rehab and Revive the quickest,
safest treatment that strives to enhance the postural muscles and helps musicians to live in a more balanced body.
Implementation of nerve mobility exercises are another great way to combat nerve impingement and carpal tunnel-like syndrome. Correct manual therapy techniques are needed to help mobilize scar tissue at the neck/throat and shoulder. Creating that automatic integration for the musician to hold their new posture is implemented in the musician’s daily activities for a complete package to help rehab and revive musicians to be the best virtuoso they can be.