You may not think that musicians are prone to injuries like athletes are, but the truth is, depending on the musical instrument they play, they may suffer from various health-related issues. Especially beginners who are not aware of such problems may go through the pain of discovering by themselves what injuries are most common in musicians.
A certain level of discomfort is natural when your practice for hours, regardless of the type of instrument you play. But when symptoms persist to the point that you cannot practice anymore, it is time to consider the possibility of an injury. Here are the most common, in a nutshell.
– Carpal tunnel syndrome – you can tell its symptoms by tingling sensations in your fingers, less your ring finger and pinky. Numbness can also be associated with this syndrome.
– Tendinitis – that’s a general name used for describing the inflammation of tendons and muscles attached to them.
– Bursitis – it’s another common name for tendon and muscle inflammation. This one can also affect the patient’s skin.
– Quervain’s Tenosynovitis – it comes accompanied by persistent pain in your forearms and wrists.
– Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – this one affects the upper body, and it involves your arms, hands, neck, and shoulders. Patients will experience a sensation of weakness in their muscles, cramps, numbness, and difficulty to grip objects.
– Cubital Tunnel Syndrome – this common injury involves the arms, elbows, and hands, and it is characterized by pain in these areas.
As a musician, you can suffer from acute or chronic injuries. When persistent pain occurs suddenly, the injury is acute. But if the symptoms evolve gradually, that’s when you can talk about a chronic injury.
What can you do to prevent these injuries?
While it may sound like these injuries can destroy your musical career or, at least, make you suffer greatly, many preventative measures can help you steer clear of them.
- Pay attention to your overall physical fitness
Musicians may not seem like the perfect candidates for a gym membership, but they should consider one. As long as they manage to keep their muscles well trained, they will experience fewer injuries of the kind described earlier.
- Warming up is essential
It doesn’t matter what instrument you play, be it a keyboard with weighted keys or a string instrument, you should perform some warm-up exercises. Roll your shoulders slowly, move your head from one side to another, twist and turn, just like you would before performing any physical activity.
- Don’t overexert yourself
It is okay to be ambitious and want to practice for many hours daily, but don’t strain yourself. If you’re the type of musician who practices for three hours daily, don’t decide overnight that you’ll be practicing for eight hours every day. Also, don’t forget the importance of breaks. It is the only way to avoid injuries.
- Avoid stress and tension
A tensioned body, as well as a stressed mind, can create the conditions for an injury. Pay attention to your habits. Do you hit your drums excessively? Do you press too hard on your keyboard? Your muscles should be loose and relaxed while you practice. This added tension amounts to nothing good.