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Musicians' Injuries

Types and How to Avoid It

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Musicians, especially if you're a beginner, are prone to injuries. Injuries vary depending on the instrument you play and how you play it. If you are thinking of learning to play a musical instrument or if you're the parent of a budding musician, it is very important to know the common types of potential injuries and how to prevent them.

The Joys and Pains of Playing an Instrument

String Instruments
String instrumentalists are prone to injuries on the back, shoulders and neck. Injuries will vary depending on the particular string instrument being played, its height, weight and whether the musician is seated or standing while playing it. String players often complain of muscle stiffness, pain, soreness, tension or numbness on the fingers, hand, wrist, neck, jaw, back and shoulders. Sometimes even the abdominal muscles and respiration is affected. The most common is overuse or "Repetitive Strain Injuries."

Wind Instruments
Wind instrumentalists are prone to ear, nose, throat, mouth, lips, neck, shoulder and arm injuries. Some specific injuries are laryngoceles, which results from excess pressure to the larynx, and retinal hemorrhages, also due to too much air pressure.

Percussion Instruments
Percussionists often complain of back, shoulder, neck, hand, wrist, fingers and arm pain and tension. Some of the most common injuries of percussionists are tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome which can both result to excruciating pain if left untreated.

Specific Injuries:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome- Characterized by a tingling sensation or numbness of the thumb, index and middle finger.

Tendinitis - Inflammation or irritation of the tendons due to overuse or wrong posture/position.

Bursitis - Inflammation or irritation of tendons, muscles or skin.

Quervain's Tenosynovitis - Characterized by pain on the inside of the wrist and forearm.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome - May be either neurological or vascular; characterized by pain, swelling or puffiness in the arms and hands, neck and shoulder pains, muscle weakness, difficulty gripping objects, muscle cramps and tingling or numbness in the neck and shoulders.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome - Pain in the upper extremity such as the arm, elbow and hand.

There are many more potential injuries that are related to playing an instrument, most of which are caused by overuse, repetitive strain, wrong posture and wrong positioning of the body, arms, legs, hands, fingers, etc. while playing an instrument. It is very important to consult a doctor if you are experiencing aches and pains or if you feel you're in danger of serious injury.

Next Page: Tips on Preventing Injuries

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