Musician Injuries

Musicians are often compared to athletes. You push your body for hours at a time to practice and perfect your skills so that you can perform better. But sometimes, your bodies become overused, and playing becomes painful. The terms below are often associated with the performance of elite athletes. But did you know that these same issues affect the performance of a musician as well? Read on to find out more!

FAQ for patients

Do I need a doctor's referral to book an appointment? No.

How much does it cost per visit? $70 for a regular visit. We book on the half hour. We are also happy to book one hour appointments, which are recommended for first time visits.

What is a MUSICIAN INJURY SCAN? A Musician Injury Scan involves physical and functional testing with you and your instrument where we help to identify areas of potential injury. This is done through range of motion and joint and muscle testing performed by the physiotherapist. Sometimes we use video analysis and postural grid scans to assist with learning. With this, you will learn to identify areas that you will need to take care of to prevent injuries. The scan takes about an hour and costs $140 for the visit.

Playing with Pain

PLAYING WITH PAIN

Playing with pain doesn’t always happen right away. Sometimes it starts with “fatigue” or “tension” that eventually goes away. But as time passes, you may find that these symptoms linger for a little longer and don’t go away as easily as they used to. So you take a long break from your instrument and the pain goes away.

Musician Injuries often happen because playing your instrument, whether it is the violin, piano, cello, guitar, flute, drums or even the glockenspiel is REPETITIVE and ASYMMETRICAL.

Repetitive

Muscles and tendons need time to recover and rebuild after use. Without adequate rest, their fibres will break down and inflammation and pain occur. We call this tendonitis. It first starts with fatigue or an ache, and eventually turns into pain and swelling with any type of use, leading to loss of ability to play.

ASYMMETRICAL

Asymmetry combined with repetition is the perfect environment for an injury to brew. It may not appear immediately, but at some point down the road, an injury is likely to occur.

Cello

BUT I PLAY ALL THE TIME. WHY DOES IT HURT NOW?

Often times, changes in technique, practice habits, instrument set-up, posture, and other life changes can contribute to injury. You may want to examine whether there have been any changes lately and whether they were introduced quickly versus gradually.

MY MUSCLES ARE WARM TO TOUCH, REALLY TIGHT, AND THEY HURT WHEN I PLAY. WHAT CAN I DO?

Warmth, pain, and loss of function are signs of inflammation. Use the acronym “R.I.C.E”. Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.

♪ REST from the aggravating activity.

♫ ICE on the area for 15 minutes at a time.

♫ ♪ COMPRESS with a tensor sleeve or brace.

♫♫ ELEVATE the area for 15 minutes at time if it is swollen

Then, consult your physiotherapist to help you get to the root of the problem to prevent the injury form recurring.

Electrotherapy

ARE THERE ANY EXERCISES I CAN DO FOR MY... [fill in the blank]? [eg. wrist, back, neck, shoulder, jaw, fingers]

Absolutely. Visit us here where you can find some practical tips and exercise suggestions for musician injuries. Also visit here for the top six postures that cause injuries amongst violinists.

I'M IN PAIN WHEN I PLAY MY INSTRUMENT. WHAT WILL PHYSIOTHERAPY DO TO HELP?

The goal of the physiotherapist is to reduce pain, restore function, and enhance your performance. This often includes prescribing appropriate exercises for your specific problem. Sometimes your therapist will use manual (“hands-on”) therapy as well as machines like ultrasound , laser or electrotherapy to help speed up healing. In order to do this, you will be assessed for your posture, mobility, strength and stability with and without your instrument.

Physiotherapy Services

I'M NOT IN ANY PAIN. SHOULD I STILL COME IN FOR PHYSIOTHERAPY AND HOW WILL IT HELP?

A musician injury scan performed by your physiotherapist will help you identify areas that potentially could become injured. While most of us don’t think about seeing their physiotherapist until their injuries are in full bloom, with the scan and appropriate treatment and/or exercises, you can expect to:

♪ reduce postural asymmetries that set you up for injury

♫ improve core stability, strength and endurance in your upper extremities.

♫♪ play with increased ease, therefore improve your performance


Manipulative Therapist - Grace Cheung

Grace Cheung is a physiotherapist who specializes in treating musicians and performing artists. She is also a musician and plays violin, piano, guitars and is now learning the cello. Grace is co-owner of Go! Physiotherapy Sports and Wellness Centre. Call us at 604 568 4628 for more information on any of our physiotherapy services.