MusicDish e-Journal - November 23, 2017
MusicDish Advertising Network
» HOME » INSIDER SCOOP » CAREER TIPS » MUSIC SPOTLIGHT » MUSICDISH*CHINA
» INDUSTRY INTERVIEWS » NEWS BEAT » DIGITAL SKOOL » OPEN REVIEW » MUSICDISH EDELWEISS
Search MusicDish e-Journal (Advanced)
Subscribe To MusicDish e-Journal
About | Contact | Advertise | RSS | Submit Article | Submit News | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution
Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network

OUCH, It Hurts When I Play (But Please Don't Tell Me To Stop!)
Taking A Look At Musicians Injuries
By Linda Dessau, The Self Care Coach
(more articles from this author)
2005-09-15
Comment | Email | Print | RSS

This article takes a look at musicians' injuries. For an expert perspective, I interviewed Dr. Sarah Mickeler, B.Mus., D.C. Dr. Mickeler is a former professional musician and a chiropractor who concentrates on musicians' injuries in her practice. Her research can be found on her website at www.drsarah.ca.

[Linda Dessau] What led you to specialize in musicians' injuries?

Dr. Sarah Mickeler I have a very personal connection to musician's injuries. I had trained as a classical clarinet player and it was during my undergrad that I started to have all sorts of problems from playing too much and with poor posture. Unfortunately I was told, as many others are, that I should just play through the pain and that maybe it would get better! Of course it didn't, and it eventually led to the demise of my career as a clarinetist because I was totally unable to hold up my instrument. So I decided to pick a new career that would help others musicians - and hopefully before they got to the point that I was at! Chiropractic appealed to me because of the whole health care paradigm that it embodies - as chiropractors, we diagnose and fix the cause, rather than masking the symptoms.

[Linda Dessau] What is different about treating musicians than treating the general population?

Dr. Sarah Mickeler Often what I tell people who don't understand the specifics of musicians' injuries is that "it takes one to know one." As a musician, it can be very difficult to explain to a physician or physiotherapist or even another chiropractor what the mechanics look like when you are playing your instrument. But when someone comes into my office and says that they play a flute, guitar, tuba or whatever, I know exactly what the physical component of playing their instrument involves. That is a very important first step.

Secondly, not only do you have to be able to have a good understanding of what playing that instrument involves, but you have to be able to see that person play. Even if someone tells me they play violin (I automatically think: "ok, so they will be leaning their head to the left and have right shoulder problems, etc..."), I am often shocked to see how over the years of playing they have contorted themselves into a little pretzel while they play! So, on the first or second visit, all of my musicians bring in their instruments and I do a thorough playing analysis to see what it is that they're doing right and wrong. It could be that their posture is contributing to their injury. Or maybe there's something about the instrument that we could change; it might just need a minor adjustment in the thumb rest or a key positioning. For instance, I have very small hands and found it difficult to reach some of the alternate fingering keys on my clarinet - so I had them sawed off and re-soldered on in a different direction so I could reach them.

Thirdly, it is important to recognize that there are some really common reasons for performance injuries. The most common ones are a change in repertoire, a change in the instrument (such as a new mouthpiece or something similar), a change in practice time or an upcoming recital. If we can pinpoint what it is that the performer has been doing differently lately to contribute to their injury, that helps immensely.

And lastly it is so important to realize, especially for freelance artists, that you can't just tell them to take a muscle relaxant and take a few weeks off. If these people took a few weeks off, they wouldn't have a roof over their head or food on the table. While it's occasionally absolutely imperative that a break be taken, most of the time I take a holistic approach to treating performers and change and fix what we can, within the obvious limitations of current gigs and upcoming events.

[Linda Dessau] What's the most common injury that you see in your office?

Dr. Sarah Mickeler In my office, there is a tie for the most common injury. The first is upper back/shoulder/neck pain - I lump these together because those terms can mean the same thing to a lot of people - often someone will come in and say that their shoulder hurts and point to the pain, but to me what they're pointing to is actually their upper back or lower neck. This one is often a function of poor posture or poor practice ergonomics. If we can figure out how to improve the overall posture and ergonomic situation then this tends to resolve quickly.

And the second most common injury is hand and arm pain. You would not believe how many people walk into my office with numb and tingly hands and fingers - which can be very scary if you're the one to experience it - to find out that the problem isn't actually their hands and fingers at all, but it's a little further up the arm and can be quite easily treated once properly diagnosed. Or they come in with tennis elbow - but they have never held a tennis racket in their life! In my office, I call tennis and golfer's elbow "musician's elbow" because it is a repetitive strain injury. It is really, really common and surprisingly easy to treat.

[Linda Dessau] What can musicians do to prevent injury?

Dr. Sarah Mickeler First of all, don't be a hero! There is just no reason to practice for hours on end without a break. Always remember to take a little break for every 30 minutes that you are playing. Secondly, don't play through pain. The pain signal is there to tell you that you are doing something wrong. Playing through it is not going to get you anywhere - other than in more pain and in worse shape down the road. Thirdly, be aware of your ergonomics. If you sit to play, does your chair fit you properly? In rehearsal, do you have to strain at all to see both the stand and the conductor? Are your arms contorted oddly in order to be able to play properly? This is not good. And lastly, seek the help of a professional who can not only help you with the injuries that you are currently dealing with, but can help you avoid future injury and optimize your overall performance.

You can find out more about Dr. Sarah Mickeler and her Toronto-based chiropractic practice concentrating on musicians' injuries at http://www.drsarah.ca .

To echo Sarah's advice, please pay attention to any pain signals your body is sending you! Admitting you're having a physical problem doesn't make you any less of a musician ñ it means you're a very smart musician with years of playing ahead of you!!

For more information, to contact the author, and to sign up for the author’s newsletter, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.


Home » Industry Interviews » OUCH, It Hurts When I Play (But Please Don't Tell Me To Stop!)
Permalink:http://www.musicdish.com/mag/?id=9973
Email |Print |Comment |RSS

back | top


MusicDish Advertising Network

Industry Interviews

» 'AIMP Nashville Pubcast' In-Depth Publisher Interview Series

» IZotope Masters Q&A Series, Part 3

» Why Singapore Stock Broker-Turned-Entrepreneur Is Bullish On Asian Pop

» Interview With Finland-based Guitarist Pauli Saksa

» New MBA in the Music Industry Promises to Meet Music Industry Challenges in the 21st Century

Industry Interviews Directory



» [2017-11-21] Joint Statement By The Nordic Musicians' Unions And British Musicians' Union; Discussions On The Issue Of Gender Inequality, Sexism And Sexual Harassment, The Scale Of Which Had Been Highlighted By The Recent #metoo Campaign

» [2017-11-13] Women Make An Impact On The 2018 MPG Awards Shortlist; Nearly A Quarter Of Those Named This Year Are Female, Proving That Music Production Is No Longer A Bastion For The Boys

» [2017-11-13] The Nashville Musicians Sound Healthcare Plan Rolls Out; Sound Healthcare & Financial Announced The Formation Of A True Group Health Insurance Policy Plan For Musicians And Industry Professionals

» [2017-11-09] Streaming & Listening Diversity - Spotify Case Study; Will Artists Have An Easier Time Finding An Audience, Or Will Streaming Focus Global Attention On A Small Number Of Stars?

» [2017-11-09] Two-Sides Of Copyright Finance: Sound Royalties & Kobalt; Sound Royalties Unearths Millions In Undistributed Royalties While Kobalt Launches Fund To Invest In Music Copyright

» [2017-11-08] Career Moves: ROLI, Live Nation Sweden, Music Glue, BBR Music Group, Warner/Chappell Music Spain & Blue Night Soundscapes; ROLI Chief Creative Officer, Live Nation Sweden Managing Directors, Music Glue Global Head Of Business Development, BBR Music Group VP Of International, Warner/Chappell Music Spain Managing Director And Blue Night Director Of Music Clearance

» [2017-11-08] Europe's Digital Music Leaders Form Alliance; European Digital Music Companies Launch Of Digital Music Europe

» [2017-11-05] Pandora Subscriber Base Grows To Over 5 Million; Pandora Premium Paid Subscribers Cross The 1 Million Milestone In October 2017

» [2017-11-05] Hybrid Studios Announces Online Mastering Services; Engineers Billy Klein And Brian Frederick Spearhead New Online Mastering Effort Through OC Studio

» [2017-11-05] Music Industry Betting On VR & AR For New Revenue; The Music Industry Is Making An Early Bet On VR & AR To Create New Revenue Streams Across All Their Lines Of Business

» [2017-11-04] Sound Royalties Unearths Millions In Undistributed Royalties; Nearly $14 Million In Undistributed Royalties Has Been Found By Music-focused Finance Firm Sound Royalties

» [2017-11-02] MusicDish*China October China Label Music Releases And Charts; Several Tracks From October Releases Have Charted On Chinese Music Portal Kanjian ING Top 10 Weekly Chart
MusicDish Advertising Network

follow MusicDish on
Follow MusicDish on Twitter

Mi2N Music PR

Hybrid Studios To Sponsor Unsigned Only 2018

Twice The Holiday Feel-Good Vibe From NYC Indie Rockers

LOVE MY COUNTRY! Is The Ultimate Compilation Series Featuring 20 Hot New Hits

Getting Restless

Your Favorite Color Releases "Heartache"

Melvin Alan Album "Wonderful Life"

Jean Louisa Kelly Presents A Personal Collection Of Songs From The American Standards And Musical Theater



Websites: Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network
Services: Submit Article | Submit News | Submit Video | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution

Copyright © 1997-2017 MusicDish LLC., all rights reserved.
About MusicDish e-Journal | Contact Us | Advertise | RSS | Internships