Professional Musicians and Common Overuse Conditions – New Hand Treatments Music to Their Ears
Amid the melodic sounds of the Houston Symphony and Orchestra it is hard to imagine that there are many types of injuries and performance-related conditions that come with a musician’s occupation.
Compared to athletes in a recent presentation for the Center for Performing Arts Medicine, Performing Artists As Athletes: A New Perspective, Dr. Evan Collins talked about the hundreds of thousands of musicians each year incurring an injury as a result of rigorous practice and performance. In fact nearly 76% of musicians experience some kind of injury or condition as a result of their profession over the course of their career.
Athletes have had for years a dedicated Sports Medicine team knowledgeable about the physiological demands that certain sports have on their body – establishing treatment plans accordingly. Not much unlike athletes, musicians have the same demands repeatedly placed on specific joints and muscle groups, which causes excessive strain and damage.
Thinking about the intricate movement of fingers and the fact that nearly a quarter of the motor cortex in the brain is devoted to hand muscles – connected to over 50 nerves, 120 known ligaments, 30 major joints and approximately 30 bones – it’s not hard to understand how injuries can occur with such demands as a musician places on their hands and wrist.
Among the most commonly diagnosed injuries and conditions affecting musicians include overuse and overstress syndrome, mayofascial pain, and tendonitis. These conditions cause persistent pain and loss of endurance, facility and strength.
Fortunately today a number of minimally invasive procedures are allowing musicians to address their injury without lengthy recovery times and obtrusive scarring.
Endoscopic and arthroscopic procedures using fine instruments respectful of the small joint spaces and bones of the hand and wrist are reducing the size of the required incision and causing minimal disruption to surrounding soft tissue.
And the latest advances in non surgical therapies, including injection therapy and rehabilitative therapies designed specifically for musicians are making it easier for these artists to seek help and return quickly to their work… to the delight of us all.