Performance-Related Injuries How to Stay Healthy and Playing! Sandra Cox, D.M.A, FNP [email protected] [email protected]
OVERUSE SYNDROMES, or performance-related injuries, are caused by repetitive motion occurring over long periods of time. This causes a joint, ligament, or tendon to be pushed past its normal capacity to work. This leads to swelling and pain in the area. If the repetitive motion continues, micro-tears will develop, thickening of the tendons and ligaments can occur, which will progress to adhesions and scarring in the area. If left untreated, permanent damage will develop.
TIPS TO STAYING HEALTHY
❆ Work to have good posture
❆ Keep instrument in good working order
❆ Pay attention to the environmental factors such as the correct chair height and flat-bottomed seat
❆ Practise where there is good lighting
❆ Eat healthy foods
❆ Get enough sleep
❆ Take frequent breaks (practise 50 minutes and rest 10 minutes or practise 25 minutes and rest 5 minutes)
If you do develop a performance-related injury, this is how to grade the progression of the injury. The most common indicator is PAIN and/or DISCOMFORT. Overuse syndromes can be graded into five categories:
1. Pain in ONE site only, and only while playing. 2. Pain in MULTIPLE sites. 3. Pain that persists well beyond the time the musician stops playing, along with
4. All of the above, in addition, many Activities of Daily Living start to cause
5. All of the above, but Daily Activities that engage the affected body part
Most Common Reasons Overuse Injuries Develop and Progress
❀ Hypermobility of Joints
❀ Poor Posture
❀ Lack of exercise
❀ Lack of conditioning and warm-up
❀ Sudden increase in practise/performance time
❀ Errors in practise time
❀ Errors in Technique
❀ Instrument is not the correct size for hands
❀ Quality of the instrument is poor
❀ Gender (females more prone to development of injuries)
❀ Environmental factors (stand height not right, chair not the correct height, placement of stand/chair, overcrowding in rows while seated in band/orchestra)
❀ Anatomical variation
❀ Stressful nonmusical activities (ex. Gardening, working on the computer, washing dishes, playing video games, cleaning/scrubbing)
❀ Not seeking help when a problem develops If you do develop a problem, things to do before you can see a healthcare provider.
✰ REST the affected area. Many do not advocate complete rest, as this tends to cause more problems in the long run. But resting and not playing 10+ hours a day is going to be the first thing you hear.
✰ Try a NSAID. They are over the counter. EX. Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Tylenol
✰ ICE. At least three (3) times a day.
✰ Use a splint at night, if an extremity is what has the problem.
✰ Physical Therapy
✰ Stop other activities that might be causing stress in the same area Ex. Gardening, computer use, video games, etc.
✰ Try Alternative Treatments, ex. Massage Therapy, Alexander Technique, Herbs, Acupuncture, etc.
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