5 Ways To Prevent Music-Related Injuries
From shedding scales and arpeggios in the practice room to jamming out onstage, music is an incredibly physical activity. Whether your instrument of choice is guitar, violin, drums, saxophone, trumpet, or even your voice, without proper care, attention and technique, the risk for injury can be right around the corner.
Musicians who play an instrument are especially prone to repetitive strain injuries that affect the fingers, hands, wrists, and even arms with conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. In addition, stiffness and pain can reach to the neck and back, especially for string players and percussionists. Wind instrumentalists have the added consideration of potential air pressure injuries to the eyes or larynx, and vocalists have to worry about their vocal cords.
The good news is that many of these injuries are preventable with a few extra precautions. Thanks to ThoughtCo, remember to safely practice and perform with these five injury-preventing tips.
Don't Forget To Warm-Up
Remember to approach music practice like warming up for a sporting event. After all, a competitive runner wouldn't dream of racing a sprint without first stretching and warming up the body, and the same goes for playing an instrument. Take time to slowly warm up to the physical demands of playing an instrument, including stretching and playing slowly at first.
Use Proper Posture And Technique
There's a reason most music teachers spend a lot of energy in their classrooms emphasizing posture and technique — it prevents injuries. Sit or stand with a natural spine alignment and an alert but relaxed posture. Use the recommended technique for your instrument so your body moves in harmony with your instrument as opposed to working against it. The goal is to play without any added strain or pressure.
Get The Right Instrument
Many instruments come in various sizes and shapes, such as string instruments. Choose an appropriately sized instrument with a comfortable contour that works with your body while still giving you the tone and performance you'd like. And don't forget to accessorize. Adding a neck strap for a clarinet player, a padded strap for a guitarist or different gauge strings on the bass can help make your instrument more comfortable and less likely to cause unnecessary injury.
Heed Warning Signs
The body tells us a lot of information. When it speaks, listen. If your arms feel tired, take a break. If you're feeling tension in your hands, take a moment to stretch them out. If your throat is sore, rest your voice and drink tea. Don't ignore the warning signs and give your body a rest when it needs it. Also keep in mind, for longer practice sessions, small periodic breaks will go a long way.
Consult A Doctor
Finally, if you've followed all the preventative measures and you're still experiencing pain and discomfort while playing your instrument, it may be time to see a doctor. Per ThoughtCo, "most injuries are treated easily when caught early." If you're in need of a referral, MusiCares' Medical Network is a great place to start.
The Steep Costs Of Drug Addiction In The United States
Drug addiction is a devastating illness, for those afflicted, their friends and family, and for all of us as a society. In fact, the Office of National Drug Control Policy reported in 2007 that drug abuse and addiction cost American society nearly $200 billion in healthcare, criminal justice, legal, and lost workplace production and participation costs.
Considering that millions of Americans are impacted by drug abuse and addiction issues, the high cost of the disease should not be surprising. Not only do addictions lead to the need for expensive healthcare services, but healthcare costs for employees with addiction issues are twice1 as high. Drug addiction also leads to increased need for emergency care and rehabilitation programs.
In the workplace, an estimated 500 million2 workdays are lost each year due to addiction issues, both drug- and alcohol-related. In addition, those living with addiction utilize only two-thirds of their capability and are three times more likely to be late for work. This can lead to the loss of employment and, worst-case scenario, jail time or time spent in long-term rehabilitation — both of which curtail workplace productivity over the course of a lifetime.
The strain of addiction on society also stretches to the legal system. According to one study3, a full 80 percent of offenders used drugs or alcohol, and nearly half of those in jail have clinical addiction issues. State and local governments spend millions each year in funds to combat substance abuse disorders within the legal system, including child protective services and corrections.
There is some good news, however.
Getting treatment for a drug addiction is not only beneficial for the health and welfare of those suffering from addiction, there's a financial impact as well. According to DrugAbuse.com4, "For every $1 that is spent on substance abuse treatment, $4 is saved in health care costs and $7 is saved in law enforcement costs." And once those who have recovered from addiction get back on their feet, they add economic benefit back into the workplace and vibrancy to society.
If you or a loved one work in the music industry and are in need of addiction treatment, resources and support, MusiCares' lifesaving addiction recovery programs and services may be able to help. Know that there is hope and recovery is possible — and together we can decrease the financial devastation of addiction on individuals and society.
How Many People Have Co-Occurring Mental Health And Substance Abuse Issues?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, of the 20.2 million adults with a substance abuse disorder in the past year, 7.9 million had both a mental illness and substance use disorder, also known as co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. If you're a musician struggling with a dual diagnosis, contact MusiCares to find out how our programs may be able to help.
What Ages Are Most Vulnerable To Hearing Loss?
According to HearAids.com, most individuals who experience hearing loss are under the age of 65. If you're a musician and want to take preventative measures to protect your hearing, find out more information about MusiCares' hearing clinics.