Arm, Neck, and Shoulder pain in Musicians. Musician injuries.

October 20, 2020

Dr. Lou is Maine's chiropractor to musicians. His client list proves he's the best. Call today (207) 774-6251

AMATEUR MUSICIANS AND COMPLAINTS OF THE ARMS, NECK, AND SHOULDERS (CANS) A study published in 2017 evaluated amateur musicians and complaints of the arms, neck, and shoulders (CANS). The only relevant observations were in amateur musicians who played with an “elevated arm,” which was most often the left arm. When compared to a neutral left arm position, those with an elevated left arm, had more complaints in the arm, neck and shoulders. The amount of time playing appeared to be much less relevant than the left arm position in causing musician injuries. Who may be affected? Amateur musicians playing string instruments like violin, viola, upright bass, guitar, and bass would be most obvious. Horn players with elevated arms may also be affected. The repetitive motion of string instruments, combined with moving up and down the neck of the instrument, poses real challenges for any serious musician. Playing Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PRMD’s) are very common and the bulk of the Musician Health Specialists’ work. 3 Steps to better shoulder biomechanics while playing: Be strong. Strengthening your shoulders and upper back will help you avoid injuries. Warm-up. Stretching your arms, neck and shoulders like you are stretching for a sporting event,...

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Managing Stress – FALL 2020! Steps for success!

September 29, 2020

Actions determine outcomes. Plan for fall 2020 and be strong, happy and prepared for a wild ride this winter.

Managing stress – Fall 2020 Most of us have never lived through a time like this. Fall 2020 stands to be one of the most stressful autumn seasons in 19 years. Between elections, COVID-19, social isolation, cold weather, dark skies and the threat of snow, power outages, homeschooling, food insecurity, and working from home, the outlook for the rest of 2020 is creating a lot of anxiety. Depression is affecting many, as are feelings of helplessness and loneliness. One way to manage stress potential is by planning what you can, and not worrying about things you can’t control. Below are some things you can control, that will keep you safer if COVID-19 gets a whole lot worse. Take Vitamin D. According to Michael Hollick, MD, Ph.D. of Boston University, Vitamin D can decrease your risk of contracting COVID-19 by 54%. Take Formula 303. Formula 303 is a valerian root, passionflower, and magnesium supplement that reduces stress, reduces muscle tension, and improves sleep. Get more Sleep. Too little sleep will leave you tired, irritable, and more vulnerable to stress and illness. Exercise. Exercise reduces stress and strengthens you for a bad season of “bugs.” Exercise also helps sleep and reduces weight, a...

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Speed Hump Injuries Ruin All The Fun!

September 23, 2020

Speed Hump injuries are more common than you might think. Don't get embarrassed, get help. Call Dr. Lou (207) SPINAL-1

Speed Hump Risks Don’t Get injured by a speed hump. (Warning: Mature Content) It is what you think it is. Excited, sometimes careless, sometimes aggressive physical activity can lead to inconvenient injuries. The Brief Story of Mrs. M In 2002 upon graduation, I worked at a clinic in Kansas City, Missouri. One of my first patients had, you guessed it, an intimacy injury. After she described the “mechanism” of injury, helping her recover was easier. Don’t be embarrassed. (Mrs. M wasn’t) They happen more often than you might think. While they may be embarrassing to consider discussing with your doctor, the intimate details are less important than the big picture. You don’t need to give us a play by play recap. Not seeking help though, for fear of the “discussion,” is unnecessary and a bad decision. Doctors of all kinds have heard it all before. Since 2002 and Mrs. M’s story and moderately clear description of what occurred to cause her low back injury, I have heard about every sexual position being part of the “crime” that caused the pain. Believe it or not, we deal with these discussions regularly. Pain While low back and hip pain are most...

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Violin and Viola – The orchestra’s riskiest instruments

Violin and viola players are at the highest risk for injury among performers in the symphony.

Violin and Viola Players – Highest risk for Pain! String players have the highest risk for Performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMD’s). Rates frequently reach as high as 88%. PRMD’s include issues like neck pain, shoulder pain, shoulder impingement, carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist pain, and back pain. Symmetry Musicians who play instruments that reinforce asymmetrical postures and movements, like violin and viola, are more susceptible to injury. High volume repetitive stress, often accompanied by extreme mental focus and stress, contribute to string players’ vulnerability. A literature review spanning 16 years and published in the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists Published in 2018 strongly supports this premise. Reducing Risk in Violin and Viola Players. As frustrating and annoying as preventive measures and cool down sessions may be for musicians, like athletes, they must attempt to reduce the risk of career dampening injuries. Below are a few steps to help prevent injury that require no help. These should not be skipped: Warm-up. A gentle warming up of your body and instrument should preclude serious practice or performance. Take breaks. Pause between songs or sets to shake your body out and interrupt the repetitive, asymmetrical strain on your body. Stretching and mobility exercises...

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PRMD – Playing Related Musculoskeletal Disorders – Musician Pain

September 22, 2020

What is PRMD? PRMD stands for “Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders” among musicians. Researchers asked a large cohort of musicians about their experience with PRMD’s and the results were significant: Lifetime history of injuries averaged out to 68%. Previous 12-month history of PRMD’s was 46% 7 Day history of PRMD’s was 23% Most respondents reported multiple PRMD’s. Upper body PRMD’s were most common by region. Wrists (25%) and low back (24%) were the most common body “parts” affected. PRMD’s occur most often in musicians who practice or play many hours each week. There were 173,300 professional musicians in the United States in 2014 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. In recent surveys, nearly three-fourths of professional musicians reported past injuries and pain that affected their playing. The Musical “athlete” Professional musicians are like athletes. Practice, practice, practice, perform. Repetition of fine and gross motor movements slowly accumulates stress and strain over time, leading to the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. This tends to happen faster in musicians who fail to do the following: Warm-up and cool down. Seek help at the first sign of a problem. Recognize that symptoms have a cause. Stop playing when problems arise....

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Wrist Pain From Guitar. Guitarist Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

September 21, 2020


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in The Guitarist Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive strain injury in musicians. Guitarists’ fingers and wrists move a lot, creating friction and inflammation in the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a tight band of ligament that crosses over the wrist, like a bridge across the wrist, and the nerves going to the hand. When the nerves are under too much pressure, numbness, tingling, weakness, and poor coordination and healing often arise. Diagnosis People often “diagnose” themselves with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), but are too often wrong. With the guidance and expertise of a doctor, CTS can be easily diagnosed and recommendations for care made, via telemedicine video calls. Specific tests and patterns of symptoms will lead to an accurate diagnosis and strategic treatment. The problem with poor self “diagnosis” is that the efficacy of treatment will be compromised, potentially leading to a drawn-out worsening of the problem. For a serious musician, this could be career-altering…in a bad way. Other Factors of Vulnerability Other lifestyle factors like hobbies, sports, sleep position, previous injuries, and previous episodes may also alter the “normalcy” of your CTS, complicating treatment, even diagnosis. These additional factors may make traditional...

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Upright Bass & Shoulder Pain. Double Base Shoulder Pain.

September 15, 2020

Are you a double bass player with shoulder pain? Dr. Lou does telemedicine consultations for musicians with shoulder pain. In the U.S. call (207) 774-6251.

Pain in the shoulder – Upright Bass Whether you are playing slap style bass, bowing, using pizzicato techniques, or other extended techniques, the double bass has been known to be the cause of shoulder injuries. Shoulder impingement is one of the more common injuries. Form is critical, of course, but sometimes a history involving stress on the shoulder, either shoulder, will predispose you to an injury while playing. Below is a synopsis of shoulder impingement, and solutions for quick, strategic healing for bass players. Shoulder impingement and the bad news. Shoulder impingement syndrome is typically a repetitive stress injury. This would be more common in the shoulder of the upper hand, because of the position and constant tension on the upper shoulder. Even with a relaxed shoulder and proper form, your shoulder is still engaged in a compromised position. Your shoulder moves as your hand navigates the neck of the bass. The constant engagement along with the up and down, Is repetitive stress. Friction and inflammation in the tendons connecting the supraspinatus muscle and your arm, reduces space underneath the shoulder blade and above the ball of your shoulder joint. When the shoulder is compressed through rotation, twisting, or...

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COVID-19 Parent – Help Juggling the Juggling.

COVID MOM - Help Managing Stress!

Are you a COVID Parent? Like living through a natural disaster or another major generational event, being a “COVID MOM” during this time will be something that you’ll never forget.  Raising kids is challenging enough under normal circumstances. But the degree to which you must juggle responsibilities now is for many, unparalleled.  Do you remember a time when things were “easy?”  One of the biggest obstacles to taking care of oneself is time. We all recognize the value of time, how we don’t get it back, and how COVID-19 has changed our use of time.  Our office is acutely aware of time. We make sure that your care is efficient. No long waits, and only the necessary time for your care. No more, no less. We process your insurance for you to save you time. We have quick effective ways of scheduling and communicating with our office. We have flexible hours to make your visits most convenient for you.  Your day, your life is why you come to us, we want to make sure that you enjoy as much of it as possible. It’s not about your back pain, neck pain, or headaches. It’s about your life! Taking care...

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Pregnant during COVID-19 times. DO THESE THINGS!

August 24, 2020

Pregnant during COVID-19. 3 things to avoid/do.

The last place you want to be during pregnancy is in a facility that cares for sick people. According to a study published in MMWR, pregnant women with COVIID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized and are at increased risk of admission to the ICU for mechanical ventilation, than non-pregnant women. The moral of the story? Don’t get COVID-19 while pregnant. When you are pregnant, you are not only caring for yourself and your family but for the baby on the way. The consequence of COVID-19 on pregnancy is not yet fully understood.   Maybe your kids are back in school and run the risk of bringing home COVID? CDC Back To School Decision Making Help For Parents and Guardians. How do you limit your risk of contracting COVID-19 while pregnant? It’s nothing you haven’t heard before. PROBIOTIC – Supplement with probiotics. They help build your immune system. MASK UP – Always wear a mask in public. AVOID SICK CLINICS – Unless unavoidable, avoid clinics that see sick people. If your back hurts, before going to the ER, Urgent Care, or Convenient MD, consider going to a chiropractic office with a controlled environment, that doesn’t work with sick people. What are...

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Shoulder pain, arm pain, arm numbness, tingling, weakness?

August 18, 2020

Thoracic outlet syndrome causes arm pain, numbness, even weakness. It can be very worrisome, but when diagnosed early, chiropractic care and exercise may solve your problem. WITHOUT drugs or surgery.

Do you suspect you have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)? Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of conditions involving the compression of nerves and blood vessels in your neck and shoulder area. TOS can lead to pain, numbness and weakness in your neck, shoulders, and arms. Most commonly caused by repetitive stress, trauma, and anatomical abnormalities,  TOS can destroy sleep, work, hobbies, and your future.  Or, it can be easily corrected if the cause is properly identified. Often accompanied by neck and shoulder pain or tension, the arm on the affected side will sometimes have scary symptoms like pain and numbness in the left arm, mimicking what we might feel is a heart attack symptom. It is important to see your doctor to rule out heart issues if symptoms on the left side are worrisome. Over time,  if not dealt with properly, thoracic outlet syndrome can worsen to the point of needing surgery. Don’t Want Surgery? See a chiropractor. Huh? That’s right. Oftentimes TOS is caused by compression of a rib and your collar bone, both of which are commonly worked on by chiropractors. With TOS your nerves, muscles, and bones are not positioned and working well together. The bones and...

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