Bass Guitar Injuries. Prevention and Healing.

December 22, 2020

Bass player injuries can be prevented. They can also be healed without drugs and surgery, at home, without frequent visits to providers. Call Dr. Lou, Maine's "Rock Doc." (207) 774-6251. Telemedicine available.

The Bass Guitar & Injuries Tools to fight arm and hand injuries. You are today, the sum of all your experiences, practices, gigs, accidents, stressors, and jobs. One of the biggest mistakes when working to prevent or resolve playing injuries is sometimes focusing too much on the instrument, it’s balance and position, and not enough on your day to day activities. “Good practices” are not as simple as warming up, taking breaks, and cooling down after play!!!” PRMD’s or “playing-related musculoskeletal disorders” are common among guitarists of all types. In bass players, repetitive stress injuries of the forearm, shoulder, neck, elbow, wrist, and hand are especially common. The length of the neck, string tension, and action, the weight of the guitar, arm and hand position, fingering techniques all make the bass guitar a moderate to high-risk instrument. From Carpal tunnel syndrome, and trigger fingers, to tennis elbow, there are many controllable factors and methods for reducing your risk of injury that you may not be aware of. Thinking beyond warming up, taking breaks, and cooling down after play. Warming up, taking regular and restful breaks, as well as cooling down after playing, much like in an athlete, have great...

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Elbow Pain in Guitar Players – Lateral Epicondylitis.

November 17, 2020

Lateral epicondylitis is common in strummers of string instruments! Dr. Lou is an expert in musician injuries and healing from a non invasive chiropractic perspective. "Telechiro" with Dr. Lou available anywhere in the world.

Lateral Epicondylitis – Guitar Elbow – Tennis Elbow Cause. Solution. Healing Plan Execution. Much like tennis players who put tremendous repetitive strain on their elbows, musicians often suffer from “tennis elbow.” Musicians who play guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, merlin, lute, or other stringed instruments, push their strumming elbow and connecting ligaments, tendons, and muscles to the limit, often leading to painful inflammation, restriction, and inability to play. If caught early, understood, and strategically addressed, the dysfunction that causes the inflammation and pain can be addressed, getting you back to playing while getting stronger and more resilient. PRMD’s or playing-related musculoskeletal disorders are common in string players of all kinds. They tend to build over a long period of time with repetitive stress, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, a “straw” breaks the camel’s back and you are unable to play comfortably, or at all. If this type of injury gets out of control, injections, medications, and even surgery may be recommended. Most musicians I work with can neither spare the recovery time nor risk their futures as musicians if something goes wrong or gets worse. It’s often a life or death of the music situation. The first thing to...

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Most common injuries in drummers. PRMD’s in drummers and percussionists.

November 11, 2020

Drummer injury Specialist. No drugs, no surgery. When you think drummer injuries, think Dr. Lou. (207) SPINAL 1

Playing Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PRMD’s) Drummers and Percussionists PRMD’s are common in all musicians who play long enough, hard enough, and frequent enough to qualify them as a “musical athlete.” Like other repetitive stress injuries that occur in golfers, tennis players, runners, and swimmers, musicians accumulate stress over time with repetition and at some point, their body can’t take it anymore. In 2019, Nirvana drummer and frontman for The Foo Fighters missed two shows due to arm surgery. “Speaking to Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino at Los Angeles’ Pollstar Live conference, he said: “This is something I’ve had to deal with for a long time and it’s not the end of the world, but I did have to have surgery on my arm because I need it to pay the rent,” he said. “I knew I had to fix my arm at some point and I went ahead and did it.” (Source: APNEWS) For somewhat obvious reasons, drummers and percussionists tend to have more than their fair share of PRMD’s. A study published in September 2020 in the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists, the drummers studied (polled) were those percussionists who sit at a drum set....

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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

Dr. Lou with Steve Vai

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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