Drummers and Wrist Injuries. Prevention and Treatment.

November 19, 2023

Drummers and Wrist Injuries Prevention and Treatment For decades, I have worked with drummers of all levels. Drummers experience various wrist issues, often related to the repetitive and forceful nature of drumming. There are other issues to tackle like back and neck pain, shoulder pain, etc., but this post is about wrists. Some common wrist problems include: Tendonitis: This is the inflammation of a tendon, which is the tissue that connects muscle to bone. Drummers can develop tendonitis in the wrist due to the repetitive motion of playing and the force exerted on the tendons. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This condition occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. Drummers who frequently grip drumsticks tightly may be at risk. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: This condition involves inflammation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Drummers who use a lot of thumb movement, such as in traditional grip, may be more susceptible. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): This is a general term for conditions resulting from repetitive motion and overuse of certain muscles. Drummers can develop RSIs from the repetitive nature of drumming, affecting various parts of the...

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Carpal Boss and the guitar player. Expert advice

November 5, 2023

Carpal boss, or carpal bossing is not always serious. But when it is, it can destroy musical careers.

Musicians and Carpal Boss: A Discordant Duet For musicians, their hands (and minds) are their most valuable tools. Whether they play the piano, guitar, violin, or any other instrument, the intricate movements required demand a high level of hand and thumb dexterity. What is carpal bossing? This is an accurate description taken from wikipedia: “Carpometacarpal bossing (or metacarpal/carpal bossing) is a small, immovable mass of bone on the back of the wrist. The mass occurs in one of the joints between the carpus and metacarpus of the hand, called the carpometacarpal joints, where a small immovable protuberance[1] occurs when this joint becomes swollen or bossed.”  Carpal Boss(ing) can be especially troublesome for musicians, as it directly impacts their ability to perform. Here are some of the challenges they face: Confusion: The difference between a carpal boss and a ganglion cyst is that a carpal boss is a hardened area, while a ganglion cyst feels softer to the touch. This is because it contains a jelly-like fluid rather than a bony substance. If you try to use the “bible method” of pounding a ganglion cyst on a carpal boss, you will likely have a very unpleasant, unsuccessful, destructive experience. Proper diagnosis is...

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Are those lumpy finger joints Heberden’s Nodes?

July 25, 2023

Are those lumpy finger joints Heberden's Nodes? Call Dr. Lou at (207) SPINAL 1

Guitarists often find themselves with arthritis in the fingers. If you’ve seen Keith Richard’s fingers in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the arthritis. He can still play, and you should be able to as well. There are action steps that you can take to ease the arthritic destruction, pain, and restriction of what are called Heberden’s Nodes. Heberden’s nodes are bony swellings that can develop at the distal interphalangeal joints (DIP) of the fingers. They are often associated with osteoarthritis. While there is no cure for Heberden’s nodes, the following management strategies can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life: Pain management: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), suggested by your primary care doctor, may help reduce pain and inflammation. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult a Medical Doctor if you need a formal recommendation or have any concerns. Topical treatments: Some topical creams and gels containing capsaicin, CBD, THC or NSAIDs can be applied to the affected areas to reduce pain and inflammation. Discuss these options with your doctor to ensure they are appropriate for your situation. Heat and cold therapy: Applying warm compresses or using paraffin wax baths can...

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Hip Pain in Guitar Players

June 30, 2023

Hip Pain in Guitar Players Playing the guitar is generally a pretty safe activity to be passionate about, but the repetitive motions involved can lead to various musculoskeletal issues. While most people associate guitar playing with hand and wrist pain, it’s important not to overlook the potential for hip pain. The hip joints play crucial roles in maintaining balance and supporting the body while sitting or standing during long practice sessions or performances. In this blog post, we will explore the causes, prevention, and treatment of hip pain in guitar players. Causes of Hip Pain Poor Posture: Slouching or leaning excessively while playing the guitar can strain the hip joints and surrounding muscles, leading to pain and discomfort. Extended Sitting: Long periods of sitting, which is common during practice sessions or performances, can contribute to hip stiffness and pain. Muscle Imbalances: Imbalances in the muscles surrounding the hips, such as tight hip flexors and weak gluteal muscles, can cause hip pain. Imbalances like these can stem from the way that you stand and sit asymmetrically while playing, or while not playing. Overuse and Repetitive Motion: Repeatedly performing, even practicing,  can put strain on the hip joints over time. Prevention...

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Dr. Lou has what guitarists need!

February 10, 2023

Content for Musicians  We have content condensed to two primary locations. YouTube & Dr. Lou’s BLOG. Dr. Lou’s App, available in the App Store, is also musician centered. Search “Dr. Lou – Chiropractor” and download the app for free! Our website and YouTube channels have loads of helpful DIY instruction for musicians, historical content, and troubleshooting ideas and strategies for playing at full capacity for your entire life. Here’s how you find it! YouTube   (click it) To find music related blog posts, go to the website, click the blog button, and search “Music” Dr. Lou’s latest article, an interview for Guitar Player Magazine can be found here: Guitar Player Magazine...

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Perry Farrell – 2020 Spine Surgery – Voicebox Removed!

January 26, 2023

Musicians and Neck Surgery Perry Farrell, lead singer of the iconic alt-rock band Jane’s Addiction, underwent surgery in 2020 for a cervical spine disc issue caused by years of head banging while on stage. The surgery, was a success and Farrell has since made what appears to be a full recovery Can Head Banging Cause Neck Damage? Yes. Of course it can. Head banging is like a series of mini whiplashes over the course of an entire concert. Muscle, ligament, and tendon sprain-strain injuries are most likely. In more longterm severe cases, herniated discs may manifest. It is important to think of consequences before engaging in an activity that could lead to long-term health issues and even surgical mishap disability, even death. “Consider Potential Consequences.” ~Dr. Lou If you don’t know the consequences or mechanisms leading to consequences, that’s what people like “Dr. Lou” are for. A large part of my consulting with musicians online is trying to avoid, or modify behaviors that could lead to unwanted long-term health issues and risk factors. Farrell had been dealing with spinal issues for some time, and the surgery was deemed necessary to alleviate the pain and discomfort he had been experiencing in his...

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Celine Dion – Stiff Person Syndrome – Dr. Lou

January 6, 2023

Stiff Person Syndrome

Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) Tremendous attention is being paid to “Stiff Person Syndrome” since the diagnosis for Celine Dion. To understand SPS, you must first understand how to flush a toilet. You see, as you apply pressure to the handle on the toilet, a small rush of water will begin to flow, and if you push harder, you’ll get even closer to the toilet flushing! More downward pressure on the handle takes you right to the very moment, the closest a moment can get, to flushing, without actually flushing. Nothing has flushed, and then you apply the lightest teensy-weensy bit of pressure and it pushes the handle over the edge, the floodgates open and the toilet flushes. Simply put, stress works the same way. More pressure and there are signs that the toilet will eventually flush, but it doesn’t flush just then. It’s not until there is just enough stress (pressure) to take you to the very moment, the closest a moment can get to being THE moment when your body shuts down. SPS is not fully understood. This means its cause is not fully understood. It is very rare, and more common in women. Stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is...

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Finger Cramping – Guitar – Bass – Banjo – Ukulele – Violin – Cello

November 29, 2022

Finger Cramps in String Instrument Players

Guitar Player Finger Cramps Finger cramps will put a stop to your playing, and can be really painful. They are common in players who play hard, play long, and are predisposed to cramping. If you are reading this, you’ve likely already read a bunch, tried a bunch, and nothing has worked. It’s time to look at “PERPS”. What is a PERP? A perp in the world of music injuries is not a perpetrator, but rather a perpetuator. What I’m about to tell you is missed by many doctors. Sometimes the cause of your problem is less important than what keeps the problem going, and they are not the same thing. Your body wants to heal, it is designed to heal itself. When it is not capable of healing itself or avoiding recurring pain, or in this case finger cramps, we have to ask ourselves a question. Why is it that not all guitarists get finger cramps, and what in my life, could be leading to this recurring problem for which resolution seems impossible. Common perpetuating factors are things like: Day Jobs Sleep positions Previous accidents or injuries Power tool use Video games Gardening Working out Motorcycles and bikes Sports...

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Hank Williams – A Story of a  musician, Chronic Pain, Doctors, and Addiction

November 17, 2022

Hank Williams back pain, doctors, addiction, death.

Hank Williams – A Story of a  musician, Chronic Pain, Doctors, and Addiction Hank Williams is often considered to be one of the most influential singers, songwriters, and musicians of the 20th century. His life was cut short at the age of 29, on January 1, 1953. If by some miracle, he were still alive today, he would be 99 years old. Hank Williams suffered from debilitating back pain for a good part of his life. It is reported that in 1941 he suffered a back injury after falling from a bull during a rodeo. Prior to the injury in Texas, beginning in the late 1930’s, Williams had already started drinking. Some sources say he started drinking heavily at age 13. It has also been reported that his substance abuse worsened dramatically in the presence of low back pain. In late 1951, Hank Williams fell while hunting, and his back pain returned with a vengeance. It was bad enough that painkillers like morphine and alcohol became his medicine to ease the pain. On December 13, 1951, a little over 1 year before his death, he had spinal fusion surgery at Vanderbilt University Hospital. He was only 28 years old...

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Touring Musician Stress, Injury, and Illness.

November 15, 2022

Dr. Lou with Sarah Shook

“We don’t get paid for playing, we get paid for riding” The job of a touring musician is not just playing gigs. For those who don’t live the lifestyle of a moderately successful touring musician, it is hard to grasp what goes in to a “day at the office.” The physical and mental wear and tear of being on the road is real. In over 20 years of working with musicians who travel by plane, tour bus, sprinter van, even rusty Subaru with trailer, it’s work for all of them. One “A-List” musician patient of mine once told me something to the effect of “of course I’m blessed beyond belief, but I’m still not at home tonight.” Success of all types requires sacrifice. The hour or two on stage is often preceded by the sound check, and the unloading of gear, the drive to the venue, the sleep on the bus the night before, eating out for every meal, and the list of stressors goes on and on. When working with a touring musician it is critical to recognize the connection between mental, physical, and chemical stress. All types of stressors break people down slowly, and while on the...

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