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 Our website and YouTube channels have loads of helpful DIY instruction for musicians, historical content, and troubleshooting ideas and strategies for playing at full capacity for your entire life.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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Is There A Special Doctor For Musicians?

October 19, 2022

Dr. Lou with The Eagles of Death Metal

Is There A Special Doctor For Musicians? What separates the health issues of musicians from those of “ordinary” people? Diet? No. Exercise? No. Genetics? No. As a musician, does your doctor know the difference between carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in secretary in a legal office, and CTS in the wrists and hands in a flautist? Do they understand what needs to change, and how? What about the difference between neck pain in a guitarist vs neck pain in a cellist? Does numbness in the face of a tuba player differ from that of a harmonica player, and how? What separates specific health issues of musicians from ordinary people are the hours of focused practice and repetition, of the mind and body. Diabetes is a lifestyle related disease that knows no boundaries. Cancer affects everyone. High blood pressure – mostly a lifestyle issue that affects everyone. Musicians have specific repetitive stress issues that often affect the nerves, muscles, joints and other moving parts of the body. PRMD’s or practice related musculoskeletal disorders are real, and may impact the musician in the short as well as long term. PRMD’s have ended tours, ended careers, or led to invasive surgeries, some of...

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Self Care Tools For Musicians On A Tour Bus – Dr. Lou Jacobs

September 21, 2022

Dr. Lou with Gary Clark Jr. in 2022

Best body work tools to take on the road. I work with a lot of musicians, their crew, and management. When you are on a tour bus for weeks on end, it can be really rough on your body. While recently working with Gary Clark Jr., it came to my attention that I should have recommendations for tools that you might use on a tour bus to help ease the aches and pains of performing and being on the road. Heating Pad Theracane Percussion Massager Formula 303 *Ball in a sock *Exercise and stretching videos with Dr. Lou Heating pads are comforting, they promote blood flow and often reduce the tension and soreness of achy muscles. They are cheap, easy to use, and very helpful when you just feel sore and tight. Your tour bus should have ample outlets to plug one in. The Theracane is a plastic cane-like tool that is used to work on knots in muscle by oneself. They are designed so that the user can put pressure on any part of the body, to loosen it up. No need for tour bus electricity for this tool, it’s old school. A percussion massager does similar work...

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Michael Jackson. Prince. Tom Petty. Back Pain and Opioids.

August 24, 2022

Michael Jackson, Prince, and Tom Petty walk into a bar…. Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. Prince was found dead on April 21, 2016. Tom Petty died on October 2, 2017. Though all very different personalities, they had one common note. Their causes of death were related to dependency on pain medication, ultimately for back pain. Although Michael Jackson’s problems are reported to have started after he was severely burned while filming the infamous Pepsi commercial, his pain later in life was related to low back pain caused by a fall on stage. Or off the stage as it were. At his time of death, his house was filled with painkillers like oxycontin, demerol and diprivan. According to testimony given by friends and former doctors, Michael Jackson was severely addicted to pain killers and other forms of anesthesia. What is not well, or publicly documented is what he tried for his back that didn’t involve medications. Perhaps it was too late, and he was so addicted to the pain meds from his 3rd degree burns, that natural methods for back pain were out of the question for him. It’s sad to think he may have had other options....

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The Guitar Player and Bass Player.

March 26, 2022

Dr. Lou with Motionless in White - Spring 2022 - Cross Insurance Arena - Portland, Maine - Trinity Of Terror Tour

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And The Guitarist Prevention. Management. Healing. In this brief post, you will learn about the anatomy of the carpal tunnel, what carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) does to the guitarist, and how to prevent, manage and treat CTS yourself. The carpal tunnel is a band of ligamentous tissue that traverses the wrist. Think of it as a stretchable bridge over a stream. Underneath the carpal tunnel ligament, also known as the “Flexor Retinaculum” or “carpal ligament”, is where your forearm and finger tendons live. It is also where the nerves and blood vessels run along side one another to nourish and control your hands. All of these structures are packed pretty tightly through the wrist, under the flexor retinaculum. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when inflammation due to repetitive stress, or scar tissue and adhesion due to repetitive stress accumulates under the flexor retinaculum. This is one of the more common playing related musculoskeletal disorders or PRMD’s in guitarists and bassists. Beyond pain, numbness, tingling and even weakness may occur in the hands and fingers. Loss of dexterity, and even muscle loss may occur in severe cases. The surgical treatment of this involves cutting the flexor retinaculum and...

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