Is There A Special Doctor For Musicians?
What separates the health issues of musicians from those of “ordinary” people?
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 which are not always a success.
In my 20+ years of experience working with musicians of all levels, none want to give up their instrument. None of them want to have surgery unless it is the absolute last resort. Most have no interest in taking prescriptions, because they don’t feel that the underlying issue will be, or can be addressed. Do you know the link between Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, and Prince? (ANSWER)
Similar to others who, like me, specialize in the health, injuries, performance, resilience, agility, precision, speed, illness prevention in musicians, and have a special insight into the world of music, focus on the biomechanics, healing process, and neurological (brain and nerve) communication is critical. A proper education in these realms, when combined with decades of experience, may mean the difference between never performing again, or planning your next tour. (LINK to essential self care tools for your tour bus)
There are special doctors for musicians, but most of the training doesn’t happen in school, it happens over decades of time spent in green rooms, studying and working with musicians, learning about how they play, how they hurt, how they get better while continuing to play. These doctors have insight and experience that others don’t have. They are familiar with the stressful nature of touring, and the high stakes injuries in the body parts that are your primary tools for making a living and expressing yourself. These doctors understand instruments, and how musicians play them. The musician’s health specialist understands the difference between lateral epicondylitis in a tennis player, and the same diagnosis, and its differences, in a guitarist.
Dr. Lou Jacobs is a chiropractor with over 20 years experience working with touring musicians, local musicians, and the bands, and crews that support them. Having worked with hundreds of musical talents of all levels, with various injuries and issues, of all ages, Dr. Lou has long since passed the 10,000 hour mark when it comes to working with high performance human musical machines.