High demand for holiday concerts can cause repetitive strain injuries, says Edmonton researcher.

 Pinched notes are common for musicians at Christmas

High demand for holiday concerts can cause repetitive strain injuries, says Edmonton researcher.


Published on Tue Dec 20 2016


Dr. Christine Guptill, who plays the oboe, is urging musicians not to overwork themselves
with Christmas concerts this year.



Many classical musicians get the same things for Christmas: A lot of extra work and a lot of extra injuries.


Indeed, one occupational therapist at the University of Alberta, who also plays the oboe, is using her experience with musical induced injuries as inspiration to for new research into the strange spike in injuries that musicians face each year at Christmas.

Christine Guptill said the holiday season puts extra strain on the musically inclined – especially classical musicians in high demand for Christmas themed concerts – and this often leads to injuries.

“Just imagine you were working out. You have your regular workout routine and then all of a sudden someone tells you (that) you should be working out an extra 40 hours a week,” said Guptill.

Guptill said musicians in general face more work-related injuries than people in most other occupations, and those injuries peak this time of year.

Most, like tendinitis and nerve compression, are related to repetitive strain. Some, like focal dystonia, are almost unique to musicians.

“A lot of musicians get heavily into what they’re doing and they’re not necessarily athletic types, and so they didn’t necessarily get the background they should have in how you can protect yourself from these things,” said Guptill, who has suffered several injuries as an oboist.

A recent Australian study showed 84 per cent of musicians had physical problems related to playing their instrument at some point in their career.

Popular shows like Nutcracker will run five times in a weekend over the holidays in Edmonton, and while the dancers will often take shifts, musicians will not.

With a tendency toward freelancing in the music world, most take on extra work whenever they can get it.

Guptill said it’s important to have good posture when practising, not to spend too long hammering over the same difficult passage, and to take frequent breaks.

“About every half hour, people should be taking a five minute break. If you’re injured it should be more frequent,” she said.

Guptill added that exercise outside of music is important as well – so if musicians can eke out any spare time they should consider spending it on yoga, jogging or swimming.


Bron: http://www.metronews.ca/news/edmonton/2016/12/20/pinched-notes-are-common-for-musicians-at-christmas.html