Sunday, March 29, 2015

Injuries of Wind Instrument Musicians

Wind instrument musicians are my favorite people, because I am a wind instrument musician. Musicians, singers, dancers and artists are very vulnerable to career ending repetitive stress injuries. I have a passion for what I do for a living, helping those in pain, because repetitive stress injuries from playing the clarinet was a fact of life for me. There are many therapies out there that can help and keep us healthy, happy and playing. My two favorite therapies for problems that are unique to wind musicians are craniosacral therapy and neurokinetic therapy. I love them as a client who receives them, as well as a massage therapist who offers them.

Craniosacral Therapy: If you are a wind musician, your cranial bones are misaligned. A number of things can cause them to become misaligned from playing a wind musical instrument, oral surgery, orthodontic work, falls, etc. this can cause symptoms of TMJ, orthopedic problems, neurological problems, nerve pain, neck pain and back pain. Gently releasing the cranial bones can release tight cranial tissues. When I started receiving craniosacral therapy, my jaw felt better aligned and the intra oral work made my entire face look rearranged in a good way. One side was drooping before I had this done. When I do craniosacral therapy on clients with jaw problems, they have reported that they no longer grind their teeth and no more jaw pain or clicking. Craniosacral therapy also gently realigns my back and hips.

Neurokinetic Therapy: Neurokinetic therapy is muscle testing that tests for compensation patterns. I get long term results from it and so do my clients. We don't get long term results from traditional therapeutic massage. Working on a muscle that is being compensated for can create more compensation problems. If traditional therapeutic massage works, I have yet to see it. To be honest, traditional therapeutic massage brings back pain and dysfunction patterns that I forgot that I used to have. I no longer offer it in my practice. During my most recent Neurokinetic therapy session, the therapist found my jaw compensating for my abdominal muscles. She kept using techniques that would help my abdominal muscles become for functional, in order to release my jaw. If she had just worked on my jaw, without making the connection with the abdominals, the jaw would not have released and she would have bruised me up, trying.  My jaw felt much more aligned and it was so much easier for me to play my clarinet.  I also have a history of hand and wrist issues from playing so much. Neurokinetic therapy keeps it away. Traditional therapeutic massage makes it worse for me.

These are two of many wonderful therapies available to wind musicians with injuries or really any kind of discomfort. Best of all, they are gentle and non invasive.