The rigors encountered by performing artists are similar to those endured by professional athletes. They each undertake a vigorous regimen of training and conditioning, often eight to ten hours of practice daily.
"Musicians and other performing artists are exposed to tremendous amounts of stress in the upper extremities during practices and recitals," said Barry P. Simmons, professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston, at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Orthopaedic Update.In this arena of professional artists, demands of excellence, precision and endurance can be costly to the body of the artist, often leading to seriously debilitating conditions such as carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel is caused by pressure exerted on the median nerve at the wrist and cubital tunnel is caused by repeated injury/pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. The conditions and treatments discussed by Dr. Simmons are not limited to performing artists such as musicians, but may also occur in other artists, such as sculptors, painters who extensively use their hands and upper extremities.
Treatments available to performing artists result in a high degree of success and recovery.
Some helpful steps to avoid injury include stretching before practices and recitals. Adequate rest periods are needed. The difference between normal discomfort and detrimental pain should be understood. And last but not the least is an evaluation from a physician is a must.