Specialized Hand Therapy for Musicians

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For many musicians, keeping their body in excellent shape is part of their job. But what can be done when an injury happens?

Conditions affecting musicians can range from soreness and pain to an injury that impacts their ability to play and perform as scheduled. Just as learning an instrument requires special training and expertise, so does treating a musician who is struggling with pain or an injury.

Luckily, musicians in the TriState area have an excellent local resource for specialized care: the St. Elizabeth Hand Therapy Center. As the largest and most experienced Certified Hand Center in the area, our Certified Hand Therapists (CHT) offer musician patients individualized attention, designing a treatment program to specifically fit the musician’s needs.

A Unique Treatment Approach

A musician’s first inclination might be to try to play through pain or injury – but that often makes it worse. It is important to seek a specialist who is certified to specifically treat hand injuries and conditions.

“Our Hand Therapy Center offers a unique treatment approach for musicians,” says Ricki Collins. She is a six-year member of PAMA, a Certified Hand Therapist and a Licensed Occupational Therapist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “No matter if the musician is struggling with common musculoskeletal issues or specific injuries, the Hand Center has a plan in place to help.”

First, musicians bring in their instruments for an initial video evaluation, where the staff can assess factors like player interface with the instrument, posture, core, and irregularities in motion. Next, the musician’s musical history is evaluated and then a standard hand evaluation is performed to assess strength and range of motion. Once these steps are complete, the specialists at the Hand Therapy Center create a treatment program that includes exercises, modalities, splints, posture adjustments, strengthening and preventative core exercises for future playing.

If needed, the Hand Therapy Center can also coordinate sessions with an appropriate music instructor to work on musical technique or interface. Musician patients are given a return to play schedule, similar to an athlete returning to the football field or basketball court.

“We had a young pianist patient who was scheduled to play at Carnegie Hall but came to us with left finger pain, weakness, and decreased motion,” says Ricki. “After completing our program and focusing on splinting, posture and core training, the pianist returned to her full range of play and performed in New York as planned.”

St. Elizabeth Hand Therapy Center: We’re Here to Help

The specialists at the St. Elizabeth Hand Therapy Center see a wide range of conditions affecting musicians, including:

  • Pianist: wrist and/or finger pain, tendonitis, muscle fatigue, posture and tension issues
  • Violinists: excessive tension on left hand/wrist, tendonitis, neck or shoulder pain.
  • Guitarists: arm weakness, tendonitis,
  • Percussionist: nerve entrapments, tendonitis or weakness.
  • Cellists: thumb, wrist and elbow pain.

The St. Elizabeth Hand Therapy Center works closely with Dr. Thomas Due at OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Dr. Due is a nationally regarded expert in the performing arts community. As a member of the Performing Artist Medicine Association (PAMA), he is known for treating hand and wrist injuries and conditions in both children and adult musicians.

If you are a musician and would like to set up an appointment at the St. Elizabeth Hand Therapy Center, please call (850) 301-5540 for more information. A doctor’s referral is needed. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Due at OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, please call (859) 201-BONE.