In the music industry, injuries commonly develop as the demands on musicians often exceed their limits. Unhealthy diet, inconsistent or inadequate sleep, and physical and emotional stressors are a constant reality for the touring musician. This hectic lifestyle doesn't allow the body adequate time to rest, recharge, and heal. Because the show must go on, pain killers, muscle relaxers, steroids and anti-anxiety medication are often taken to help dull the pain or ease the mind, but they are only a temporary fix. In the morning, the pain commences and the stress begins to set in.
Mental symptoms such as stress, anxiety and depression occur when there is an imbalance in the body. While taking medication can sometimes cover up these symptoms, the root of the imbalance remains and until treated becomes a never-ending cycle of self-medication, sleep deprivation, and fatigue. Masking these symptoms with medications can also cause unwanted side effects that can interfere with the creative process. Fatigue, changes in appetite/weight, and changes in sleep patterns are common unwanted side effects. Acupuncture works to harmonize the body and mind removing both the physical and mental effects of stress, anxiety and depression naturally. It helps a person change their reaction pattern to a stimulus that earlier brought on symptoms of anxiety or stress. Pain fighting and emotion balancing endorphins are also produced during acupuncture. The neurotransmitter serotonin, that is responsible for influencing a positive mood, is produced in larger quantities when a person is receiving acupuncture. After an acupuncture session people often feel energized, focused, and less stressed.
While stress and other emotional issues can cause physical symptoms, muscle aches, swelling, stiffness, and limited range of motion can also be caused by repetitive strain injuries. Because musicians are often repeating the same motions with their fingers, arms, hands etc, the muscles become over-worked and repetitive strain injuries commonly occur. Trigger points (tight knots in the fibers of the muscles) are often the culprit for the pain musicians experience during repetitive strain injuries. These muscle fibers become tightly wound and cause stress on the nerves and the joints. Acupuncture releases these trigger points and allows the muscles to stretch back to its normal size, relaxing the muscle and relieving the pain. For instance, a drummer is constantly practicing to master different strokes. Too much practice without enough rest or without proper technique and one might experience cramping, numbness, and/or pain in that region. This discomfort is most likely caused by trigger points in one or more of the forearm muscles (see below) due to repetitive strain. Trigger points can cause local pain as well as referral(non-local) pain patterns. Trigger points and the subsequent pain they cause can be eliminated with acupuncture treatment. To ensure the pain does not return, stretching techniques and postural changes (if needed) should also be added. Below are some common trigger points (marked X) and the referral pain patterns (in red).
Common wrist/arm pain trigger points - drummers, pianists, guitarists/bassists
Common elbow pain trigger points - drummers, pianists, guitarists/bassists
Shoulder/Upper back/Neck pain trigger points - guitarists/bassists, violinists, drummers, pianists, flutists
Common low back pain trigger points - drummers, guitarists, bassists
Just as some musicians enjoy a massage to relax before a show, acupuncture can reduce muscle tension while also releasing endorphins to lessen anxiety and focus the mind. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about how acupuncture can help you! We offer group and in-home rates.