Information On Wellness & Healing:
Integrative and Holistic Medicine - Preventive
and Wellness Medicine
Complimentary Alternative Medicine
Musician's Hand's Problems:
Musicians have many occurrences of pain throughout
their careers. The mechanics of their instruments and the type of playing
demanded by modern music can aggravate problems that can cause pain, numbness,
weakness, or lack of control. These symptoms commonly occur in your wrist,
hand, fingers, thumb, arm, elbow, shoulder, and/or neck.
Many labels have been applied to these problems, including "tendonitis"
and "carpal tunnel syndrome." Medically, these conditions are treated
with drugs (painkillers and anti-inflammatories), braces, instructions
to lay off playing, and even surgery. The doctors at Universal City Medical
Wellness Group have sought out natural methodologies to correct and cure
the underlying causes of musicians' pain and not just a way to cover them
The underlying causes of these problems are basically electro-chemical.
Electrical and chemical signals flow through the nervous system controlling
the functions of muscles and joints. The solution is to fix the electrical
failure and restore proper function of the joints resulting in release
One of the main issues causing nerve-system malfunction is called subluxation.
Subluxation is a word describing the condition that occurs when the bones
in the joints move slightly out of their normal position and interfere
with the normal free motion of the joint, putting pressure on the nearby
nerves. This interrupts the pain-free electrical function that the nerve
system normally has. The goal of fixing a subluxation is to track the
wiring diagram of the nerves, find the short circuits and fix them! This
means locating and correcting whatever is interfering with the proper
nerve flow to and from the arms and hands.
The actual cause of these shorted circuits can often be found not in
the playing of an instrument, but from old injuries to the neck. These
types of injuries could be whiplash associated from an old car accident
or even a sports injury or fall. In other cases, the problem can be traced
back to repetitive injuries such as over playing during practice or rehearsals.
With all of this considered, musicians put additional stresses on their
body by hanging a heavy guitar or bass on their shoulder and by their
onstage posture. When musicians start playing, they demand more power,
more speed, and more accuracy from their hands and arms-and a system that's
already damaged becomes inflamed. On top of this, drugs whether recreational
or prescription (even if just nicotine and alcohol), too little sleep
and too little nutritious food can damage the body and reduce its resistance
to stress even more!
When examining a patient, we start at the neck, spine and all extremities
involved. We will locate any signs of weakness, swelling, subluxated joints,
muscle spasms and any areas of tenderness. Sometimes, a set of X-Rays
is required to locate the physical damage of the spine and to show detailed
structure and misalignments. Many times, the subluxations of the neck
or back vertebrae show up as pain in the shoulder, arm, or hand but not
in the place of origin.
The doctors at UCMWG use a very powerful technique that was developed
by Dr. Ray Zindler of Vancouver, Canada and was found to be useful with
musicians. This technique using a set of super-precise adjustments, is
an extension of the chiropractic specialty of Applied Kinesiology, (Kinesiology
being the study of the motion of the body.)
When testing a patient for the cause of symptoms, the hand and arm are
held in a series of different positions showing which nerves and muscles
come into play and where the nerves are being put under abnormal pressure
by the bones. Next, a series of strength tests are performed on the fingers,
hand and arm showing the doctor instantly where the messages to the extremities
are being blocked!
Once the actual problem is identified, specialized chiropractic adjustments
are performed to relieve the abnormal pressure and restore proper nerve
function. The results are immediate and dramatic.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a specialized example of subluxation. The hand
has many nerves that travel in and out of a tunnel of bones forming the
wrist (these bones being the carpals.) This delicate system of nerves
can become entrapped, compressed, and pinched even with the slightest
misalignment of the carpal bones. We recommend adjustment to the carpal
bones to stop this nerve compression and eliminating the need for surgery.
Many patients are diagnosed with tendonitis for their hand problems,
but this is really a description of the symptom and not the cause. Tendonitis
is an inflammation, but we find it is best cured by locating the nerves
that are blocked and/or the nutritional problems causing it. The doctors
at UCMWG are dedicated to a very specific non-surgery, non-drug approach
to treating these conditions with much success.
We have seen many musicians in our office with wrist and hand pain after
failed surgeries. Drugs like cortisone that are used in treating tendonitis
and carpal tunnel syndrome have great side effects on the human glandular
system. Our body's adrenal glands are supposed to create natural cortisone,
but when undernourished and overstressed they do not function optimally.
How Stress, Adrenal Glands and Nutrition Affect
The life of a musician is a world of stress and stimulation. This stress
- whether physical, mental, emotional, or chemical - first stops at the
adrenal glands and makes them overactive. Your body's adrenal glands sit
atop each of your kidneys and produce a very powerful chemical called
adrenaline. In times of stress your body uses this chemical to help keep
up with what your brain is telling it to do. Eventually, without proper
nutrition, stress burns out the adrenal glands and your body cannot keep
Nutritionally what's happening, is that the blown out adrenal glands
have become deficient in B-Vitamins. A common mistake is to fuel your
body with junk food and not get enough sleep all the while having to work
under high-pressure situations. This creates a process of depletion of
the body's B-vitamins, which in some cases can even produce symptoms of
carpal tunnel syndrome. We often recommend a complex of B-vitamins to
support the carpal tunnel and help the adrenal glands fight the inflammation
caused by all this stress to the body's glandular system.
Like many holistic practioners, we use and have had much success with
glandular supplements to treat adrenal exhaustion. These glandulars help
greatly due to the raw materials that rebuild and strengthen your body's
exhausted glands, all without any side-effects; drug-free, and completely
safe. Doing this helps your body rebuild its own glandular system giving
you the power to deal with the damaging effects of stress.
Your reality as a musician is a tough one if you're in pain and/or have
loss of function. Many musicians we treat need their bodies to have a
career and pay their bills. Here are some very useful recommendations
to help prevent injury.
1) Stay away from forcing your wrist into bent-back
positions, like regular pushups. This can cause nerve compression that
can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
2) If you're involved in a car accident, fall, or
a sports injury, get an examination as soon as you can by a competent
licensed chiropractor (preferably one trained in applied kinesiology)
to check for subluxation.
3) Eat great! Healthy and nutritious foods are your
body's foundation. If you try to run your body of junk food and stimulants
like coffee or energy drinks, sooner or later it will give up on you!
Help keep your system healthy by supplementing vitamin C and a highly
absorbable multiple vitamin/mineral complex.
4) Avoid injuring your back. Take important steps
when lifting something heavy, like your amplifier. Let your legs do
the lifting, avoiding bending at the waist and make sure to keep your
back straight. If something is too heavy or awkward to lift on your
own, make sure to get help!
5) Pay close attention to the way your guitar or bass
hangs on your neck and shoulders. Many of our patients have experienced
much improvement by the use of a strap extender, or by using a strap
wide enough to better disperse the weight of the instrument.
6) Your body has an incredible capability of telling
you what's happening; pay close attention to the messages it's telling
you. Proper sleep positioning, good posture while sitting and standing,
keeping a fitness program, and doing core strength training for your
abdominal muscles will all help maintain a healthy spine that will support
all your playing demands.
7) Always warm up before playing or practicing. A
short routine of stretching (after your warm up) for your hands and
wrists can keep them less prone to subluxations and inflammation.
In closing, the doctors at UCMWG feel that musicians are the backbone
of our society. They convey the dreams and creativity of our culture.
There is NO reason you should be in pain, much less a pain that inhibits
you from creating and leaving your stamp on this planet. Find a practitioner
who is competent in treating musicians' problems and take advantage of
all the information that is known.
Universal City Medical Wellness Group
3535 Cahuenga Blvd. West, #208
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Copyright UCMG, Inc - 2002, 2004; & © Copyright UCMWG, Inc -
2006 - All Rights Reserved