Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Managing the musculoskeletal health of musicians on tour

Brownen J. Ackermann
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 17 Number 2: Page 63 (June 2002)

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Abstract: This paper outlines the experiences of a physiotherapist traveling internationally on four separate occasions with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 1995 to 2000. An international orchestral tour is a huge operation taking several years to plan and involving high costs. Musicians may be changing venues and cities (or even countries) sometimes on a daily basis with very little rest. They are still expected to perform at their best, with the increased pressure of playing in prestigious world-class venues. Under these circumstances, having accompanying health staff is economical, allows access to health care at all times, and avoids the problems of language barriers or finding suitably specialized staff to treat problems that may occur. Musculoskeletal injuries that have typically been encountered in physiotherapy consultations have predominantly been in the cervical spine and upper limb. The nature of musculoskeletal injuries over the course of the tour alters from chronic to acute as the tour progresses. To manage and prevent these injuries, the structure of physiotherapy services necessitates careful planning and involves a wide range of skills.

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