Piano is not a difficult instrument to learn provided you dedicate time and focus on learning fundamentals of piano. Whether you are learning to play this instrument or are already expert pianist; playing this instrument should never give you a feeling of discomfort neither it should be painful. If you find that your body is being disturbed or you begin to feel some pain, it is a sign that you should stop and learn about what is going wrong? Pianists usually encounter some common pains and injuries and if these are not encountered and resolved at their initial stage, it could lead to a never ending dreadful pain or injury. Some injuries can be so dreadful that it could even end up your career of being a pianist. However some injuries are curable and you can even take measures for prevention. In this literature, we will be talking about all such common injuries, their prevention and resolution. Each and every piano player must have this knowledge in order to be aware of preventions and cures.
Common Piano Injuries with Prevention and Resolution
Injuries over back and neck area:
One of the common mistakes that pianists make is bad posture and sitting positions. This is one of the most common causes of injuries and problems in certain areas of your body. Many of you may spend hours on your piano sitting in awkward positions and with bad posture. This causes stress on your back and neck muscles. Sitting in a static position for longer durations would affect blood circulation in some muscles of your body and can result in extreme stress. It could also result in causing back and disc issues.
If you feel any pains or discomfort in your back, hips or neck area or you find that stiffness in certain areas of your body, continuing practice in the same position may cause back and neck injuries. Follow these preventive measures in order to avoid any dreadful damage:
- Avoid extended practice sessions. Every after 30 to 45 minutes; you should take a small break from practice session. Get up from this instrument and move around. Even during practice while sitting, you should occasionally move your arms, legs and back for some minutes.
- Always make sure that maintain a good posture and place your body close to your instrument so that you don’t have to bend much in order to reach its keys. Have your body comfortably seated. Shoulders should be slightly down.
- Your body position should be neutral during piano practice or performance session. Avoid leaning, rotating or twisting during performance that may cause any injury or discomfort.
- You should build up strength of your muscles with some activities such as running, swimming and other exercises.
Injury on Shoulders:
Piano playing is mostly about your upper body parts and thus while practicing for longer durations you may find your shoulders to get stiffed and stressed. With well-organized short practice session, this problem may not arise but playing over longer duration may cause a risk to injury on your shoulders.
In order to avoid shoulder problems and injuries:
- Hunching or raising shoulders a lot while piano practicing can cause a serious problem. While playing piano, you must be aware of your shoulder’s position.
- Extended duration practices can get your muscles stiffed. You must take small breaks for stretching your muscles out.
- Keep your upper back and shoulders secured with simple exercises like rowing, arms rising, shrugs for shoulders. These exercise help in maintaining your posture and body muscles.
Injury of Arms, Wrists and Hands:
Another common problem area is your arms, wrists and hands. Over practicing may result in injury with nerves of these areas. Some common problems include bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and many other problems with tissues and nerves. One of the main causes of this problem is high repetition of particular movements in these areas.
As you begin to feel some pain, fatigue, numbness or stiffness with these areas, it could be a sign of such injury. You may also be finding difficulty doing simple daily tasks such as opening bottles, knobs and other twisting tasks. In order to avoid these problems, make sure that:
- Warm up your body before starting practices.
- A comfortable position must be maintained throughout learning and practicing session.
- Limit repetition, unnecessary writing and other activities that give stress on your arms, hands and wrists.
Many of you may already be facing some of these problems. Here we have shared some resolutions that you should opt for in order to avoid reaching worst conditions of your problems.
- If you are encountering any of these problems or injuries, first thing you need to do is to stop playing right away. Continuing to play with these problems can make them dreadful.
- Allow your body to rest for some time. You should take off from your practice session for a few days. Resuming back to practice should be slow and steady after break.
- For swellings and pains, you should do icing to the affected area with the use of a thin cloth. Icing must be done for around 15 minutes and several times during a day. This would enhance healing. Immediately after icing, your muscles become less flexible and thus you should not play, exercise or stretch after icing. Ice packs may not be recommendable for circulatory issues and for that you should consult your doctor first.
- For any injury or repetitive stress/pain, it is important to seek help from a professional physician. Your doctor will be able to assess your problem better and would give you a proper solution for it. Make sure you visit a physician who has experience of working with musicians or who is qualified and capable of dealing with issues similar to what we have mentioned. If you have facility in your town better visit a performing arts clinic.
It is always better to try to avoid and prevent for injuries rather to look for their solutions afterwards. Healing would take time and once you get healed completely, return to piano practice gradually. Just make sure that piano practice is not a matter of life and death and you should not strain or overstress your body for completing your regular practice session. Whether you are a beginner or an expert or a teacher, make sure you play healthy.