Musicians with chronic pain due to overuse, inflammation, and repetitive stress injuries suffer both physically and emotionally. After all, it is debilitating to experience such pain while performing your passions.
It’s also frustrating to visit with multiple medical professionals, only to hear that you will need costly surgeries, or worse, they recommend you give up what you love!
Fortunately, there are a number of natural exercises and remedies that can alleviate your pain while helping to prevent further injuries.
Including yoga in your daily practice will increase your mobility and flexibility. This exercise helps alleviate stiffness and pain in the joints, which is incredibly beneficial for those playing an instrument with chronic pain.
Yoga helps to create body awareness and teaches you to have proper posture. Not only will you experience a more focused mind, which can make you a better musician, you’ll gain additional agility for easier body movements.
I recommend Kate Potter’s Yoga for Musicians video. Kate focuses on simple exercises for your hands, wrist, and elbows, as well as breathing exercises to keep you centered and focused. The ujjayi breath, which is demonstrated in the video, can be used prior to performances to ease stress and anxiety.
This video is not only for musicians, but beneficial for anyone that sits at a desk all day or lives a sedentary lifestyle.
Massage therapy is another natural alternative for chronic pain relief. Musicians tend to play with an asymmetrical alignment. For example, when playing guitar, the dominant hand will be fingerpicking while the other is fretting.
This creates an imbalance in the hands, arms, back, and shoulders. Finding a masseuse that understands your unique needs can reduce fatigue and pain and decrease the risk of further injury.
Natural Pain Relievers
There are a number of natural pain-relieving options available over the counter. These natural remedies provide alternatives to managing chronic pain and have fewer side effects than most prescription drugs.
- Cayenne Cream
Cayenne cream contains the active ingredient, capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers. Capsaicin can be added to food or applied topically for its healing effects. When applied topically, it stimulates the pain points and provides more circulation to those areas.
(At first, the pain will increase, but it should decrease after initial use.)
Studies show that capsaicin also stimulates the release of compounds that communicate pain between the nerves in the spinal cord and to other parts of your body. When applied directly to the skin, this ingredient can reduce joint pain and nervous system issues.
Finding immediate and natural relief after a long performance is pure bliss.
The anti-inflammatory, boswellia, is available over the counter, or by prescription from your doctor. Boswellia is an extract of the tree boswellia sacra, which has a long history of use in Native American herbal medicinal practices.
This natural remedy is often used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is believed that the acids in boswellia have the ability to suppress the proliferating tissue found in inflamed areas of the body. Boswellia also aids in the prevention of connective tissue breakdown, which is ideal for preventing further injuries and pain.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are another alternative for stiffness and joint pain management. These supplements can relieve chronic pain due to stiffness and arthritis. You can increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating flax seeds, walnuts, and wild-caught salmon, or by taking krill oil supplements.
Krill oil not only prevents heart disease, it can increase joint mobility and may even help ease the symptoms of depression. Studies have shown that omega-3s increase joint mobility and decrease the progression of osteoarthritis.
Prevent further damage to your precious musical fingers by adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet.
Don’t let chronic pain prevent you from enjoying your musical passions. There are a variety of alternatives to the multiple doctor visits, medications, and even surgeries. These easy and natural remedies will help you get back to your beloved instrument, so you can play your heart out again in no time.
Sources & Further Reading
Guest Post Author Bio – Colleen
Colleen has a passion for guitars and ukuleles. She enjoys jamming, teaching, and getting others involved in music. Her website, Coustii, focuses specifically on guitars and ukes. Colleen loves to travel and uses her ukulele as a conversation starter on the road.