Musicians' Health

More about musicians' injuries, health and our clinic

“Over 80% of professional orchestral musicians in Australia have experienced pain or injuries that have interfered with playing their instrument or participating in normal orchestral rehearsals and performances.” (Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T., Kenny, D. (2012) Musculoskeletal Pain and Injury in Professional Orchestral Musicians in Australia.)

So why, then, hasn’t “performing arts medicine” evolved like sports medicine? We’re getting there slowly, but there’s a long way to go for us to see performing arts medicine clinics be as plentiful as sports medicine clinics.

More stats:

“About three-quarters (76%) of the surveyed participants stated that they had experienced pain during or after playing their instrument. Female musicians were significantly more frequently affected (79%) than male musicians (71%). With increasing age, the prevalence of PRP (playing related pain) rises from 71 percent (9–13 years) to 85 percent (18–24 years). ….Furthermore, data show a clear relationship between the duration of practice and the prevalence of PRP.” (Heiner Gembris, Jonas Menze, Andreas Heye and Claudia Bullerjahn. (2020) High-Performing Young Musicians’ Playing-Related Pain. Results of a Large-Scale Study, Germany.)

“We analysed Australian WCCs (Work Cover Claims) for professional musicians 2004/2005 – 2015/2016. MSK (musculoskeletal) conditions accounted for 69.78% of claims; 50.46% of which were for upper limb conditions. MSK conditions also accounted for 77.76% of costs for musicians’ WCC. The most common reported mechanism for MSK claims was body stressing (72.48%), and the most common agency was “other non-powered equipment” (including musical instruments; 39.71%), which also accounted for 51.27% of upper limb claims specifically. For the first time, we showed that MSK conditions account for the majority of musicians’ WCC, and the majority of the cost of claims, making them the biggest health issue for professional musicians.” (Jessica Stanhope, Philip Weinstein and Dino Pisaniello. (2019) What can musicians’ claims data reveal about their musculoskeletal conditions?) 

Playing an instrument requires the body to be performing repetitive, finely controlled movements for long periods of time, whilst focussing on the quality of sound at the same time. We believe musician’s are a type of athlete, and should have a good team, and plan to make the most out of their musical career.

If you’re a musician coming in to the clinic, and your pain/injury is associated with playing, consider bringing your instrument with you so that we can assess you while you’re holding/playing it. We also love hearing live instruments in the clinic!

For more musician’s health resources, head over to these sites –

All of our osteopaths are registered with AHPRA.