Motion Stability's Blog

Your Diaphragm – Not Just For Breathing! by charlestlee

Post by Beth Collier PT, DPT, OCS

Most people know that our diaphragms are responsible for allowing us to breathe in and out. Most people also know that fast repetitions of diaphragm contractions manifest as hiccups.  What most people don’t realize is that the diaphragm is actually a part of your core and plays a vitally important role in posture.

Other components of your core muscles include your deep ab and back muscles as well as muscles that make up your pelvic floor. A dysfunction in one part of the core can lead to increase stress on the other remaining muscles groups, which is why core strengthening is emphasized in back pain and incontinence.

As a musician or athlete, it is important to train your diaphragm to be able to withstand the extra stress of increased breathing demand during activities like running, cycling, singing or playing a wind instrument but still be able to contribute to your core strength and postural control.

Musicians With Too Much Flexibility by BCollier
August 22, 2012, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Movement Dysfunction, Musicians, Upper Extremity

When first learning a musical instrument, it is often the flexibility of a person that gives them an advantage to playing with superior technique.  In the case of hand flexibility, the ability to easily span octaves or assume challenging fingerings make technically demanding pieces seem much more feasible.  However, in cases of extreme mobility, musicians will often revert to firm pressures  to better stabilize their instrument. When firm pressures are applied against a firm surface, often posistions of hyperextension are assumed. Such positions, especially frequently repeated or chronically maintained, put your joints at risk for injury. Contrastingly, many people with extreme joint flexibility will try to brace themselves by co-contracting multiple muscle groups to give a feel of stability. Often, in these cases, the muscles become more subject to injury as they approach a state of fatigue and overuse.  Potential solutions for musicians who suffer from too much joint flexibility include ring splints- as seen in the picture below.  Splints, such as those found at allow the musician functional use of their fingers, while adding an external support to the joints to prevent injury.

Fig 3

Proper fit and splint selection are essential for best outcomes with assistance in music performance.  Be sure to consult a PT or certified hand therapist to assist you with you decisions!

Weakness is the core problem! by BCollier

Do you think you have a strong core?  The latest trending exercise for core enthusiasts is at Motion Stability! Redcord is  gaining popularity in the world of  wellness and with elite athletes as a strengthening appartaus which emphasizes perfect form and maximizes muscle specificity!  The advantages of redcord as an exercise also play a key role in the world of rehabilitation for the correction of movement dysfunctions found in musculoskeletal pain and chronic pain.

Redcord Training

Redcord was featured in a recent edition of Marie Claire magazine! Check out the article here:

Understanding your pain can be INSTRUMENTAL to musical performance by BCollier
February 28, 2012, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Musicians

Pain is a common complaint with many musical instrumentalists, though performers are often at a loss for who to turn to for relief.  Many times they have been told to stop their musical activities in an effort to control their pain.  This often leaves aspiring musicians in search of another dream, or professional musicians panicked to obtain other work opportunities.  Countless stories of career-ending pain or dysfunction have come to light in recent years, but quality healthcare for these individuals remains sparse.

In recent years, physical therapy has made its name in the performing arts world.  Many retired dancers and actors are turning to physical therapy as a second career to help their colleagues treat common career-ending ailments.  Physical therapists with a music specialty are much more difficult to locate.  When treating musicians it is important to identify postures associated with specific instruments, various techniques utilized to perform on an instrument, and the repertoire performed by the musician.  It is also a struggle for vocal performers to be recognized as utilizing their voice and body as an instrument by many healthcare practitioners.  Finding a healthcare provider with knowledge of the various aspects of music performance is a necessity for musicians struggling with pain and dysfunction.