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Muscle Tension in Musicians

Muscle Tension in Musicians

by Enda S. -
Number of replies: 2

I have had many many years of back pain, neck, shoulder, headaches, RSI, stomach problems etc etc, basically everything a TMS person can get.

I've had a lot of success in untangling these problem with the help of Dr Sarno's books. Basically though, when one goes away another pops up somewhere else and my TMS and equivalencies sometimes is like Whack-a-mole!

I'm considering taking your online course and I have a question first. I am a musician and since TMS induced RSI really kicked in for me in a big way about 6 years ago, I've noticed that my overall playing ability has reduced and the amount of physical tension and mental noise I contend with is huge. I'm just beginning to realise that my musical struggles may be related to an overall muscle tension in my entire body; a type of trauma freeze response that I feel that I am still caught up in. Is this something that you have come across and that you think the course can help with?


In reply to Enda S.

Re: Muscle Tension in Musicians

by Ann FitzGerald -

I am not sure I have answers as to why your symptoms keep reappearing somewhere else, though I imagine this course would be helpful to you.  The reason I am commenting is that "musician" was in the title of your post.  Pain started for me when I was 27; now I am 45.  I majored in flute in college.  17 yrs ago I read Sarno's books and thought that was probably what was going on, but I did not heal just "knowing."  All these years and many treatments later, I realized this HAS to be a mind body disorder.  So I have begun the process of healing and am overjoyed to know that, in fact, playing the flute does not cause me pain.  After practicing a lot one week, the pain was terrible, so I pretty much quit playing years ago.  Now I know I need to refute the pain and play anyway, which is just what I'm going to do!  The flute is going to the repair shop for a tune-up, and I'm going to get back into doing what I do best.  I understand you are still playing despite your pain, and you suspect your muscle tension is affecting your playing, and that may very well be true.  But the tension is still being generated from the brain, so ultimately, I believe the approach is the same---assume it is MBS, happening because it can get away with it.  By the way I also have IBS symptoms, itchy scalp, etc., all of which have proven themselves to be MBS and still happen on and off.  I expect, though, that these symptoms will get the boot after I conquer my mind's tendency to express itself through the body.  I have just finished reading Steve Ozanich's book "The Great Pain Deception" and have found a great deal of illuminating information to supplement Sarno's and Schubiner's books.  Sometimes I feel it's "too much information" so I am still following Schubiner's plan which is enhanced by the knowledge gleaned from Steve's book.  I don't know if this is helpful or not, but I couldn't help but to connect with another suffering musician.  Good luck, and keep playing no matter what.  As Steve says, "there is no way your instrument can hurt you."

In reply to Enda S.

Re: Muscle Tension in Musicians

by Howard Schubiner -

Yes, we have seen many musicians in this program.  It is so common for musicians to get TMS due to the pressure they put on themselves and that fact that RSI is an easy way for the brain to alert you to a problem in your life.  Muscle tension is generated by the brain in response to stress and that causes pain when we engage in music or other activities.  The fact that the pain moves around is classic for TMS: your body is telling you that there is some kind of danger (stress, pressure you put on yourself, etc.), but it is also telling you that there is no structural problem (hence the movement).

Does that make sense?  This program is designed for people like you!

Best, Howard