How to prevent repetitive-use injuries

With the physical demands of marching band, some musicians end up suffering from repetitive-use or strain injuries like tendonitis or carpal tunnel. These injuries often occur when the body isn't given enough time to adjust the muscles and tendons to stress. So if you start on an intense rehearsal schedule with no prior conditioning, that increase in physical activity can cause you to develop a repetitive-use injury. Treating these injuries usually means stopping whatever activity caused them in the first place, so they're not ideal if you want to continue participating in marching band. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to prevent them:

For everyone

These injuries come from two aspects of playing: sudden increase in use or overuse in unnatural positions. In the offseason, be sure to keep up with your exercise routine so when you get back to marching band, you'll be ready for the amount of physical activity. Like in any form of of exercise, stretching is key, so stretch your hands, fingers, wrists, forearms and shoulders before playing. If you're suffering from inflammation, use ibuprofen, ice and rest. It's always important to listen to your body, especially when something hurts. If you're in pain, it means you're doing something wrong, so it's time to stop and reevaluate your technique.

Just like any other physical activity, stretching is essential.Just like any other physical activity, stretching is essential to prevent injury.

For specific instruments

Proper playing techniques and positions vary depending on the instrument you play. For woodwind players, it's important that you aren't bending your wrists in an unnatural way. To do this, adjust yourself so that your forearms and hands are in line. It's better to be slightly out of alignment with your fellow musicians than cause yourself any harm. For flute and piccolo players, you need to keep your instrument is parallel to the ground so your wrists stay in an optimal position. If your instrument droops, your body will contort to support it and, over time, this position can be damaging. For players of slightly heavier instruments, like clarinets and saxophones, using straps and harnesses can reduce the brunt of the instrument's weight and allow you to move more freely. Be sure to use these straps properly lining your wrists and adjusting the length so that the straps support the instrument's weight while you're in playing position.

For more marching band news, tips and techniques as well as stunning complete field shows, contact Center X Productions or Marching Show Concepts today. Our shows are sure to give your band the "X" factor!