Is performance stress really a pain in the neck? The relationship between psychological stressors and pain in musicians.
Performing music at an elite level requires highly complex physical skills, frequently applied under stressful conditions, making these performers particularly vulnerable to injury, pain, music performance anxiety and depression. While the head, neck and shoulders are exposed to high physical demands, research also shows there is a clear impact of psychological stress, fatigue and pain on the muscle activity in these regions. In previous research, a positive correlation has been observed between pain intensity in the neck/shoulder region and severity of both depression and music performance anxiety in professional orchestral musicians.
Furthermore, stress is associated with fundamental re-organisation of muscle activity consistent with sympathetic nervous system responses. Music students typically receive little education on practical methods to reduce anxiety and stress, and this should be introduced into training institutions. Musicians should be exposed to the range of techniques shown to better manage psychological stress, as well as understanding potential interventions to manage significant music performance anxiety. This presentation will highlight some of the literature in relation to psychological factors and pain (including a brief review of physiological mechanisms), present the typical psychological issues of musicians, identify risk factors, as well as discuss the range of prevention and management techniques that can be considered to manage these conditions.
ASSOC. PROFESSOR BRONWEN ACKERMANN | PhD MPH BAppSc(PT)
Senior Musculoskeletal Anatomist
Specialist Musicians‘ Physiotherapist
Editor-In-Chief, Medical Problems of Performing Artists
High Performance Consultant, Australian National Academy of Music
Churchill Fellow, Humboldt Fellow
School of Medical Sciences | Faculty of Medicine and Health
THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
132 RC Mills, A26 | NSW | 2006
T: +61 2 8627 8870
E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: http://sydney.edu.au
A Specifically-Designed Exercise DVD for Musicians (created by Chan & Ackermann) can be purchased here: