Performing artists must protect their bodies while advancing their art
December 31, 2018 1:15 PM
by Kiyomi Goto, DO
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Whether amateur or professional, performing artists have unique health needs based on their particular art form. Musicians, singers, dancers, actors, and other performers should take precautions to maintain good health so they can do their best on stage.

Injury prevention

It’s easy to see how an athletic dancer might fall and suffer a sprained ankle or broken wrist. However, every performing artist is at risk for injury, from a singer who strains vocal chords to a violinist who risks carpal tunnel syndrome.

Performers face two basic types of injuries. Acute injuries result from a traumatic event, while overuse injuries are caused by repetitive actions that create small amounts of trauma over time. However, they can take steps to protect against both types of injuries:

Hearing protection

Musicians have the greatest risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Even audience members can suffer temporary hearing loss after attending one high-decibel rock concert, so it’s no surprise that rock musicians face permanent damage over time. Among others at high risk are marching band drummers and orchestral brass players.

Any performing artist who is subjected to noise that is either loud or lengthy should consider measures to protect against hearing loss, including:

General health

Performing artists should follow the same guidelines for good health that are recommended for most adults, with a few special cautions for particular types of performers:

Every performing artist should establish a good relationship with an appropriate medical professional long before injuries occur. A physician who is aware of the passion for performing can work with the artist to develop personalized strategies for avoiding injury. This type of proactive health care is the best path to a long and healthy life as a performer.

 

Kiyomi Goto, DO, is a family medicine physician with Penn State Health Medical Group Colonnade at 32 Colonnade Way in State College. Call (814) 272-4445 for more.

 

 

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