For Musicians - RSI Warning Signals you should Never Ignore - Chronic Pain Relief

For Musicians – RSI Warning Signals you should Never Ignore


As a musician, you are also and athlete and a performer. Too many musicians try to ‘push through’ pain when they play – not knowing that pain is the first warning sign of a problem that could get much worse.

I ran a clinic for musicians for 8 years, and this is one lesson I dearly want all musicians to take to heart. When you get pain from playing music, please treat it seriously and take measures to fix the underlying cause of it.

You cannot afford to ignore it, hoping that it will go away. Watch the video below to learn more.

Notes from Video:

Main Causes of RSI in Musicians

  • Abrupt increase in length & intensity of practice
  • Attitude –ignore symptoms & need to “practice harder…”
  • Poor practice habits – no warm up / no breaks / pound away at difficult sections / practice for too long
  • Errors in technique – not playing in position of function / using too much force
  • Errors in posture & body use & breathing
  • Poor physical conditioning
  • Change in instrument or poor instrument


> Next: Musicians and RSI Part II

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(6) comments

[…] > Previous: Musicians & RSI – Part I […]


Hi Dr Jonathon,
Interesting re the musician videos.
I’ve been a pianist all my life, later taught piano but now only play for myself when I can.
The most heart-breaking thing for me was when I could no longer play pipe-organ for services (I was trained) —– it all started when I jammed my R. index finger in the church door dislocating the R distal joint, then did it again! The joint is now very swollen and stuck in bent position enabling me to still play the piano. (first did it about 7 years ago).
From then on my R hand has generally deteriorated & my TrP therapist now says is something very wrong with my wrist (not carpal tunnel) and now have a large boney growth on R. thumb. My GP is away so can’t do anything about it till he gets back. I’m gradually accepting I’ll never play pipe-organ again, besides the quick peddle-board work does affect my lumbar spine which is also wrecked due to years of heavy work (you may remember I have FM and severe CMP)
I have just returned from USA where i stayed with Devin Starlynal for a week, she has almost completed her last book on TrPs etc and I have had my bit of a say too.

I follow her stuff and yours only, you give us excellent stuff which I use to teach others around the globe, your diagrams are super, great stuff! Thank you for sharing.
Take care, stay away from earth quakes!
Danni Jesse’ (Australia)


[…] For a musician – your fingers and hands are an essential part of your art. RSI, if ignored, can and will get worse. So – here are some early warning signs to look for for: Tips for Preventing RSI. […]

linda September 26, 2011

I’m very intersted in your full course program. Do you have these in downloads only? or do you have these avialable in dvd’s?

Jonathan September 28, 2011

Hi Linda,

the course is offered as with online videos you can access immediately, and dvd´s that get sent out. After you buy the course, just email me at and you´ll get the dvd´s sent to you – free shipping anywhere in the world.

– Jonathan

John, from TX August 9, 2012


As a trumpet player, I experienced this early – at age 22 – and it killed my career as a performer. You can damage muscles “painlessly” – or rather, you can damage nerves slowly and painlessly, even if you’re doing everything “right.”

All the items you list are critical, esp. RESTING often and working smarter and more easily, not harder and more brutally.



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