I’ve got some big news here at Resonance Wellness…
I’m excited to announce that I will be conducting a research study examining the effects of a physical warm-up on injury occurrence in musicians. More specifically, I’ll be looking at the role of a dynamic stretching warm-up in reducing pain and injury in conservatory students. I will be completing this study at the Shenandoah University conservatory in Winchester, Virginia during the 2017-2018 academic year…I can’t wait to get started!
So, what exactly is dynamic stretching, and why would I want to use it in a warm-up? Dynamic stretching refers to stretching through motion; it sits in contrast to static stretching in which we manually stretch our soft tissue and joints. For example, if you are going out for a run, a dynamic stretching warm-up might involve doing a set of walking lunges or high kicks, while a passive stretching warm-up might using a strap or stretcher to passively stretch your calf muscles, or manually bringing your knees to your chest.
In the field of sports medicine, there is a tremendous amount of evidence that supports use of a dynamic stretching warm-up prior to engaging in athletic activity. By consciously activating the muscles that will later be used during athletic performance, dynamic stretching has been shown to improve range of motion/flexibility, body awareness, and muscle strength to enhance performance and reduce the likelihood of injury. In contrast, we know that static stretching actually decreases muscle strength and should be saved for after engaging in athletic activity.
Being both a musician and a runner, I know that musicians are a lot like athletes: playing music requires intense focus and the ability to repetitively execute precise motions with great accuracy. As such, the purpose of my study is to apply the concept of a dynamic stretching warm-up that is well-supported by current literature and accepted by athletes and the sports medicine community to musicians and performing arts medicine. Stay tuned for the results…
Allison Shearer, mot, otr/l, cht
Allison is a flutist, occupational therapist/certified hand therapist, and founder of Resonance Wellness. When she's not treating--or playing--you can usually find Allison out for a run, sitting by the river with her dog, Lacey, or curled up with a cup of tea, a good book, and her cat, Willow.