Musicians are often told “practice makes perfect”, but the strain of playing for many hours a day can lead to constant pain – and even the end of a career.

What exactly is RSI?

Since the introduction of computer keyboards in workplaces, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) and carpal tunnel syndrome have entered our vocabulary, but musicians have been dealing with these debilitating disorders for generations. RSI is a general term for disorders that develop from repetitious activity of the hands; carpal tunnel syndrome is its most common form amongst professional musicians.

The gruelling hours of practice necessary to forge their careers pushes the fine motor skills of their hands and wrists to the limit. As a result, many musicians play in a constant state of pain or disability – ranging from burning, swelling and tingling, to numbness and loss of dexterity. In the most serious cases, they are forced to end their careers prematurely.

What factors contribute to RSI in musicians?

Many controversies exist over whether RSI is caused by playing with the wrong technique or simply overuse. It is no wonder pianists and string players are the worst affected when you consider that a professional violinist will move the bow back...