Physicians work to keep performing artists on the stage

For performing artists, the support of a good physician can be as important as it is to a professional athlete, according to a story published by the USC Keck School of Medicine.

“Good health and good habits are lifelong essentials for performers,” says William Kanengiser, associate professor of practice in classical guitar and a member of the USC Musician’s Wellness Initiative, which was launched in 2015. Through that program, the university offers artists a dedicated hotline through which they can make appointments with an array of surgeons, physical therapists, and other behavioral specialists who work together to diagnose and treat issues experienced by musicians, actors, dancers and other performing artists.

For individuals who use their bodies to dance, sing or play an instrument, the daily grind of practice can create health issues, especially when combined with the passion and drive artists demonstrate toward their pursuits, according to Seth Gamradt, director of orthopedic athletic medicine at the University of Southern California. “The tough thing about dancers and musicians is that they’re reluctant to take any rest. The exact thing that’s causing the problem is the exact thing that they want to do,” he says. As with athletes, singers and instrumentalists have a tendency to power through their pain, which can lead to further troubles, particularly when they end up compensating for the injury in some way, according to the article.

Vocalists are particularly prone to injury, as so many activities and issues can affect the quality of tone an artist can produce, from overuse through speaking to poor health habits, such as getting too little sleep or becoming dehydrated. The USC Voice Center calls on diverse healthcare teams to care for professional singers, and the program promotes overall wellness with patients whose issues can range from musculoskeletal issues to anxiety related to performance.

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