“Safely” might seem an unlikely word to apply to piano playing, but musicians are called “elite athletes of the small muscles” for good reason. The ice packs, splints and anti-inflammatories associated with the sports world are also a daily routine for many classical musicians.
As repetitive-stress injuries worsen, musicians turn to physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, surgery and cortisone injections for relief, but problems often recur. For many, pain becomes the norm, and careers are curtailed. Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Artur Schnabel, Glenn Gould, Gary Graffman and Leon Fleisher are among the prominent sufferers.