Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
April 12, 2014IM -
“As a clarinet player, my jaw aches, clicks, and sometimes locks up from playing regularly. I have been getting chiropractic care for the past two years and have noticed a decrease in achiness, clicking. Also, my posture is better while playing, and that helps keep my body relaxed as I play,” says Jessica Weimer, band director/classroom music teacher.
Musicians are instrumental athletes. Just like professional sport athletes, musicians practice for numerous hours per day to perfect their skills. There are specific mechanics and symptoms that go along with playing a musical instrument that usually get overlooked or pushed aside—posture, numbness in the fingers, pins and needles in the arms, or pain in the neck and upper back to name a few. Every time a musician practices playing their instrument, they overwork and underwork muscles. Simply put, the muscles that are used to play the instrument get stronger, tighter, shorter, and form scar tissue; the opposing muscles get weak and underdeveloped. This forms a major imbalance in the body and puts stress on the joints, including the spine, elbows, wrists, and fingers.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a range of painful or uncomfortable conditions of the muscles, tendons, nerves, and other soft tissues, caused by repetitive use of a certain part of the body, often somewhere in the upper extremities (arms). RSI is an injury of the musculoskeletal and nervous system that is the result of repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, pressing against hard surfaces, or sustained or awkward positions. Chiropractic care not only works on spinal and joint alignment, but also works on the balance of body function within the nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems.
Chiropractic care is health care that focuses solely on the nervous system and optimizing the function of the human body. It focuses on the function the nervous system because it is the body’s master system, controlling all of the organs, vessels, glands, and muscles. The spine protects the nervous system; that is why chiropractors check alignment of the neck and back. When a vertebra misaligns (rotates out of position with the other vertebrae), it makes the hole where the nerve comes out smaller. This puts direct pressure on the nerve (pinched nerve) and causes dysfunction to the organ, vessel, gland, or muscle that the nerve is going to. This is called a subluxation. Simply, a subluxation is when the communication that the brain has with the body and the body has with the brain has an interruption.
What causes this misalignment? What causes pressure on a nerve? Stress! Whether it is physical, chemical, or emotional, stress can cause dysfunction within the nervous system. Musicians have major physical stress. Repetitively playing an instrument in the same position and utilizing the same muscles over and over again puts major physical demands on the body. RSI, either combined with poor posture ergonomics or independent of each other, is direct physical stress that can cause subluxations in the spine or joints of the upper extremities (shoulders, elbow, wrists, and fingers).
Chiropractors are the only health care providers trained in detecting, analyzing, and correcting subluxations. Various techniques are used. However, the goal is the same: remove nervous system interference and allow the body to function and heal to its full potential. The goal of correcting subluxations of the joints of the upper extremities are the same: restore original and proper alignment of the joint to allow it to have normal and proper function.
Musicians who are serious about their craft, should consider getting checked by a chiropractor that adjusts both the spine and extremities. They may see enhanced performance, quicker reaction time, decreased pain in fingers, neck, and upper back, decreased tingling and numbness in arms and fingers, increased energy, less muscle fatigue while playing, and more relaxed muscles. Chiropractic is simple; yet it is profound in its ability to help the body regain and maintain its health. If you play an instrument and want to avoid repetitive strain injury and poor posture related pains for good, find a musician-friendly chiropractor now!
Dr. Nikki Capasso is the director of King of Prussia Chiropractic and Rehabilitation in a suburb of Philadelphia. She has worked with numerous musicians in her practice. Her main focus is getting people well and helping their health and well-being to excel. If you are in the Philly area and would like to schedule a check-up with her, or if you need help finding a chiropractor, please contact her 610-265-2301, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.KopChiro.com.