Playing Musical Instruments When you Have EDS

Playing Musical Instruments When you Have EDS

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is the name given to a group of rare disorders that affect connective tissue that provide structure to joints, skin, blood vessels, and other organs. People with EDS have fragile skin and loose joints, raising the risk that common activities, like playing musical instruments, can cause damage.

What musical instruments can be risky?

Any musical instrument that is hard on the joints, like the violin, can injure patients with EDS. Most types of EDS cause hypermobility of the joints, meaning that joints bend further than they should and are prone to dislocations. Instruments like the violin can place excessive strain on joints, particularly of the fingers and arms.

Wind instruments like the flute, trombone, and saxophone are also generally not ideal for EDS patients. Playing a wind instrument requires inflating the lungs, throat, and mouth, and maintaining the pressure to produce a consistent sound from the instrument. For people with EDS, this inflation can cause stretching and tearing of tissues. People with some types of EDS are also prone to lung problems (like spontaneous lung collapse), which could be exacerbated by playing wind instruments.

What musical instruments are safe?

The type of musical instrument that is safe depends on the type of EDS you have, and the severity of your symptoms. Your physician may not be familiar enough with musical instruments to say which ones would be OK and which ones would not, but asking is still worthwhile. Likewise, ask your physiotherapist, as these specialists are trained to help patients go about everyday activities.

In general, avoid instruments that require strain on the joints or tendons.

How can I find out more?

Talk to your doctor, physiotherapist, as well as to professional instructors who play the instrument you want to play. Find out from the music instructor where the areas of strain will be when you are playing, and discuss with your physician and physiotherapist whether they think that instrument will be a problem for you.

 

Last updated: Oct. 24, 2019

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Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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One comment

  1. ZebraMom says:

    My elementary-aged child is learning piano. It is great for strengthening her fingers and reminding her to sit up straight. And loves it! We aren’t super strict on practicing as she sees this as a way to let her creativity and emotions flow. She also feels very accomplished. I like that she can still do it when her knee/ankle/foot is out of joint. That said, she practices about 2-3 times per week at this age for about 15-20 minutes at a time. So far, piano has been very good for her.

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