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Austin's Injury Cycle

Updated: Sep 1


The year was 2016. There I was, doing everything I could to set myself up for success as a musician. I just started a new degree, switched from tenor to bass trombone, and was ready to make the most out of my last 2 years at Indiana University. Not going to lie, life was great! I was practicing 3-4 hours a day, participating in three different ensembles, two different audition prep classes, and I was gearing up for a major dream audition as well as a recital.


But shortly into my preparation and education, something started changing.



I started experiencing muscle tightness, a little burning, some tingling, a few occurrences of sharp pain, and some dull pain. It wasn’t out of the ordinary, but something didn’t feel right. Fast forward a few weeks and I am sitting in jazz band, tooting on some low notes as we sight read pieces for an upcoming season of performances, and as I bring my horn up after a short few measures of rest…


BAM!!


Searing pain radiated throughout my left arm.


The pain was immense and luckily for me, the drum set to my right masked my painful scream. I composed myself the best I could and walked out of rehearsal.


Little did I know, this would start a 3-year


injury cycle that would debilitate my progress, mental health, and lead me down a dark path.


As I went through my first rehabilitation, I was able to keep playing using an Ergobone. During my recovery, I tried what seemed like everything - regular doctor visits ( most of them told me to find a different career path or choose a different instrument), Physical Therapy, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, and regular chiropractor and massage therapy visits. This cycle continued for about 2.5 years before I was ready to give up. No matter what help I received, I kept falling back into my same habits and cycles.


I was done. Done making progress, done falling backwards, and done hitting wall after wall. Even though I had all of this help, I still felt isolated, misunderstood, and stuck. At this point, I was ready to quit.

Determined not to drop out of school without a plan, I decided to get certified in personal training and corrective exercise as a side hustle until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.


During my studies certification process, I started to apply the concepts to myself in order to adequately learn the material and crazy enough, I started to make some huge shifts! My posture improved, I had more energy, the pain started to subside, and within the span of 6 months, I w


as able to start practicing without pain! Long story short, fast forward through three recitals and regular regional orchestra cycles, I have been injury free for over 3 years!!


As a result, I have dedicated my life to guiding and helping other musicians overcome their tension, pain, or injuries. As a coach, I believe the body has a miraculous way of healing itself if certain needs are met. I also believe that musicians need to have a safe space to grow and talk about their experiences.


Disclaimer: I do not treat or diagnose any medical condition as I am not a medical professional, but through my coaching and evidence-based methods, I’ve helped musicians overcome tendinitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome, lower crossed syndrome, and chronic pain.