It is no secret that over the years I have been able to treat a number of musicians in my practice. One thing that always fascinates me about these people is the impact that using your voice, as well as using a microphone has. Especially on your body.
Whenever a singer comes to me in order to request some treatment, it is usually the case that they will feel their discomfort or pain in a particular area of their body. More often than not in their neck or their shoulders, as well as their mid and lower back.
Much of this pain and discomfort is related to their lungs and their breathing. One particular area is the apex of the lung. This spot is at the top of the lung, just beneath your collarbone, it is then attached to your neck by the suspensory ligament. If these muscles are used on a regular basis, such as those who sing for a living (or even those are suffering with a cough), then this will place pressure on that particular area, leaving you feeling that you have a tightness in your neck.
Think of it like this, when a singer performs on a regular basis, they are essentially performing the vocal equivalent of 50 bicep curls each and every day. Which, as you can imagine, places a huge amount of pressure on their neck and back.
When the lungs expand, the interosseous muscles that are found between the ribs will also have to move in order to expand the rib cage. At the same time the diaphragm is going to need to do some work too. The diaphragm is attached to your rib cage like a dome at the bottom, as well as being attached to your lower back. The more and more this area is worked, then the more tense it is going to become. In singers that perform on a regular basis, this area can become truly firm.
This tense feeling can have an impact on your posture, leaving you feeling that you need to slump over in order to be comfortable and free from pain. This posture can have an impact on your diaphragm and your lungs, meaning that neither of these parts of you are functioning properly. This will have an impact on you singing and your performance, leaving you feeling disappointed, as well as feeling in pain too.
We shouldn’t forget about microphones. Microphones are around 3kg in weight. If you have them on a stand, then this is okay, however, if you are having to hold these up in one arm, as high as your face, for many hours at a time, then you are going to find that the muscles in your arms are going to be affected too. Spreading to your shoulders and your back, causing you lots of issues in the long-term.
Ultimately, it is vital that a singer looks after their voice, however, they should also make sure that they take care of their body too. They need to work on their posture, they need to make sure that all their muscles are in the right position and not only will this help their performance but will also protect them in the long-term to help prevent future problems from occurring.