Instrumental musicians, both amateur and professional, often battle an unending cycle of concern between putting in long hours of practice and performance while trying to keep muscle, joint, nerve, and tendon ailments at bay.

Often referred to as overuse issues, these conditions previously haunted musicians with no other treatment options than rest, ice, stretching, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.

Gwen Stefani and Sean Wolfort

While studying classical guitar as a professor of surgery, and having played professionally as a rock guitarist, Dr. Wolfort decided to apply his knowledge and training to these instrumental musicians. He has treated pop, rock, jazz, and classical musicians throughout his career. It’s his unique understanding of the physiology of musical performance that has led to his nationally recognized role in diagnosing and treating nerve issues in both amateur and professional musicians.

“Musicians often experience tingling, deep pain, numbness and/or burning sensations,” said Dr. Wolfort. “Previously, the default diagnosis was tendonitis but as we’ve researched, we’ve found a variety of issues including muscle and tendon injuries along with nerve entrapment.”

Dr. Wolfort has crossed paths with some of rock and roll’s biggest names and has worked to not only diagnose and treat musicians but to work on prevention with all ages and all levels of musicians. Addressing bad habits — both overuse and postural — can mean the difference between pain-free and painful sessions and can lengthen careers by decades. Sometimes simple adjustments of the instrument will make a favorable difference. Surgery, for the musician, is always the last option.

Musicians can schedule individual evaluation. Dr. Wolfort also offers musician clinics for larger groups.