Flute Player’s Pulled Neck Muscle Treatment

Clara, a flute player, came in for therapy on Tuesday morning reporting that she was in too much pain to play her instrument and could not function normally during the day. She was exceptionally busy the previous week playing upwards of 8 hours a day and performing three concerts in one week. On the Monday morning after this week, the day before her first treatment, she was drying her hair and pulled a muscle in her neck. She felt a sharp pain that resulted in an immediate loss of motion. She was un-able to play her flute that day due to intense pain. Clara had had no previous episodes of neck injury but commented that she plays flute, so she has some “inherent neck tension.”

She immediately went to seek medical help. She made an appointment with an internist for that Monday afternoon. The physician told her to make an appointment with an orthopedist. This usually takes about 2 weeks. In the meantime, she was instructed to apply ice and take Advil. Clara made the appointment but was not satisfied with waiting. She was also told by the physical therapist at Juilliard that no appointments were available until the following week. It is essential for a working musician to be able to receive immediate treatment and begin practicing again.

Clara decided to trust her friend, a fellow musician, who recommended that she go see Dr. Tatz. Rather than going in blind, she also did her own research and found it comforting that Dr. Tatz has a lot of experience working with musicians and dancers. She was able to make an appointment for the next day, Tuesday morning.

Clara reported that she felt immediate improvement and pain relief after the first treatment and was able to begin practicing again that same Tuesday. She took it easy and was very cautious with all of her movements throughout the day.

Clara followed Dr. Tatz’s recommendation to come for treatment each day that week. She followed up on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. By Friday she felt she was almost back to normal and had been practicing regularly to prepare for another busy week with multiple concerts.

Even though she was feeling much better, Clara decided not to cancel the appointment that she had already made with an orthopedist for later in the week and went in for a second opinion. Clara explained that she had been seeing Dr. Tatz and that she was 90% better after just five treatments. Without considering this, the doctor recommended that she get X-rays of her neck done and then prescribed her strong anti-inflammatory drugs. Even after Clara expressed her level of improvement, the orthopedist then tried to refer her to a physical therapist that he was affiliated with. There can be only financial motivations behind such blind recommendations.

Clara was very pleased with the immediate relief that Dr. Tatz’s provided and felt that his knowledge of what musicians go through enhanced the treatment. She felt comforted that she didn’t have to explain why she was so worried and why she needed to get better as fast as possible. “There was an immediate element of trust,” she said.

Clara listened to her body but many other patients get sent in circles by referrals among business affiliates without receiving speedy and effective treatment. When a pulled muscle results in the recommendation for an X-ray and prescription drugs after the pain has subsided, we have to question who’s best interest that decision is in.

In response to her treatment with Dr. Tatz, Clara felt she gained a new awareness of her body and has tools to better manage her tension in the future. When asked what her favorite part of coming to her treatment was she remarked, “It’s amazing how he can pinpoint exactly what’s going on, it’s like he has x-ray vision. I always feel a little better.” She would like to continue to come monthly for tune-ups in the future and is trying to work this out with her insurance.