Journey with the Orchestra Across South Africa Continues
EventsInjury Care & Prevention Aug 20, 2018
Journey with the Orchestra Across South Africa Continues

Lions, leopards, and rhinos…OH MY!

A trip to the African bush, the shipment of instruments across mountainous terrain, and some intense treatment sessions with positive results made for an exhausting couple of days. Get the full scoop on Jonathan Reynolds‘ many adventures with the Minnesota Orchestra as he continues to share the excitement of his journey on tour.

Durban, South Africa

Jonathan Reynolds
August 13, 2018

Today has been a travel, and therefore a relative rest, day for the musicians. We traveled from King Shaka International Airport in Durban to Oliver Thambo International Airport in Johannesburg, both named for famous African leaders of different eras in South Africa. The musicians then boarded buses to make their way to the Pilanesberg game reserve west of Johannesburg. There they will enjoy game drives in the African bush, hoping to see the Big 5 (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino) amongst other African wildlife. Pilanesberg is an ideal place to do this, considering its proximity to Johannesburg, its absence of mosquitoes (and therefore poses to risk of malaria), and, since it is small and full of wildlife, the chances of seeing animals is quite good.

In the meantime, large semi-trucks carrying huge crates of instruments (and my treatment table) are making their way from Durban City Hall to the University of Pretoria, the next concert venue for the orchestra, over the snowy mountain passes of the Drakensberg mountains. The logistics of a trip of this magnitude are staggering, and I had the pleasure of visiting with the amazing backstage crew and librarians (who are responsible for ensuring that all musicians have their own marked music for each performance) last night in Durban. They too struggle with injury, mostly related to manual material handling, and are in need of care. And despite the stress of their job, they are amazingly good-humored and pleasant to work with.


Johannesburg, South Africa

Jonathan Reynolds
August 14, 2018

I arrived at the Sandton Sun hotel as the musicians were disembarking from tour buses after their safari experience in the Pilanesberg game reserve. The entire hotel lobby was abuzz with excited tales of animals that they encountered on two game drives, one the previous evening and one this morning. They had seen rhinoceros, elephant, zebra, many different species of antelope, and lion up close. Just enough to ensure that they would find a return visit enticing.

I had another busy afternoon, seeing musicians with typical overuse issues associated with chronic overuse and awkward posture. Of the standard ergonomic variables, of which there are 7, sustained awkward posture, repetition, and forceful exertion are the most common encountered by this profession. Awareness of the kinetic chain is critical and can make the difference between effective and ineffective treatment.

In one individual with wrist pain that looked very much like DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis (a very debilitating tendinitis of one of the thumb extensor tendons), it turned out sustained overuse of the biceps (which flexes the elbow) and supinates (turns the palm up) the forearm had resulted in subluxation of the radial head just below the elbow, causing the radius to be forced towards the wrist, hence the presentation with wrist pain at the base of the thumb. Treatment of the annular ligament and biceps tendon at the elbow resulted in resolution of the wrist pain and normalization of range of motion. Essentially, returned function of the arm. This was a critical outcome, since upper string musicians are very dependent on supination of the left forearm to place the fingers on the fingerboard in all situations.

Everyone got an early night, after the exhausting exhilaration of the Pilanesberg game experience and bus travel.