We’re so proud and thrilled to share our very own Jonathan Reynolds is in South Africa providing physical therapy care for members of the Minnesota Orchestra while they’re on tour. It’s the first time a US Orchestra has toured in South Africa, making it both a historic event and a homecoming for one of our favorite and most decorated clinicians.

For the next couple of weeks, Jonathan will be giving us a first hand look at his experiences with the Minnesota Orchestra through various travel journals and photos. Please check back for regular updates and enjoy his first entry below!

 

In the Air, Somewhere

Jonathan Reynolds
August 7, 2018

I’m on my way to Cape Town, South Africa, to provide physical therapy services on behalf of Orthology to musicians in the Minnesota Orchestra. This feels like the completion of a circle for me.

I graduated as a physiotherapist from the University of Cape Town in December 1987 and was puzzled at the decision to hold joint graduation ceremonies of the medical and music schools. I was even more puzzled at the choice of speaker during the commencement ceremony. As we impatiently settled into our seats in Jameson Hall, an elderly professor of music started to give his address, and I wondered what music and medicine could possibly have in common. The medical school was brimming with world renowned pioneers of medicine that I ignorantly felt could do a better job. Before long, I and others were captivated by his humorous explanation of exactly how integrally linked music and medicine are.

And here I am today, 30 years later, privileged to be in a position to provide physical therapy services to many of the most talented musicians in the world.

I moved to Minnesota 17 years ago to complete a graduate degree in rehabilitation science, knowing only that my areas of interest were ergonomics, and the shoulder. After several encounters with various musicians, I came to realize that ergonomics affected musicians in many of the same ways that it affects those who work in factories, construction sites, and at computer work-stations. Consequently, I chose shoulder disorders in the right (bow arm) shoulders of violinists as my dissertation topic.

Some members of the Minnesota Orchestra, most of whom were in the second violin section, participated in my research. Musicians in the second violin section of any orchestra are ergonomically more predisposed to right shoulder injuries than their first violin section counterparts by virtue of the fact that they bow predominantly on the G- and D- strings, versus the E- and A-strings. This seemingly insignificant demand puts the right shoulder in more elevation and internal rotation, a combination that resembles the Hawkins-Kennedy test position for shoulder impingement, a condition that many violinists suffer from.

So, as I approach Cape Town, I’m filled with excitement and anticipation to work with musicians in the first American orchestra to ever tour any part of Africa, and I’m privileged to provide these services right where I started my career at a time when I was confused as to what music and medicine could possibly have in common.