January 13, 2023

MSM’s physical therapy program assists with the overall well-being of MSM students

The physical therapy program at MSM, known as MSM PT and run by Dr. Eduardo Pereira, PT, DPT-RAC, provides treatments for musculoskeletal pain and injuries related to instrumental, voice, and musical theatre students.

Dr. Eduardo Pereira talks to us about this new program sponsored by the MSM Student Affairs department and tells us why it’s important. Students may take part in the program after a referral from the student nurse.

After reading our interview with Dr. Pereira, meet two MSM students and how they were helped by MSM’s PT program: MSM viola student Ariana Mascari, and MSM Jazz Arts student Mikkel Blaesild Vuust (drums).

Photos by Jeffrey Langford

Group physical therapy sessions at MSM

Tell us about the physical therapy program that’s offered at MSM.

Dr. Pereira: The physical therapy program at MSM – MSM PT – was put in place by the Student Affairs Office in the 2019–2020 school year as a pilot project to provide treatment for musculoskeletal [MSK] pain and injuries related to instrumental and musical theatre students.

Data shows that musculoskeletal complaints are one of the main reasons students visit the campus health office; they also produce a significant number of visits to different types of physical therapy services which in turn results in a significant number of claims from MSM to the MSM health insurance plan.

This illustrates the need for treatment services at the school as well as the value of education and injury prevention to help with the overall well-being of our student community.

Where is the program located at MSM, and what does it offer?

Dr. Pereira: We essentially run a small out-patient orthopedic facility open on Wednesday and Friday during the academic year in the MSM gym, located in the basement of Andersen Hall. The student referred to us – by the campus health and other Healthcare providers outside MSM – receives a personally structured complete wellness package of services that could include:

  • clinical interventions and rehabilitation;
  • educational sessions;
  • counseling;
  • injury prevention;
  • tips on physical health and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition, mindfulness, and meditation;
  • education about body mechanics;
  • exercise training and workout routines;
  • health and wellness check-ups;
  • and workshops that are offered on the premises.

Our goal is to help students to continue prioritizing their musical practice while treating their injuries and improving their health and wellness. We share highly engaging content relevant to all fitness and wellness levels.

MSM PT is a high-quality care physical therapy intervention with in-person, one-on-one, remote, and group interventions. We must not forget that the same injury manifests itself differently in each person due to psychosomatic aspects. Our approach, therefore, takes into account the individuality of each person.

“The most rewarding part of the physical therapy sessions is the practical and instantly applicable exercises and information Eduardo provides.”

MSM jazz drumset student

Dr. Pereira works with students such as jazz drummer Mikkel Blaesild Vuust to assess musculoskeletal complaints and determine solutions focusing on well-being for the whole musician.

Can you explain how the program works?

Dr. Pereira: We have individual, one-on-one sessions, as well as group sessions.

As for the Physical Therapy individual, one-on-one interventions, we offer these services as an educational opportunity for performing artists to gain the skills and awareness needed to create healthy patterns early on in their careers for overall well-being, both personally and professionally.

And the Physical Therapy Group sessions: to enhance the efforts on health promotion activities, students are organized by injury type: either by upper extremities, which we call the “neck, shoulder, and arms group,” or lower extremities – the “back, hip and legs group.” Students join these groups after an individual assessment by us, or after completing four consecutive one-on-one interventions.

[ The criteria for the groups sessions are:

  1. All participants should be interested in participating in the groups (voluntary selection);
  2. All participants need a prior one-on-one initial evaluation;
  3. All participants should be in the same level of body capacity according to outcome measurement tools (OMT);
  4. All participants should have mild to moderate presentation of symptoms;
  5. All participants should present complaints in at least one of the body areas for each group category;
  6. All participants should benefit from the interventions, the prescription of therapeutic exercises, and education on injury prevention (measured by re-evaluations performed every 2 weeks);
  7. All interventions provided in a given group should be related to the student’s initial condition or complaint. ]

Why is this physical therapy important for MSM students, and for musicians in particular?

Dr. Pereira: While the life of a musician may seem glamorous, behind the scenes of a performance it involves long hours of repetitive practice, prolonged or sustained postures, performance anxiety, and exposure to environmental hazards such as dim lighting and loud noises.

For students, practice and performances mean hours of sitting, holding challenging body positions, and hours upon hours of rehearsals and practice. Added to this are the difficulties and stress generated by the experience of living far from home, maintaining a social life, and having a schedule filled with school assignments that often translates into a sedentary lifestyle.

With this program, MSM aspires to help our students become healthier performers. We are also particularly interested in incorporating the teaching about how to prevent those types of injuries into the students’ overall learning experience, to help them have a better professional future in the music and arts field.


MSM viola student Ariana Mascari works with Dr. Pereira in one-on-one or in group sessions.

More from Dr. Pereira about the MSM PT program:

Meet two MSM students, and read how they were helped by MSM’s PT program:

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