The importance of stretching out before playing your instrument.
Injury and possibly surgery due to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive motion and trauma injuries can be lessoned or even avoided with proper stretching exercises as a part of daily warm up. How many of you actually take the time to stretch out in particular your hand muscles before starting any warm up exercise on your instrument? If you have any singular or multiple systems that you find very helpful, what are they and how would they help others who play various instruments avoid injury?
I do a series of finger stretches, hand rubs, and wrist bends lastly shaking it all out before commencing with warm up exercises.
Also, a cool down is essential and should be a part of your daily routine. I find it most rewarding and relaxing to soak for a short period in cool water afterwards. This helps bring the muscles back to an original state of normal and also helps to alleviate any possibility of swelling from overexerting.
Of course, I am not a physical therapist and do not claim to be an expert on this subject. What I've practiced and have found to work for me comes with years of playing and unfortunately some encounters with injuries due to, and subsequently resulting with expert advice from physicians, physical therapists, specialist, and even instrumental instructors.
Hope to hear your points of view, suggestions, and experiences.