Killer Jobs: 10 Painful Professions

"If an airline pilot is sitting immobilized for a long time [it] is a difficult situation," Kearney said. "But it is just like travelers who fly trans-Atlantic. It's about how to conduct the right measures to keep from experiencing the pain."

Talatian said lack of sleep also contributes to his headaches. He said he tries to plan ahead on sleeping, but pilots frequently do not have consistent flight schedules.

"If I have a flight at 3 a.m., I plan to sleep at 9," Talatian said. "But sometimes I'll look at the clock and realize it's 10:30 p.m. and I'm still not tired."

"Pilots do have some demands like traveling long distances and constant commuting," Kearney said. "For example, if they live in Maine and have to catch their flight in New York."

However, Kearney said it is not the profession that is painful, but how pilots perform the duties they are given.

"All pilots have the responsibility to ground themselves if they feel they are in danger to themselves or their passengers or have chronic pain," Kearney said.

Chronic Pain a Familiar Tune for Musicians

Lori Inglis' tap on the cymbals signals the start of the show.

Inglis, 43, is a drummer with The Dixie Diehards, a New England-based Dixieland Jazz Band. She has played with many bands in the last 26 years.

Early in her career, Inglis played five nights a week. On some nights, when she held her drumsticks, she could feel her palms cramp and the tips of her fingers tingle. At 17, she was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrists. Inglis' doctor suggested that she wear a cast and receive cortisone shots to ease the pain and swelling.

"I avoided going to the doctor's after that because I was afraid they would tell me that I couldn't play," Inglis said. "I thought, 'Man, wearing a cast isn't going to work.'"

"Anytime people believe they are going to be taken away from what they love to do they will avoid [seeing a doctor]," Paris said. "It's important to see providers or specialists who are willing to consider the patients' desires and give options."

Although drummers sit through most of their shows, their lower bodies may endure as much pain as their wrists.

"Your wrists are tapping the drums for three or four hours," Inglis said. "But at the same time, you're tapping your foot on the pedals for just as long."

Paris said most musicians develop chronic pain because of the constant repeated movements in the same joints, depending on the instrument they play.

"Some musicians like drummers and singers should really be considered as athletes, as performing can be very strenuous," Paris said.

Seven years ago, Inglis was performing on stage when her knee blew out while tapping the foot pedal to the high-hat cymbal.

"It hurt so bad, but I couldn't show it," Inglis said. "I just had to keep going."

Inglis said every member of the band experiences pain in different areas.

"Our trumpet player has to manage his shoulder pain," Inglis said. "And our guitarist wears a strap to keep his lower back from hurting."

Inglis manages her pain by warming up and stretching her wrists and legs every day -- even on days when she does not have a show. She also keeps her mind on the music.

"When I play, I think about the music and the pain just goes away," Inglis said.

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