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Occupational Performance Issues and Predictors of Dysfunction in College Instrumentalists

Rebecca Barton, Clyde Killian, Morgan Bushee, Julia Callen, Teresa Cupp, Brandy Ochs, Michelle Sharp, Katie Tetrault
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 23 Number 2: Page 72 (June 2008)

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Abstract: Music-related injuries among musicians, including younger musicians, have been well documented; however, minimal research has been completed with college-aged instrumentalists. The purpose of this research study was to describe the presence of physical symptoms in college-age musicians and the impact of these symptoms on music-playing and other daily occupations. Data collection was completed on college instrumental music majors using two survey questionnaires, which documented the presence of physical symptoms in the upper limb and the impact of these symptoms on function. The results indicate that a significant number of students reported pain or discomfort that occurred during music-playing, at rest, and during other daily occupations. Results were consistent with the literature in regards to the prevalence of symptoms in female instrumentalists as compared to males and the occurrence of more symptoms in those individuals playing string instruments and piano as compared to other instrument groups. Also, as self-reported pain increased, a greater level of dysfunction in occupational performance was found. Results also indicated that when participants were already implementing intervention strategies, this was perhaps a predictor of the presence of pain and dysfunction. Health professionals should be encouraged to provide preventive education for student musicians and to use outcome measures, such as the Disabilities of the Hand, Arm, and Shoulder (DASH) outcome measure, to identify the potential for functional impairments.

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