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Upper-extremity problems in musicians related to age

Joan Warrington, Ian Winspur, Daniel Steinwede
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 17 Number 3: Page 131 (September 2002)

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Abstract: This is a review of 140 musicians referred to a specialist hand therapy department in London, England. Musicians are referred from different sources and represent a fair cross-section. The musicians were analyzed in three different age groups: under 25 years of age, 25-40 years of age, and over 40 years of age; and by three different pathological groups: "trauma," "degenerative," and "non-specific arm and hand pain." The results highlight three points: 1) Musicians of all ages are injured in coincidental accidents ("trauma"). 2) As musicians age, they are more likely to develop "degenerative" upper limb conditions such as Dupuytren's contracture, nerve compression syndromes, or degenerative arthrosis in critical joints. 3) Non-specific arm and hand pain is overwhelmingly prevalent in young musicians and music students but is much less prevalent in the older age groups. This last point is the most worrisome statistic and perhaps the most preventable.

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