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Ultrasound of the Left Shoulder Girdle in Professional Violists and Violinists: A Pilot Study

Maureen Wilkinson Karen Grimmer
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 16 Number 2: Page 58 (June 2001)

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Abstract: Musculoskeletal problems in elite orchestral musicians have been reported as common. Despite this, the underlying health problems seem to be underrecognized and underresearched. This pilot study details measurements, using ultrasound, to investigate the reaction of muscles and tendons in the left shoulder girdle of elite violinists and violists to performance, as a way of exploring muscle response to activity. The tendon of the long head of the biceps, the supraspinatus tendon, the trapezius muscle, upper and mid, and the rhomboid muscle of 15 violinists and violists were measured, using ultrasound, at set intervals of time after performing. Significant increases in size were demonstrated from baseline at 12, 18, and 24 hours for the biceps tendon; 12 and 18 hours for the upper trapezius and mid-trapezius, medially; and 12 hours for the mid-trapezius, laterally. The mean percentage increases in size (± 2 3 SE) for each were: 14.23 (±8.3), 16.8 (±9.9), 13.6 (±10.9); 11.6 (±7.9), 11.9 (±9.2); 26.2 (±13.15), 32.3 (±29.9); and 23.6 (±12.23), respectively. The p-values for these measurements ranged from 0.001 to 0.04; significance was set at <0.05. The supraspinatus tendon and lateral rhomboid muscle did not show any significant change. This pilot study indicates that ultrasound is effective in demonstrating changes in muscle over time, but as no normative data have yet been collected, no significant conclusions can be drawn, indicating a need for continuing research into this area using ultrasound. Med Probl Perform Art 16:58-65, 2001.

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