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Provision of On-site Physiotherapy Services during the Performance of Wagner's Ring Cycle by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra: A Model of Early Intervention for Playing-related Musculoskeletal Disorders

Steven Milanese
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 15 Number 3: Page 107 (September 2000)

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Abstract: This paper explores the concept of an early intervention management system for the treatment of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) among orchestral musicians through the provision of on-site medical and rehabilitative services. This model of health care delivery, promoted in the occupational and sports rehabilitation literature, has been reported to significantly reduce costs and rehabilitation times. An on-site physiotherapy clinic was made available during the 1998 performance of Wagner's Ring Cycle by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Questionnaire assessment of orchestra members highlighted a high incidence of PRMDs among the 50 respondents (86% reported neck symptoms, 70% upper back symptoms, 76% shoulder symptoms). The questionnaire highlighted a number of ergonomic issues that the respondents felt aggravated symptom development. One hundred fifteen treatments were administered during the clinic, of which 72% were to the small string section members, reflecting the high demands on this section of the orchestra during Wagner's Ring Cycle. The cost to the orchestral management over the six-week period was approximately $12.00 per treatment, representing a significant savings. Indirect cost savings include reduced time and travel costs, and potentially reduced lost time because of injuries. This model of health care delivery was shown in this case to be cost-effective for the management of PRMDs during a major orchestral production

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