Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Joint Laxity and Arm Pain in Musicians

Alice G. Brandfonbrener
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 15 Number 2: Page 72 (June 2000)

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Abstract: Musculoskeletal symptoms have been ascribed in the literature to hyperextensibility syndrome. This diagnosis depends on finding supranormal laxity among joints of both the upper and lower extremities. While literature pertaining to musculoskeletal syndromes among instrumentalists has largely supported an association between hyperlaxity and risk for injury, this has not been unanimous. The author redefines the hyperextensibility syndrome for musicians to apply only to the joints most affected by playing instruments, the fingers, hands, and wrists. Using this definition, 43 (34%) of 128 musicians with upper extremity symptoms were found to be hyperextensible. Most but not all of these patients were diagnosed as having musculoskeletal pain syndromes. The author explains the reasoning behind an association between hyperextensibility and musicians' injuries, and suggests an approach to preventive intervention.

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