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A Pilot Population Study of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Musicians

Tim Morse, Jennifer Ro, Martin Cherniack, Stephen R. Pelletier
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 15 Number 2: Page 81 (June 2000)

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Abstract: A pilot population-based telephone survey was performed to obtain estimates of the number of people playing musical instruments and of the prevalence of hand, arm, and neck pain of musicians. Of the 954 respondents, 209 (21.9%, 95% confidence interval of 18.9-24.9%) indicated that they played musical instruments. Of those who played instruments, keyboards (44.8%, CI 35.6-54.0%) and guitar (28.1%, CI 20.8-35.8%) were by far the most commonly played instruments. Of those respondents who played instruments, 35.3% indicated that they played 5 hours or more a week, with 9.1% playing 20 hours or more. Overall, 29% (CI 21.4-37.0%) of all musicians indicated significant pain. The highest rates were among those who played 5-9 hours per week (48%), followed by 20 hours or more (42%), 0-4 hours (24%), and 10-19 hours (18%). The study indicates that playing a musical instrument may be second only to computer use in prevalence as a possible risk factor for cumulative trauma disorder, and that more extensive research is needed.

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