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Musculoskeletal Problems among Male and Female Music Students

Carl Zetterberg, Helena Backlund, Jenny Karlsson, Helen Werner, Lars Olsson
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 13 Number 4: Page 160 (December 1998)

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Abstract: Musicians of all levels, amateurs and professionals, have a high incidence of musculoskeletal problems, especially from the neck and upper extremity. Females are affected more often than males. The focus of this study was on musculoskeletal problems among music school students and their relation to music performance, practice time, type of instrument, etc. Anthropometric factors as well as environmental factors at the school and at leisure time were included in the study. The results show that the men practiced more than the women. The women had pain in more body areas and more headaches than the men. The most disabling problems related to music performance were from the shoulders (32%), neck (28%), wrists/hands (11%), and thoracic spine (11%). The statistical analyses showed that problems from the neck, upper extremity, and thoracic spine were related to various aspects of musical activity, e.g., type of instrument and practice hours. Men and first-year students had generally better work environment indexes, while church musicians had the worst psychosocial demand scores. The women experienced more stress than the men. Both physical and work environment demands, including stress, were present to a high degree among these music students.

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