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Pain as an incapacitating factor in symphony orchestra musicians in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Yumi Kaneko, Sergio Lianza, William J. Dawson
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 20 Number 4: Page 168 (December 2005)

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Abstract: In musicians as well as athletes, repetitive exertion and intense physical activity may result in incapacitating pain and consequent interruption of their professional activity. In Latin America, however, epidemiologic studies are scarce, which explains why musculoskeletal disorder is as yet unrecognized in our population of musicians. Objective: This study aimed to determine the frequency of, and factors associated with, incapacitating pain in symphony orchestra musicians in São Paulo, Brazil. Methods: A 40-point questionnaire developed as an instrument of data collection was applied to 241 musicians from six major symphony orchestras in São Paulo. Results: Within the sample, the age range was 18 to 73 yrs (mean, 32.4 ± 10.6). The duration of daily rehearsals varied from 2 to 12 hrs (mean, 6.8 ± 2.1). Of the 241 musicians evaluated, 62.7% reported suffering from some sort of sleeping disorder, and 65% reported pain. Of those with pain, 50% graded the effect of the pain on their artistic performance as moderate or severe. The time over which the pain evolved ranged from 1 month to 30 yrs (mean, 4.2 ± 4.8). In the musicians studied, the factors found that correlated with incapacitating pain were being female, having a sleeping disorder, the number of anatomic sites affected, and the degree of emotional stress.

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