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Prevalence and Causal Factors of Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremity and Trunk among Japanese Pianists and Piano Students

Shinichi Furuya, Hidehiro Nakahara, Tomoko Aoki, Hiroshi Kinoshita
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 21 Number 3: Page 112 (September 2006)

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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) among Japanese female classical pianists of different age groups. The causal factors for PRMDs also were examined. A group of 203 senior pianists, including piano teachers and students with piano majors at high schools and colleges, were surveyed using questionnaires. Results showed that 77% of these pianists suffered from PRMDs in at least one of their body portions. This value was larger than those reported in Western countries. Forty-four percent of these were serious enough to warrant medical treatment, which was a lower rate than reported in Western countries. The difference in these numbers may reflect the current state of understanding of PRMDs among Japanese pianists and their educators. The prevalence of PRMDs was found to be age-dependent. In the student groups, the finger/hand had the highest rate of PRMDs, followed by the forearm and shoulder. The senior group, on the other hand, had the highest PRMD incidence at the neck/trunk, followed by the forearm and hand/finger. Care may need to be exercised for these differences. The results also indicated that prolonged daily practice (>4 hours), playing chords forcefully, eagerness about practice, and nervous traits were found to contribute to the development of PRMDs in these pianists. Hand size was, on the other hand, not a significant risk factor of PRMDs.

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