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Musculoskeletal and General Health Problems of Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, and Banjo Players

Anncristine Fjellman-Wiklund, Kris Chesky
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 21 Number 4: Page 169 (December 2006)

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Abstract: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to describe self-reported problems among guitarists and to examine differences associated with type of guitar played. Data for the study were extracted from the University of North Texas Musician Health Survey (UNT-MHS) data set. Subjects for the present study (n = 520) were included if they identified acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass or banjo as their primary instrument. Prevalences for musculoskeletal problems were determined for the total group, by guitar-specific groups, and by gender. Prevalences for nonmusculoskeletal, overall health problems were established for the whole guitar group and by instrument. Of the total subjects, 81% reported one or more musculoskeletal problems. The acoustic guitar group reported the highest prevalence (83%), followed by the banjo (78%), electric bass (77%), and electric guitar groups (74%). The highest site-specific prevalences for the whole group were the left fingers (32.9%), left wrist (29.8%), and left hand (24.7%). Regarding nonmusculoskeletal problems, 66% of the total group perceived stress due to work environment as a moderate to high problem. The total group reported mostly problems with fatigue, depression, headache, and eye strain. The overall findings of the study show that musculoskeletal problems as well as stress-related health problems are a major concern for the guitar community.

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