Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Hand and Upper Extremity Problems in Wind Instrument Players in Military Bands

Koichi Nemoto, Hiroshi Arino
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 22 Number 2: Page 67 (June 2007)

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Abstract: This study examined the medical problems, especially of the hand and upper extremity, observed in wind instrument players from the military bands of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The bands included 235 wind instrument players (184 men, 51 women), whose ages ranged from 18 to 57 yrs (average, 35 yrs). The length of their careers ranged from 6 to 41 yrs (average, 21 yrs). Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to the subjects for the health check. Results: From 235 wind instrument players, 71 (30% of the total players, 27% of the male players, and 41% of the female players) had hand and upper extremity problems. No relationship between the problem and the age or length of career was observed. The most common complaints were pain (49%), stiffness (19%), and numbness (7%). The upper extremities accounted for 52% of the affected sites and included the shoulder (6%), elbow (11%), forearm (4%), wrist (31%) and digit (47%). Musicians who played the flute, oboe, or clarinet were most commonly affected. The right thumb pain of clarinet and oboe players and right wrist pain of French horn players were characteristic symptoms of these instruments. Conclusion: Physicians, musicians, and administrators should be conscious of the potential for musicians to develop a wide array of physical problems directly related to the repeated use of their musical instruments

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