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Playing-related Musculoskeletal Disorders and Stress-related Health Problems Among Percussionists

C. Sandell, M. Frykman, K. Chesky, A. Fjellman-Wiklund
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 24 Number 4: Page 175 (December 2009)

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Abstract: This cross-sectional study examined the prevalence of self-reported playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) and stress-related health problems among percussionists. Data for the present study were extracted from the University of North Texas Musician Health Survey (UNT-MHS) data set. Subjects (n = 279) were included if they identified auxiliary percussion (i.e., tambourine, triangle, bells, rattle, wood block), drum set, marimba, steel drum, timpani, vibraphone, xylophone, or other percussion as their primary instrument. Prevalence rates for PRMDs and stress-related health problems were determined for the total percussion group and for separate instrument categories. Of the total group, 77% reported one or more PRMDs. The keyboard percussionists (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, and steel drum) reported the significantly highest prevalence (89%), followed by auxiliary and other percussionists (79%) and membranophone percussionists, including drum set and timpani (74%). The highest region-specific prevalence of PRMDs for the whole group was found in the bilateral hand and low back regions. Stress due to work environment was considered moderate to high by 75% of the respondents. Regarding stress-related health problems, percussionists reported primarily problems with fatigue, depression, and stage fright. The overall findings of this study show that PRMDs and stress-related health problems are a major concern for percussionists and warrant further research.

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