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Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Percussionists in Greece: A Pilot Study

Maria Papandreou, A. Vervainioti
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 25 Number 3: Page 116 (September 2010)

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Abstract: The performing arts medicine literature indicates that the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in musician instrumentalists is approximately 43%. The primary purpose of this study was to record rates of the most common musculoskeletal disorders among professional and student percussionists in Greece. The secondary aim was to uncover relationships between the percussionists' musculoskeletal disorders and work-related factors such as their age, main musical activity, and practice time in musical training. METHODS: Thirty percussionists of both sexes, in active musical activity, aged 20 to 60 years, participated. The Musicians Health Questionnaire was used to record their musculoskeletal disorders as assessed in four factors: personal data, musical activity, total body musculoskeletal disorders, and treatment. RESULTS: In the 30 percussionists, 32% of musculoskeletal disorders involved the upper limb, 20% the vertebral column, 8% muscle tissue, 13% psychological problems, and 27% the rest of the body. The most common problems were tremor (20%, n = 6), neuralgia in the arms (17%, n = 5), and backache (20%, n = 6). Statistically significant correlations were found between upper-limb tremor and main musical activity (r = 0.53, p = 0.01), backache and age (r = 0.48, p = 0.01), and neuralgia in the arms and musical practice time (in hrs/day; r = 0.45, p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study indicated that most musculoskeletal disorders among percussionists in Greece affect the upper limbs and involve multiple risk factors. Because of the limited number of respondents, this study should be considered as a pilot population study.

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