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Comparison of Electromyographic Activity and Range of Neck Motion in Violin Students with and without Neck Pain During Playing

Kyue-nam Park, Oh-yun Kwon, Sung-min Ha, Su-jung Kim, Hyun-jung Choi, Jong-hyuck Weon
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 27 Number 4: Page 188 (December 2012)

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Abstract: Neck pain is common in violin students during a musical performance. The purpose of this study was to compare electromyographic (EMG) activity in superficial neck muscles with neck motion when playing the violin as well as neck range of motion (ROM) at rest, between violin students with and without neck pain. Nine violin students with neck pain and nine age- and gender-matched subjects without neck pain were recruited. Muscle activity of the bilateral upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and superficial cervical extensor muscles was measured using surface EMG. Kinematic data on neck motion while playing and active neck ROM were also measured using a three-dimensional motion analysis system. Independent t-tests were used to compare EMG activity with kinematic data between groups. These analyses revealed that while playing, both the angle of left lateral bending and leftward rotation of the cervical spine were significantly greater in the neck pain group than among those without neck pain. Similarly, EMG activity of the left upper trapezius, both cervical extensors, and both sternocleidomastoid muscles were significantly greater in the neck pain group. The active ROM of left axial rotation was significantly lower in the neck pain group. These results suggest that an asymmetric playing posture and the associated increased muscle activity as well as decreased neck axial rotation may contribute to neck pain in violin students.

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