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Postural Disorders in Conservatory Students: The Diesis Project

M. Ramella, F. Fronte, R.M. Converti
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 29 Number 1: Page 19 (March 2014)

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Abstract: Prolonged and incorrect postures are one of the main risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal pathologies. The aims of this study were to study the prevalence of incorrect postures among conservatory students; to identify if the use of an asymmetric instrument represents a risk factor for developing postural disorders; and to investigate whether a correlation exists between years of study, physical activity, and prevalence of postural disorders. Methods: The subjects were recruited among students of the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Milano. All musical instruments were investigated and classified as asymmetric and symmetrical. The observed student posture was classified without instrument as 'correct posture' or 'postural disorder' and with an with instrument as 'optimal posture' or 'non-optimal posture.' While playing, the postural disorder was classified as 'unchanged' or 'increased.' The data were analyzed with chi-square and linear regression methods. Results: Of the 148 conservatory students entered into the study, 66.2% had a postural disorder; 73.4% had a non-optimal posture, and playing an asymmetric instrument was the only variable associated (p=0.01). While playing, the postural disorder was increased in 59.2%; playing an asymmetric instrument (p=0.01) and years of practice (p=0.007) were the significantly associated variables. Conclusions: To play an asymmetric instrument exposes musicians to an increased risk of non-optimal postures and to a worsened postural disorder when present. Considering that the years of practice have an additional negative impact on postural disorders, further studies are needed to clarify the role of non-optimal postures in the development of musculoskeletal complaints among students and professional musicians.

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