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Contributing Factors, Prevention, and Management of Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Flute Players Internationally

Karen Lonsdale, E-Liisa Laakso, Vanessa Tomlinson
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 29 Number 3: Page 155 (September 2014)

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Abstract: Major studies have shown that flutists report playing-related pain in the neck, middle/upper back, shoulders, wrists, and hands. The current survey was designed to establish the injury concerns of flute players and teachers of all backgrounds, as well as their knowledge and awareness of injury prevention and management. Questions addressed a range of issues including education, history of injuries, preventative and management strategies, lifestyle factors, and teaching methods. At the time of the survey, 26.7% of all respondents were suffering from flute playing-related discomfort or pain; 49.7% had experienced flute playing-related discomfort or pain that was severe enough to distract while performing; and 25.8% had taken an extended period of time off playing because of discomfort or pain. Consistent with earlier studies, the most common pain sites were the fingers, hands, arms, neck, middle/upper back, and shoulders. Further research is needed to establish possible links between sex, instrument types, and ergonomic set up. Further investigation is recommended to ascertain whether certain types of physical training, education, and practice approaches may be more suitable than current methods. A longitudinal study researching the relationship between early education, playing position, ergonomic set-up, and prevalence of injury is recommended.

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