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A Cross-Sectional Study of Pain Among U.S. College Music Students and Faculty

Jeremy L. Stanek, Kevin D. Komes, Fred A. Murdock, Jr.
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 32 Number 1: Page 20 (March 2017)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Studies over recent decades have demonstrated significant performance-related pain among professional musicians. However, there have been no largescale studies to evaluate pain among college musicians. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and anatomical locations of performance-related pain among students and faculty at the college level and learn what musicians do when they have pain. METHODS: Cross-sectional data were collected using an online survey distributed to colleges across the United States. Data were analyzed using REDCap electronic data capture tools and Microsoft Excel. RESULTS: We received 1,007 survey responses and found that 67% of musicians at colleges experienced performance-related pain. The highest prevalence of pain was in woodwind musicians, with 83% reporting performance-related pain. The most common locations of pain were upper back (27%), lower back (26%), and fingers of the right hand (25%). Many student musicians with pain seek help from their teacher, but almost as many do not seek help at all. Less than 25% see a medical professional. CONCLUSIONS: Most musicians at colleges experience performance-related pain in a variety of anatomical locations depending upon instrument/voice. Performing arts health organizations can increase awareness of treatment options for musicians suffering from performance-related pain, which may lead to improved quality of life and increased career longevity for college musicians.

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