Abstract: BACKGROUND: During their training, musicians must develop good work habits that they will carry on throughout their professional career in order to avoid potential chronic health problems, such as musculoskeletal pain. The effect of sudden changes in instrument playing-time on the development of playing-related musculoskeletal pain (PRMP) has not been thoroughly investigated in music students playing bowed string instruments (BSI), even though they are regularly exposed to such changes to perfect their playing skills.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the association between sudden changes in instrument playing-time and changes in PRMP in BSI players.
METHODS: A prospective cohort study was completed with BSI students attending a summer music camp offering high-level training. Participants completed a self-administered 23-item questionnaire designed for the study upon arrival at camp (T1) and then 7 days later (T2).
RESULTS: Ninety-three BSI students (16±4 yrs old) completed the questionnaires, for a 23% response rate. Their playing-time increased by 23±14 hrs between T1 and T2. Complaints in pain frequency (e.g., from never to most of the time) and intensity (19±24 mm on VAS) significantly increased between T1 and T2 and were correlated with an increase in playing-time.
CONCLUSION: A sudden increase in playing-time, such as that experienced by elite BSI students attending an intensive music camp, was related to an increase in PRMP. However, in this study, changes in pain characteristics were only partly explained by the change in playing-time.