Abstract: BACKGROUND: The literature related to playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) primarily includes classical musicians and instrument-specific studies. Previous work by our team identified that PRMDs are an issue for Irish traditional fiddle players; however, the extent of the problem was not known.
OBJECTIVE: To identify the type and extent of PRMDs in the Irish traditional music population, specifically fiddle players. METHODS: A questionnaire was developed and administered to faculty and students related to all Irish traditional music courses in all higher education institutions in Ireland.
RESULTS: Seven institutions were included. The response rate was 77.5% (n=79 of 102 possible respondents). A fifth of respondents never had a PRMD, 36.7% (n=29) currently had a PRMD, and 34.2% (n=27) had a previous experience of a PRMD. The main symptoms were pain (62%, n=49), stiffness (41.8%, n=33), and tingling (35.4%, n=28). There was a positive association between the development of PRMDs and increased hours of play (p=0.017).
CONCLUSIONS: PRMDs are a problem for Irish traditional fiddle players, especially during times of intense playing such as festivals.