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Playing-Related Injuries and Posture Among Saxophonists

Chelsea Shanoff, Kyurim Kang, Christine Guptill, Michael Thaut
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 34 Number 4: Page 215 (December 2019)

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Abstract: [2019 AGB Award]
AIMS: Playing-related injuries are common among musicians, but little is known about the nature of injuries and complaints in saxophone players. This research explored playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) and postures among saxophonists. The aims were to: 1) investigate the prevalence of PRMDs among saxophonists; 2) determine the most problematic body parts; and 3) identify their main postural habits and determine whether these postural habits may be related to the prevalence of pain in specific body parts. METHODS: An online questionnaire was used to collect data from professional and college-level saxophonists throughout North America. RESULTS: From 109 saxophonists who responded, 83 (76.15%) reported ever having a PRMD, 54 (50%) reported having a PRMD in the past year, 30 (27.52%) reported having a PRMD in the past month, and 23 (21.10%) reported having a PRMD in the past week. Top rated areas of pain were the right wrist, neck, mouth/jaw, and left wrist. The most common self-reported postural habits were forward head position and rounded upper back. Postures that correlated with higher pain ratings were rounded upper back and backward pelvic tilt. The rounded upper back, backward pelvic tilt, and excessive curve in low back postures were significantly correlated with the presence of PRMD problems in the right wrist. CONCLUSIONS: Saxophonists in this survey experienced a high prevalence of PRMDs, especially of the wrists, neck, and mouth/jaw. Certain postural habits may contribute to higher pain ratings or PRMD locations within saxophonists.

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