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Violists and Violinists Report More Intense Hand Pain on NRS Than Other Orchestra Musicians

Martti Vastamäki, Heidi Vastamäki, Leena Ristolainen, Katri Laimi, Mikhail Saltychev
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 35 Number 3: Page 162 (September 2020)

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Abstract: AIMS: Among musicians, string players have the highest prevalence for musculoskeletal overuse. Playing a violin or viola requires rapid, repetitive, and complicated movements of the hands and fingers. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine whether violin/viola, violin/cello, and violin/French horn players experience more intense musculoskeletal pain than other instrumentalists. METHODS: The study sample consisted of 590 orchestra musicians (354 male, 236 female, mean age 36 yrs). Self-administered questionnaires were used to assess pain of the back, neck, shoulder, face, jaw, and upper extremity. Pain intensity during the last 7 days was measured by an 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS) with a score from 0 to 10, as well as was disadvantage at work and leisure. RESULTS: Of the interviewed musicians, 20% presented playing-related musculoskeletal disorders at the time of the interview. Compared to other professional orchestra musicians, violin and viola players reported significantly more intense pain in the hand during the last week. Also, they had experienced more frequent neck pain ever and in 5 years than the others. During the past 30 days, violin and viola players had also perceived more harm in their upper limb joints. Violin/cello and violin/French horn players did not differ from the others. CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that musicians playing the violin or viola have more intense hand pain and more frequent neck pain than other musicians, but these seem to disturb their daily tasks only a little.

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