Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.Medical Problems of Performing Artists

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Neurological Problems of Performing Artists

Richard J. Lederman
From: Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.: Chapter 3 © 2010; page: 51

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Abstract: Virtually all forms of music, dance, and the dramatic arts require an extraordinary level of sensorimotor control, precision, speed, endurance, and in some cases strength. Every aspect of this is, of course, under the control of, and influenced by, the nervous system. Rather than analyze the various neurological and other factors that go into the making of a performing artist, this chapter presents an approach to clinical problems encountered among performing artists from the perspective of a neurologist.
The chapter begins with the evaluation of the performing artist, including the interview and examination, and surveys developmental problems and issues of aging. The specific neurologic-related ailments that affect the artist's ability to perform or sustain a performance career are examined in detail: headache and migraine, epilepsy, dementia, stroke, drug and substance abuse, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, motor neuron disease, muscular disorders, cranial nerve disorders (Bell's palsy, trigeminal neuralgia), polyneuropathies (Guillain-Barre syndrome), back pain, nerve entrapments and overuse injuries (cervical radiculopathy, thoracic outlet syndrome, neuralgic amyotrophy, carpal tunnel syndrome, digital neuropathies, median, radial, and ulnar neuropathies), and focal dystonias (occupational cramp). Signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of these disorders are summarized.

Last Updated: 5 / 2010

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