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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Oct 7;12:223. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-12-223.

Prevalence and consequences of musculoskeletal symptoms in symphony orchestra musicians vary by gender: a cross-sectional study.

Author information

  • 1Research Unit of Occupational and Environmental Health, Institute of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. helene@paarup.net

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Musculoskeletal symptoms are common in the neck, back, and upper limbs amongst musicians. Playing-related musculoskeletal disorders have been found to range from 32% to 87% with a tendency for female musicians to have more problems than males. Studies of musculoskeletal problems in instrumentalists have generally involved pre-professional musicians or populations comprising musicians of different levels. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate the prevalence, duration and consequences of musculoskeletal symptoms in professional symphony orchestra musicians.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional questionnaire study. The study population comprised of 441 musicians from six Danish symphony orchestras; 342 (78%) completed the questionnaire.

RESULTS:

During the last year 97% of the women and 83% of the men experienced symptoms in at least one of nine anatomic regions (neck, upper and lower back, shoulders, elbows, and hands and wrists). 86% of the women and 67% of the men experienced symptoms for more than seven days, while 63% of the women and 49% of the men had symptoms for more than 30 days. Woodwind players had a lower risk for musculoskeletal symptoms and a lower risk for the consequences. Among consequences were changed way of playing, reported by 73% of the musicians, difficulty in daily activities at home, reported by 55%, and difficulty in sleeping, reported by 49%. Their health behaviour included taking paracetamol as the most used analgesic, while physiotherapists and general practitioners were reported as the most consulted health care professionals concerning musculoskeletal problems.Results regarding symptoms in six anatomic regions were compared to results for a sample of the general Danish workforce. Symptoms were more frequent in musicians and lasted longer than in the general workforce. This applied to both genders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Within the last year most symphony orchestra musicians experienced musculoskeletal symptoms in the neck, back or upper extremities. The symptoms impacted on their level of function in and outside work and were reflected in their health behaviour. Generally women had a higher risk than men and woodwind players a lower risk than other instrumentalists. Finally, symptoms were more frequent and lasted longer in the musicians than in the general workforce.

PMID:
21978278
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3221643
Free PMC Article

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