Musculoskeletal injuries in elite pianists: Prevalence and associated risk factors
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Abstract Pianists seem prone to Playing~RelatedMusculoskeletal Disorders (PRMDs), however little pianospecific epidemiological research into such disorders has been undertaken. This study aimed to establish the prevalence ofPRMDs in a sample of elite (conservatory) pianists, identify associated risk factors and gather infonnation regarding PRMD symptom distribution. A survey of pianists enrolled at a large Australian university keyboard conservatory was undertaken. Survey items were developed from qualitative research that validated a PRMD definition for pianists and identified relevant perceived risk factors. Univariate and multivariate statistical techniques were used. Sixty-eight percent of pianists reported experiencing symptoms that interfered with their piano playing in the week prior to completing the survey. Statistically significant risk factors associated //'ith PRMDs following were high levels of perceived stress and self-reported increased muscle tension when playing the piano. Survey participants reporting both high stress and increased muscle tension had an 84% chance of having a PRMD. Anatomical areas most frequently affected by PRMD symptoms were the posterior neck, shoulders and upper middle back. Knowledge of these risk factors, and the anatomical areas frequently affected by PRMDs can aid piano teachers in the recognition and management of these disorders in consultation with appropriate health professionals.
Australian Journal of Music Education
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