Medical Surveys

Barton, Rebecca, Clyde Killian, Morgan Bushee, Julia Callen, and Teresa Cupp. “Occupational Performance Issues and Predictors of Dysfunction in College Instrumentalists.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 23 (June 2008): 72-78.

A survey of college instrumental music majors and the pain or discomfort they may experience as a result of their playing. Looks at the student population with regards to gender, instrument, practice hours, and degree of pain. Recommends better education for students to aid in injury prevention and management.

Brandfonbrener, Alice G.. “History of Playing-Related Pain in 330 University Freshman Students.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 24 (March 2009): 30-36.

In a search to better understand which performance related pains conservatory/music school student’s experience, Brandfonbrener surveyed a large body of freshman instrumentalists. Results broken into gender, instrument, years of study, exercise, performance anxiety and pain levels. Inconclusive as to a specific source of pain, states the importance of music teachers better understanding the physical needs of their students individually.

________. “Musicians with Focal Distonia: A Report of 58 Cases Seen during a Ten-year Period at a Performing Arts Medicine Clinic.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 10 (December 1995): 121-27.

Brandfonbrener reports data for musicians diagnosed with focal dystonia, also known as occupational cramping. Her research goal was to increase awareness of the condition and investigate useful information based on results from specific individuals. She identifies contributing factors and symptoms and categorizes musicians by instrument, gender, career, age and affected site.

Cayea, Danielle, and Ralph A. Manchester. “Instrument-Specific Rates of Upper-Extremity Injuries in Music Students.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 13 (March 1998): 19-25.

University students were monitored over 14 academic years. The study determined that women were significantly more prone to injury and that oboists had a much lower injury rate than most other instruments.

Cox, Sandra Elaine. “Recognition, Evaluation, and Treatment Options of Performance-Related Injuries in Woodwind Musicians.” PhD diss., University of Memphis, 2009.

Cox collected a vast amount of information regarding performance injuries intended to help musicians better diagnose and self-treat injuries, or at least know their treatment options. Included in her dissertation is information on: carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, ganglion cysts, focal dystonia, tendinitis, epicondylitis, thumb and finger disorders, neck and shoulder disorders, TMJ and teeth, skin disorders, hypermobility and posture. An extensive list of treatments follows.

Dawson, William. “Experience with Hand and Upper-Extremity Problems in 1,000 Instrumentalists.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 10 (December 1994): 73-76.

Dawson MD compiles demographic and diagnostic data over 14 years of study, evaluation and treatment with a goal of helping to more efficiently define and manage medical problems of musicians. He itemizes patients by age and diagnosis: overuse, trauma, late effects, arthritis, surgical and other. Diagrams included based on patient class versus problem type and instrument group.

Dawson, William. “Hand and Upper Extremity Problems in Musicians: Epidemiology and Diagnosis.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 3 (January 1988): 19-22.

An analysis of the authors treatment of instrumental musicians over a five year period in a university-hospital based, hand/upper extremity surgical practice. Patients were divided into four categories: overuse/stress problems, arthritic problems, trauma, and other. Only twenty percent of the musicians had difficulties caused specifically by performance, trauma was the most common cause of injury.

Dawson, William. “Upper Extremity Overuse in Instrumentalists.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 16 (June 2001): 66-71.

A review of over 300 patients age 9 to 89 and their music performance related overuse injuries. Patients categorized by skill level, age, gender, instrument and over-use related diagnoses and commonalities in symptoms are analyzed.

Dawson, William. “Upper Extremity Problems of the Mature Instrumentalist.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 14 (June 1999): 87-92.

In this study, Dawson analyzes the effects of age (50+) on instrumentalists with attention to both music-related and age-related problems. Age, instrument, skill level, and diagnosis are taken in to account. Overuse, trauma, arthritis and other diseases are the primary categories outlined and discussed.

Dyk, Marcia Ruth. “A Study of the Physical and Physiological Disabilities of Professional Musicians Relative to Occupational Role Dysfunction.” MS thesis, San Jose State University, 1991.

A study of how lifestyle habits and values relate to higher levels of physical and physiological problems among professional musicians. She analyzed contributors and responses to pain, perception of the normality of pain in musicianship, location and frequency of physical symptoms, and the possible interference with careers.

Edling, Cecilia Wahlström, and Annchristine Fjellman-Wiklund. “Musculoskeletal Disorders and Asymmetric Playing Postures of the Upper Extremity and Back in Music Teachers: A Pilot Study.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 24 (September 2009): 113-18.

This study compares two different groups, instrumentalists who utilize either asymmetric or symmetric playing positions, and the relation of body positioning to musculoskeletal disorders. Itemizes areas of experienced pain, instrument, age, gender, and hours played each week.

Fry, Hunter J.H. “Overuse Syndrome of the Upper Limb in Musicians.” The Medical Journal of Australia 144 (February 1986): 182-83, 185.

Fry conducted a survey of 379 musicians, 102 of them wind players, with diagnosed repetitive stress injuries. He sought out commonalities in symptoms, including locations of tenderness, depression, and avoidance of pain-inducing activities. Anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants had previously provided little relief. Continued practice exacerbated symptoms. Through modifications in practice technique, posture, practice habits, relief was found for many in the study. Supports for oboes were utilized to avoid static loading. Three factors commonly affecting overuse: genetics, tension in technique, and increase in playing intensity and time.

Kivimäki, Mika, and Miia Jokinen. “Job Perceptions and Well-Being among Symphony Orchestra Musicians: A Comparison with Other Occupational Groups.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 9 (September 1994): 73-76.

Kivimäki and Jokinen distributed an occupational stress questionnaire to both musicians and members of other occupational groups. They analyzed the collected data with attention to job perceptions, well-being, job satisfaction and strain. Charts categorize physical stressors for orchestra and more specifically, wind players.
Lederman, Richard J. “Treatment Outcome in Instrumentalists: A Long-term Follow-up Study.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 10 (September 1995): 115-20.

Lederman surveyed 100 instrumentalists at various levels in their musical careers and then again 5-7 years following their initial survey and treatment. His goal was to assess the rate of success of treatment programs for performing artists. Initial diagnoses, treatments utilized and symptom presence and duration were monitored.

Nemoto, Koichi, and Hiroshi Arino. “Hand and Upper Extremity Problems in Wind Instrument Players in Military Bands.” Medical Problems in Performing Artists 22 (June 2007): 67-69.

Nemoto and Arino surveyed 235 wind instrument players from Japanese Military Bands. Thumb and wrist pain were the most common problems among oboists, primarily in the right hand. Results broken down by instrument, gender, location of pain, and symptoms.

Ranelli, Sonia, Leon Straker, and Anne Smith. “Playing-related Musculoskeletal Problems in Children Learning Instrumental Music: The Association between Problem Location and Gender, Age, and Music Exposure Factors.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 26 (September 2011): 123-39.

This study surveyed 731 students in Australian schools age 7-17, with the aim of determining the prevalence playing-related musculoskeletal problems amongst children and adolescents. Gender, age, music exposure, the type and number of instruments, and the location of symptoms were all taken into consideration. High prevalence of pain and injury were concluded, musician health should be addressed at a young age to ensure musicians’ well-being and longevity.

Rohwer, Debbie. “Health and Wellness Issues for Adult Band Musicians.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 23 (June 2008): 54-58. (Verified 3/6/2015, original print article in HBLL.)

Rohwer surveyed adults 47-91 years old at a senior band camp with varying musical abilities, beginner to advanced. Looks at both instrumentalist related health problems as well as symptoms of aging. Itemizes different symptoms as well as what activities the musicians used to counteract them.

Shoup, David. “Survey of Performance-related Problems among High School and Junior High School Musicians.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 10 (September 1995): 100-105.

Shoup surveyed 425 band and orchestra students regarding performance-related injuries. He assessed a variety of contributors, including: gender, experience, practice habits, medical history, frequency of pain, location, symptoms, severity and treatments. He concluded that musculoskeletal problems begin early and recommended that education, prevention and treatment would be beneficial for young musicians.

Stanhope, Jessica, Steve Milanese, and Karen Grimmer. “University Woodwind Students’ Experiences with Playing-Related Injuries and Their Management: A Pilot Study.” Journal of Pain Research 7 (March 2014): 133-47.

A study researching the prevalence of playing-related injuries in university woodwinds. Limited with only 13 musicians included in study though it does provide a list of 22 treatment methods and ratings of their effectiveness by participating musicians.

Thrasher, Michael, and Kris S. Chesky. “Prevalence of Medical Problems among Double Reed Performers.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 16 (December 2001): 157-60.

A survey of a large body of musicians with the intent of describing the medical problems specific to double reed players. Most musculoskeletal symptoms were in the right hand, wrist, arm, and back. Also reported was a high incidence of headaches, blackouts/dizziness, stage fright, eye strain and fatigue. Broken down in charts by prevalence rates and severity.