How "in tune" are musicians to their musculoskeletal problems? A survey of dancers, instrumentalists, and vocal performers.




Colucci, Patricia
Lee, Yein
Roop, Katrina
Passmore, Cynthia


0000-0001-8341-3588 (Colucci, Patricia)

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RAD Abstract Submission How "in tune" are musicians to their musculoskeletal problems? A survey of dancers, instrumentalists, and vocal performers. Purpose This is an ongoing survey of dancers, instrumentalists, and vocal performers connected with University of North Texas Health Science Center Performing Arts Medicine Clinic (UNTHSC PAMC.) The study's goal was to study the injuries, illnesses, prior treatments, self-care habits, and the effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) when addressing the musculoskeletal injuries of the performers. Methods A survey consisting of 33 quantitative and qualitative questions was created using Qualtrics and granted IRB approval (IRB 1504435-3.) The survey gathered information about the duration and frequency of practices and performances for dancers, vocal performers, brass, string, percussion, and woodwind instrumentalists. Surveys were distributed and collected through the internet and a mobile platform. Information regarding the survey was disseminated through social media and word of mouth. Data was gathered from Qualtrics and analyzed. Performers were asked specifics of their practice schedule, if break time is allotted, and about performer injuries and treatments pursued. If a participant received OMT, he or she was asked about its impact on their return to performance. Those surveyed also reported the amount of cardiovascular exercise and resistance and flexibility training they do in a week. Every person surveyed was asked about the impact coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has made on their performance. Results At this time, of 58 respondents, and 42 instrumentalists were selected for initial analysis. These instrumentalists are primarily White, highly educated, 30 years of age, and have typically played 13 years (range 5 - 66 years). Preliminary results revealed that 75% of instrumentalists report practicing 5 hours or more per week. Additionally, 66% of instrumentalists play with pain, most reportedly in the jaw, anterior neck, and upper/middle back. The instrumentalist demonstrated a high level of technical language when describing their injuries. The survey reported frequent break times and using a variety of at-home modalities to treat their pain, while 78% reported less than four hours of cardiovascular activity per week. There were eight subjects who responded to questions regarding OMT. Of those responses, three responded that OMT has decreased or improved pain, four responded that OMT had reduced time away from performances, and three reported OMT had enhanced sound quality. Conclusions The current findings support the already known high prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries amongst instrumentalists. Many musicians were significantly aware of their medical problems, as evidenced by the highly technical description of their various musculoskeletal diagnoses. While they demonstrated trying many different self-care and treatment modalities for their injuries and illnesses, the survey shows musicians dedicate little time to physical activity. Due to a lack of responses, the significance of OMT on musculoskeletal injuries of the performers remains to be seen.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2022 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2022 TCOM OMM-IM Korr, PhD Memorial Award - 1st Place