Exercise may help playing-related musculoskeletal disorders in traditional musicians. a controlled cohort pilot study

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

31 Downloads (Pure)


Playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) are defined as pain, weakness, lack of control, numbness, tingling or other symptoms that interfere with the ability to play an instrument at the accustomed level, and are most common among the players of stringed instruments1.
To determine whether an exercise intervention could reduce the severity of PRMDs in traditional musicians.
Two similar traditional groups were identified. Inclusion criteria: (i) adults who played a musical instrument for more than 5 years, (ii) with or without PRMD. Following ethical approval one group (EG) received an exercise and advice intervention (5 workshops over a 10-week period) and the other (control group: CG) continued with normal practice. EG: stretching, postural awareness with core stability exercise, breathing and relaxation exercises. Outcome measures included a numerical rating scale to measure pain severity ‘today’ and ‘during the past week’.
Twenty eight musicians participated (CG: n = 11; EG: n = 17). Most (26/28) played at least 2 instruments (main instrument fiddle: n = 14; second instrument piano: n = 8, guitar: n = 7). 18 had played for more than 10 years (range: 1 – 25 years) and 25/28 played more than 6 hours/week (range: 6 – 40). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups for gender, age or the hours of practice per week, though the CG was slightly younger (age: CG = 23.5 6.2, EG = 26.88 6.7). When the severity of the PRMD problem was compared to baseline (Wilcoxon Signed-rank test), there was a statistically significant difference betweens the groups (p = .017) with the exercise group experiencing a decrease in the severity of the PRMD (difference: + = increase in problem, - = decrease in problem, 0 = no change) (CG: median = 0, IQR: -2 to +2.5; EG: median = -1, IQR: -4 to 0).
This small pilot study suggests that an exercise and advice intervention that includes a range of components can reduce the severity of PRMDs in musicians and is more effective than no intervention/usual care. However, conclusions cannot be drawn regarding any individual intervention and further study is needed.

Key words
PRMD, traditional musician
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventRehabilitation and Therapies Research Society - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 12 May 201113 May 2011


ConferenceRehabilitation and Therapies Research Society
Abbreviated title6th RTRS


Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise may help playing-related musculoskeletal disorders in traditional musicians. a controlled cohort pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this