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AAEM Minimonograph #43: Neuromuscular Problems in the Performing Arts


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Lederman, R.
Journal Title: Muscle & Nerve
Date Published: Jun-94
Language: English
Category: Nervous Disorders
Key Words: neuromuscular dystonia musician performance
Full Citation: Lederman, Richard J. AAEM Minimonograph #43: Neuromuscular Problems in the Performing Arts. Muscle & Nerve 17, no. 6 (June 1994): 569-77.
Full Abstract: Over the past 10-15 years, there has been increasing interest in the health problems of performing artists. In this review, I will discuss the major playing-related disorders seen in instrumental musicians. Among the 672 instrumentalists evaluated, the major diagnoses identified included musculoskeletal disorders in 64%, peripheral nerve problems in 22.5%, and focal dystonia in 7%. Sixty percent of instrumentalists were female although males predominate in the group with focal dystonia. The average age of those evaluated was 32 years. Among musculoskeletal disorders overuse syndrome is the most common. Frequent peripheral nerve disorders include thoracic outlet syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and ulnar neuropathy. A characteristic distribution of symptoms and signs is identified for each instrument group. Electrodiagnostic studies are an important part of the evaluation of these disorders. With carefully designed treatment, the majority of instrumental musicians can be returned to full and pain-free playing activities. The success rate is highest in some entrapment neuropathies but remains low in focal dystonia.