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Performing Arts Medicine


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Ostwald, P.
Journal Title: The Western Journal of Medicine
Date Published: Jan-94
Language: English
Category: Multiple Medical Disorders
Key Words: medical performance musician dancer vocal instrumental
Full Citation: Ostwald, Peter F., Barry C. Baron, Nancy M. Byl, and Frank R. Wilson. Performing Arts Medicine. The Western Journal of Medicine 160, no. 1 (January 1994): 48-52.
Full Abstract: Arts medicine has come of age, resulting from 3 important developments over the past decade: [improved] methods of diagnosis and treatment, an awareness that artists suffer from special problems related to their occupation and lifestyle, and the establishment of health programs emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach to these patients. We focus on the patterns of illness afflicting [performing] artists, specifically dancers, singers, actors, and instrumental musicians, and explain some of the [options the] health care team can do in treating these patients. The conditions governing these patients' lives[,] exposure to high expectations of excellence, incessant demands for perfection, long periods of intense practicing, fierce competition, high levels of anxiety associated with performance, and unce careers--need to be understood. Levels of disease and disability are remarkably high, but artists often ignore symptoms. We discuss the musculoskeletal, neurologic, vocal, psychological, and other syndromes found among performers and some of the difficulties in treating them. The prevention of injury, conservative management, collaboration with teachers, and a psychotherapeutic approach are desirable. Arts medicine programs for professional consultation exist in several major cities of the United States and abroad. Although research is needed regarding the effectiveness of health care [service] for performing artists, the scientific literature devoted to this field is growing.