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Title: An investigation into performance related musculoskeletal disorders of professional orchestral string musicians in South Africa
Authors: Hohls, Quinton Rolf 
Keywords: String musicians;Orchestral musician injuries;Performance/playing related musculoskeletal disorders
Issue Date: 2010
Professional orchestral string musicians are exposed to many physical and psychological stressors due to demands placed on them from playing their instruments. The prevalence of performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMD’s) in this highly skilled group of individuals has been investigated internationally, consistently showing a high injury rate. There is however, a paucity of literature documenting the prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries in South African professional orchestral string players.
It is hypothesized that South African trained orchestral string musicians may be at a greater risk for PRMD development due to the unique training and performance environments encountered in this country.
This study aimed to determine the demographic and injury profile; prevalence rate of current injury and risk factors for musculoskeletal injury in South African professional orchestral string musicians.
The study utilized a self administered quantitative questionnaire distributed to all string players in the three professional orchestras in South African in a semi-supervised fashion. SPSS version 15.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) was used to analyze the data. A p value < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
There were 27 respondents, with the average participant being a Caucasian, right handed, non-smoking female, 37.11 years of age, 1.5631 meters tall, with a weight of 62.96 kilograms (BMI = 25.768) who exercised regularly (primarily in the gym). A bachelors degree in Music was the most commonly awarded qualification, obtained between the years 2000 and 2009, from a University outside of the Republic of South Africa.
The prevalence of PRMD’s in the sample was 63% (n = 17), with a 95% confidence interval of 42.4% to 80.6%.In this study there was a high rate of injury (6.53 PRMD’s per player over a 12 month period), equating to 111 reported injuries in a population of 27 string players. The upper back (defined as the area between the shoulder blades) was the most commonly injured part of the body (77.8%, n = 21), followed by the upper extremity, mainly the shoulder (70.4%, n = 19).
No statistically significant relationships were found in determining and confirming expected risk factors in the string players.
Professional orchestral string musicians in South Africa suffer from a high rate of injury which is comparable to international studies of the same nature
Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for the Master’s Degree in Technology:
Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2010.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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