Musculoskeletal and other performance related disorders in South African undergraduate music students
Journal of Occupational Health and Epidemiology
Performance related musculoskeletal and associated health issues are prominent amongst musicians. The aim of this study was to explore self-reported musculoskeletal and related health issues in undergraduate music students. A further goal was to ascertain how these problems impact students' learning and playing their instruments. Materials and Methods: A longitudinal mixed method study was done over a period of three years with 145 undergraduate music students at the Department of Music,
... ity of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa who completed a health survey, which included verbal statements to open-ended questions. The frequency and percentages of each quantitative variable were calculated using Excel software. Results: The results showed an overall 83% prevalence of musculoskeletal and related health problems among music students. The four most prominent problems cited were related to inappropriate tiredness, concentration problems, sleep disturbances and headaches. Prominent musculoskeletal problems included orofacial issues such as sinus problems, and pain experienced in the lower spine, upper spine, left and right forearm. Students were generally reticent to report problems to healthcare professionals, particularly if they were not musculoskeletal in nature. Conclusions: The current study shows that undergraduate music students at the University of Pretoria experience similar types of playing-related problems to students elsewhere in the world. However, there is a need to further probe and report playing-related musculoskeletal and its associated health problems at this institution as well as other tertiary institutions in South Africa. Furthermore, issues of diagnosis, treatment and impediments dedicated to specific instrument groups should be addressed.