Introduction: Up to 87% of professional musicians develop work-related complaints of the musculoskeletal system during their careers. Music school students are at specific risk for developing musculoskeletal complaints and disabilities. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a biopsychosocial prevention program to prevent or reduce disabilities from playing-related musculoskeletal disorders. Secondary objectives are evaluation of cost-effectiveness and feasibility.
Methods: Healthy, first or second year students (n=150) will be asked to participate in a multicentre, single-blinded, parallel-group randomised controlled trial. Students randomised to the intervention group (n=75) will participate in a biopsychosocial prevention program that addresses playing-related health problems and provides postural training according to the Mensendieck or Cesar methods of postural exercise therapy, while incorporating aspects from behavioural change theories. A control group (n=75) will participate in a program that stimulates a healthy physical activity level using a pedometer, which conforms to international recommendations. No long-term effects are expected from this control intervention. Total follow-up duration is two years. The primary outcome measure is disability (Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire). The secondary outcome measures are pain, quality of life and changes in health behaviour. Multilevel mixed-effect logistic or linear regression analyses will be performed to analyse the effects of the program on the aforementioned outcome measurements. Furthermore, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility and feasibility will be analysed.
Discussion: It is believed that this is the first comprehensive randomised controlled trial on the effect and rationale of a biopsychosocial prevention program for music students.
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