Musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions of instrumental musicians

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1996 Apr;77(4):406-13. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(96)90093-3.


Performing Arts Medicine is a broad field that includes the study of medical conditions and injuries incurred by dancers, instrumental musicians, and vocalists. This article summarizes the most relevant literature of approximately the past 10 years concerning the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions of musicians. A literature search was done for relevant articles in English by physicians or scientists. Some older, but fundamental, articles are included; incidental case reports were excluded to the extent possible. Included were articles on incidence, prevalence, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and biomechanical studies in musicians. Although nearly all of these conditions are the same ones seen in the general work force, it is clear that their occurrence patterns in the professional musician are unique, as is their impact on the life and livelihood of the patient. The content of the Arts Medicine literature does not permit a truly critical review. Research in the last 10 years appears not to have been done in a true blinded, random case-controlled fashion. Many authors support their statements with only their respective clinical experiences. The research cited here includes 58 series, 9 case studies, 5 surveys, 2 pre/post intervention studies, and 1 double-blind crossover clinical trial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Prevalence