Overuse injuries in musicians as an interdisciplinary problem: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Part II


  • V.I. Berezutsky State Institution “Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy”, Dnipro, Ukraine http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0989-2960
  • M.S. Berezutska M. Glinka Dnipropetrovsk Academy of Music, Dnipro, Ukraine




playing-related musculoskeletal disorders, overuse injuries in musicians, a repetitive strain injury, ergonomic perfor­ming technique


The overuse injury afflicting the instrumentalist musicians is a complex interdisciplinary problem with a very long history. The problem is still relevant today: the overuse syndrome is found in 60–85 % of musicians. By the late 20th century, leading music teachers and physician-researchers were trying to find a solution each on their own and acted in a disjointed manner. Since late 20th century, the study of a repetitive strain injury has been conducted on an interdisciplinary basis. The goal of the research was to study the patterns of currently developing interdiscipli­nary interaction. In order to achieve the goal, the reference sources containing information on etiopathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and methods of treatment and prevention of the overuse injury in musicians were analyzed. The search for reference sour­ces was conducted in the electronic archives, repositories, and journals indexed in the Scopus, WoS, Medline, and Pubmed databa­ses (1980–2020). The analysis of the modern period showed the active development of interdisciplinary cooperation, whose result was the creation of research centers for interdisciplinary coope­ration and specialized rehabilitation communities for musicians with occupational diseases in the developed countries. The significance of these organizations’ findings has gone far beyond the re­latively narrow problem of overuse injury among the instrumenta­list musicians: elaborate methods of prevention and treatment have de­monstrated their universality and have found application in many fields of medicine. The cooperation of musicians and physicians has brought a great mutual benefit: the experience of music tea­chers has proved to be applicable for the prevention and treatment of variously generated traumas, and the experience of medicine has made it possible to improve the system of musical instruction. The study and popularization of foreign experience involved in the interdisciplinary cooperation may contribute to the effective problem solving arising at the junction of various spheres of human activity.


Download data is not yet available.


Betzl J, Kraneburg U, Megerle K. Overuse syndrome of the hand and wrist in musicians: a systematic review. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2020;45(6):636-642. https://doi.org/10.1177/1753193420912644.

Poore GV. Clinical Lecture on Certain Conditions of the Hand and Arm which Interfere with the Performance of Professional Acts, Especially Piano-Playing. Br Med J. 1887;1(1365):441-444. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.1365.441.

Guterman VA. Return to creative life. Occupational diseases of the hands. Yekaterinburg: Humanitarian-Ecological Lyceum; 1994. 90 p. (in Russian).

Wolff K. Dorothy Taubman: The pianist's medicine woman. Piano Quarterly. 1986;34:25-32.

Fry HJH. Overuse syndrome in musicians - 100 years ago: An historical review. Medical journal of Australia. 1986;145(11-12):620-625. doi:10.5694/j.1326-5377.1986.tb139514.x.

Fry HJ. Overuse syndrome in musicians: prevention and management. Lancet. 1986;2(8509):728-731. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(86)90242-4.

Fry HJH. Patterns of over-use seen in 658 affected instrumental musicians. International Journal of Music Education. 1988;11(1):3-16. https://doi.org/10.1177/025576148801100101.

Fry HJ. Physical signs in the hand and wrist seen in the overuse injury syndrome of the upper limb. Aust N Z J Surg. 1986;56(1):47-49. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1445-2197.1986.tb01819.x.

Fry HJ. Overuse syndrome, alias tenosynovitis/tendinitis: the terminological hoax. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1986;78(3):414-417. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006534-198609000-00025.

Norris R. The Musician's Survival Manual: A Guide to Preventing and Treating Injuries In Instrumentalists. St Louis: MMB Music; 1993. 134 р.

Fry HJ. The treatment of overuse syndrome in musicians. Results in 175 patients. J R Soc Med. 1988;81(10):572-575. https://doi.org/10.1177/014107688808101007.

Fugazza L. Methods to support guitarists to recover from injuries and/or maintain health: dissertation. Kungl: Musikhögskolan; 2020. 186 р.

Fry HJ, Rowley G. Instrumental musicians showing technique impairment with painful overuse. Md Med J. 1992;41(10):899-903.

Fry HJ, Hallett M, Mastroianni T, Dang N, Dambrosia J. Incoordination in pianists with overuse syndrome. Neurology. 1998;51(2):512-519. https://doi.org/10.1212/wnl.51.2.512.

Ozdemir F, Tutus N, Akgun SO, Kilcik MH. Evaluation of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic risk levels among instrumentalist musicians. Age (year). 2019;26(11):2630-2634. https://doi.org/10.5455/annalsmedres.2019.08.454.

Calisgan E, Imik U, Talu B, Gogremis M. The correlation of muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion with pain in musicians playing string instruments. Medicine Science. 2019;8(4):986-93. https://dx.doi.org/10.5455/medscience.2019.08.9110.

Lima C, Roriz A, Leite A, Colim A, Carneiro P. Exposure to Musculoskeletal Risk of Piano Teachers. In: Arezes P. et al, eds. Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health II. Studies in Systems, Decision and Control, vol 277. Cham: Springer; 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-41486-3_45.

Cotik T. Concepts of the Alexander Technique and Practical Ideas for Musicians. American String Teacher. 2019;69(2):33-36. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003131319835543.

Davies J. Alexander Technique classes improve pain and performance factors in tertiary music students. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2020;24(1):1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2019.04.006.

Lee M. Forward and Up: An Exploration of Implementations of the Alexander Technique in Post-Secondary Music Institutions: dissertation. London: The University of Western Ontario; 2019. 194 р.

Salonen BL. Tertiary music students' experiences of an occupational health course incorporating the body mapping approach: dissertation. Bloemfontein: Odeion School of Music of the Free State University; 2018. 424 р.

Holt M. Applied anatomy in music: Body Mapping for trumpeters: dissertation. Las Vegas: School of Music College of Fine Arts. The Graduate College University of Nevada; 2016. 189 р.

Slade T. Measurable changes in piano performance following a Body Mapping workshop: dissertation. Ottawa: Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory, School of Music Faculty of Arts University of Ottawa; 2018. 109 р.

Hammond ER. Taking Up Space: A Pedagogical History of Flutists' Perspectives on Breath and Support: dissertation. Boone: Appalachian State University; 2019. 189 р.

Suchitphanit S. Small Hands on a Grand Piano: Understanding Individual Differences and Approaches for Small-Handed Pianists: dissertation. Kansas: University of Kansas; 2017. 187 p.

Tchernik I. Healthy Piano Technique and the Prevention of Professional Injuries: An Exploration of the Schmidt-Shklovskaya-Minsker Method and its Implementation in Piano Pedagogy: dissertation. Ontario: York University Toronto; 2017. 190 р.

Ting A, Rocker J. Evaluation and Treatment of Musicians from a Holistic Perspective. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2019;7(4):1-10. https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1581.

Stanhope J, Weinstein P. Should musicians play in pain? British Journal of Pain. 2020:2049463720911399. https://doi.org/10.1177/2049463720911399.

Wijsman S, Ackermann BJ. Educating Australian musicians: are we playing it safe?. Health Promotion International. 2019;34(4);869-876. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/day030.

Stanhope J, Tooher R, Pisaniello D, Weinstein P. Have musicians'musculoskeletal symptoms been thoroughly addressed? A systematic mapping review. Int J Occup Med Environ Health . 2019;32(3):291-331. https://doi.org/10.13075/ijomeh.1896.01340.

Rotter G, Noeres K, Fernholz I, Willich SN, Schmidt A, Berghöfer A. Musculoskeletal disorders and complaints in professional musicians: a systematic review of prevalence, risk factors, and clinical treatment effects. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2020;93(2):149-187. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-019-01467-8.

Baadjou VA, Wijsman SI, Ginsborg J, et al. Health Education Literacy and Accessibility for Musicians: A Global Approach. Report from the Worldwide Universities Network Project. Med Probl Perform Art. 2019;34(2):105-107. https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2019.2011.

Thacker L. Perspectives on Incorporating Health Promotion into Post-Secondary Violin Studio Lessons: A Multi-Phase Qualitative Study: Faculty of Music University of Toronto: dissertation. Toronto: University of Toronto; 2018. 205 р.

Hale G. Playing with Pain: Injury Prevention Strategies for Music Schools in the United States: dissertation. Washington: Washington American University; 2019. 125 p.

Matei R, Broad S, Goldbart J, Ginsborg J. Health education for musicians. Front Psychol. 2018;9:1137-1146. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01137.

Schemmann H, Rensing N, Zalpour C. Musculoskeletal Assessments Used in Quantitatively Based Studies About Posture and Movement in High String Players: A Systematic Review. Med Probl Perform Art. 2018;33(1):56-71. https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2018.1009.

Wolf E, Möller D, Ballenberger N, Morisse K, Zalpour C. Marker-Based Method for Analyzing the Three-Dimensional Upper Body Kinematics of Violinists and Violists: Development and Clinical Feasibility. Med Probl Perform Art. 2019;34(4):179-190. https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2019.4029.

Johnson D, Damian D, Tzanetakis G. Detecting Hand Posture in Piano Playing Using Depth Data. Computer Music Journal. 2020;43(1):59-78. https://doi.org/10.1162/comj_a_00500.

Saremi S, Mirjalili S. Hand Recovery for Geometry-Based Models Using EPD-Based Particle Swarm Optimisation. In: Optimisation Algorithms for Hand Posture Estimation. Algorithms for Intelligent Systems. Singapore: Springer; 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-9757-8_6.

Verwulgen S, Scataglini S, Peeters T, Van Campenhout E, Verheyen S, Truijen S. Motion Capturing for the Evaluation of Ergonomically Designed Guitars. In: Ahram T, Taiar R, Colson S, Choplin A, eds. Human Interaction and Emerging Technologies. IHIET 2019. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 1018. Cham: Springer; 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-25629-6_21.

González-Sánchez VE, Dahl S, Hatfield JL, Godøy RI. Characterizing movement fluency in musical performance: Toward a generic measure for technology enhanced learning. Front Psychol. 2019;10:1-20. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00084.

Drozdov I, Kidd M, Modlin IM. Evolution of one-handed piano compositions. J Hand Surg Am. 2008;33(5):780-786. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhsa.2008.01.002.




How to Cite

Berezutsky, V., & Berezutska, M. (2021). Overuse injuries in musicians as an interdisciplinary problem: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Part II. PAIN, JOINTS, SPINE, 10(3), 127–135. https://doi.org/10.22141/2224-1507.10.3.2020.212034