The influence of neck-shoulder pain on trapezius muscle activity among professional violin and viola players: an electromyographic study

Berque, P. and Gray, H. (2002) The influence of neck-shoulder pain on trapezius muscle activity among professional violin and viola players: an electromyographic study. Medical Problems of Performing Arts, 17(2), pp. 68-75.

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL: http://www.sciandmed.com/mppa/journalviewer.aspx?issue=-1&year=2002

Abstract

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the neck- shoulder area are common among violin and viola players. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) on muscle activity, by measuring electromyographic activity in the upper trapezius (UT) muscles of violin and viola players under three experimental conditions: rest, performance of an easy piece, and performance of a difficult piece. Ten professional violin and viola players from a Scottish orchestra volunteered to take part in the study. Five subjects complained of pain in the neck-shoulder region; five were pain-free. Bilateral surface electromyography (EMG) was used, following submaximal reference voluntary contractions, to record the muscle activity of the UT muscles during the three experimental conditions. Subjects were randomly allocated to the conditions. A four-factor balanced analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed. The results revealed that the pain-free subjects developed more UT muscle activity than subjects experiencing neck-shoulder pain (F = 4.07, df = 1, p = 0.05). Furthermore, the subjects developed significantly more UT activity when progressing from the rest condition to performance of the difficult piece (F = 36.64, df = 2, p < 0.001). The PRMD subjects developed more UT activity than the pain-free subjects at rest. The opposite tendency was observed for the playing conditions. However, the results were not statistically significant for this interaction (F = 1.85, df = 2, p = 0.169). The results suggest that redistribution of the load to other synergistic muscles may be a strategy used by PRMD subjects to alleviate pain or discomfort at the neck-shoulder area. The voluntary monitoring of shoulder muscle activity may be of great importance in the prevention of PRMDs in viola and violin players.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gray, Dr Heather
Authors: Berque, P., and Gray, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Medical Problems of Performing Arts
ISSN:0885-1158

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record