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April 8, 1983

Hand Difficulties Among Musiciansn

Author Affiliations

From the Neurology Service (Dr Hochberg and Ms Merriman) and the Surgical Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Unit, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine (Dr Leffert), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Dr Heller is in private practice in Lynnfield, Mass.

JAMA. 1983;249(14):1869-1872. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330380057027

We describe our experience with 100 musicians in whom occupationrelated difficulties developed. The majority, pianists, experienced hand difficulties in midcareer (average age, 31 years). These were described as "pain, tightening, or weakness" of the right hand or arm or drooping of the fourth or fifth fingers. These difficulties led to loss of control (34%) or diminished facility (18%), endurance (18%), or speed (18%) while playing trills, arpeggios, or octaves requiring fast, forte finger movements. Most commonly found were inflammatory disorders of tendon or joint (45%) or disorders of motor control (24%). Less likely were entrapment of peripheral nerves and noninflammatory tendon or joint disorders.

(JAMA 1983;249:1869-1872)

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