Introduction: Instrumental musicians impose intense and repetitive strains on the musculoskeletal system. This makes them particularly susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders, especially at the spine and the scapular girdle, including scapular dyskinesis. The present study evaluated the presence of incorrect posture and scapular dyskinesis in young musicians playing bowed string instruments.
Methods: We recruited 32 young adult students of the Music Academy “Conservatorio C. Pollini” of Padua, including 14 violinists, 3 violists, 10 cellists and 5 double bass players. Scapular dyskinesis was assessed with a specific test, which involves the repetition of shoulder abduction and flexion movements with dumbbells weighting 1 and 2 kg. The spine was assessed using a headband with compass mechanism (IncliMed®) and a gibbometer.
Results: Scapular dyskinesis was identified in 46.9% (N=15), hyperkyphosis in 34.8% (N=11), and a hump in 37.5% (N=12) of the subjects. The association between hump and weekly hours of practice was statistically significant (p<0.05), as well as the association between the presence of a hump and hyperkyphosis (p=0.05).
Conclusions: Bowed strings instrumental musicians exhibit changes in static and dynamic posture of the shoulder girdle and spine. Such alterations could lead to the onset of postural asymmetries (hyperkyphosis), the onset and/or worsening of underlying and unrecognized conditions such as scoliosis, and the impairment of normal biomechanics resulting in the appearance of scapular dyskinesis.
Level of evidence: III.