Interest in playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) has been stimulated in the last thirty years. Physiotherapists are beginning to see increasing cases of PRMDs. PRMD prevalence in musicians has been reviewed in current research but there is a lack of evidence pertaining to PRMD prevalence in the use of a certain single instrument. Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of PRMDs to the upper limb in third-level student guitar players, and the most affected upper limb location. Secondary aims were to assess the relationship between the occurrence of PRMDs and gender, age, length of time learning guitar, and weekly practise time. Methods: A questionnaire of original design was created using Survey Monkey. 244 students from the University of Limerick were recruited by e-mail to complete it. Results: PRMD prevalence in third-level student guitar players was found to be 40.98%. Females (49.12%) were more affected than males (38.50%). However, this was statistically insignificant (p = 0.17). The most affected location was the finger. No significant relationship was found between years learning the guitar and PRMD development. Conclusion: The PRMD prevalence in this sample was within the previously reported range. No previous risk factors were shown to be of statistical significance. Further research should continue looking at PRMDs in other instruments in isolation.
Department of Physiotherapy, University of Limerick