- The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine (ISSN:00408727)
- vol.243, no.1, pp.49-56, 2017 (Released:2017-09-21)
Playing musical instruments can bring joy to people, but can also cause a wide variety of health issues that range from mild disorders to potentially fatal conditions. Although sports medicine is an established medical subspecialty, relatively few studies have investigated the health issues associated with musical instruments. Here we present an overview of these health issues. These include infections due to microorganisms, allergic reactions, as well as mechanical injuries from sustained high pressures within the oral, mediastinal, thoracic, and abdominal cavities. For example, wind instruments can potentially harbor thousands of pathogenic organisms. If several players share the same instrument, these instruments present potential hazards in the spread of infections. A fatal case of hypersensitivity pneumonitis in a bagpiper is particularly noteworthy. Similarly, a case of gastrointestinal anthrax in an animal-hide drummer is a reminder of this rare but highly fatal disease. Although not fatal, hearing-related disorders, neuromuscular issues, musculoskeletal problems, and contact dermatitis are also very common among instrumentalists. This review aims to illuminate these under-recognized health issues by highlighting both the common conditions and the rare but fatal cases.