An investigation of thermal patterns in guitarists performing a musician-specific exercise program


  • Robert Farrugia Physiotherapist
  • Dr Owen Falzon
  • Josef Pace



musician, thermal, thermal imaging, infrared, thermography, guitarists, thermal patterns, musculoskeletal, physiotherapy, biomedical, cybernetics, biomedical cybernetics


Several musicians suffer from musculoskeletal problems during their career. These injuries are referred to as performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs). Through the use of exercise programs, PRMDs can be prevented. Exercise programs aim to strengthen musicians' upper limbs and supporting muscles, which can correct and improve postural control during performance and thereby prevent PRMDs.  In this study, a musician-specific exercise program was carried out by guitarists. Thermal imaging was used to observe and monitor the effect of the program. Thermal data was collected from 14 guitarists who played their instrument for at least 7 hours a week. Data was gathered from the trapezius, shoulder, upper arm, forearm, wrist, and digits for a period of 20 minutes whilst the guitarists were playing. The participants followed the exercise program throughout a period of 6 weeks, after which the process of thermal data collection was performed again. While existing studies that evaluate musicians through thermal imaging mostly observe thermal asymmetries, in this work we also looked at absolute and relative temperature changes over time, both before and after the exercise program. The results show that one of the main and most consistent effects of the musician-specific exercise program was the reduction of thermal asymmetries within the shoulder region. This is indicative that the musician-specific exercise might be beneficial to avoid or reduce the effect of PRMDs in guitarists.



Keywords: infrared thermography, musculoskeletal, instrumentalist, guitarists, thermal patterns, exercise program





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