The Relationship Between Temporomandibular Disorder and Upper Body Tension in Musicians

Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date


Degree Title

Master of Music, Pedagogy



Major Advisor

Del Parkinson


The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a relationship between TMD disorder and other upper extremity disorders in musicians. The method of research was qualitative, and the strategy of inquiry ethnographic, using surveys of musicians, teachers and interviews of medical professionals to collect data. All medical professionals interviewed affirmed that the possibility of a relationship between TMD and other upper extremity disorders in musicians exists. The survey of musicians determined that musicians suffer from TMD at a rate of four times higher than the general population. Females are more likely to suffer from TMD than males. The survey of musicians also determined that incidence of TMD increased as the surveyed population aged. Medical professionals suggested numerous TMD treatment modalities and the researcher prioritized them according to her experiences with the modalities. The study also lists suggestions for decreasing upper body tension while playing a musical instrument from the researcher's piano teacher, various readings, and other musicians and teachers.