Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Lumbar Lordosis in Female Collegiate Dancers and Gymnasts

Jatin P. Ambegaonkar, Amanda M. Caswell, Kristen L. Kenworthy, Nelson Cortes, Shane V. Caswell
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 29 Number 4: Page 189 (December 2014)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Postural deviations can predispose an individual to increased injury risk. Specifically, lumbar deviations are related to increased low back pain and injury. Dancers and gymnasts are anecdotally suggested to have exaggerated lumbar lordosis and subsequently may be at increased risk of lumbar pathologies. Our objective was to examine lumbar lordosis levels in dancers and gymnasts. METHODS: We examined lumbar lordosis in 47 healthy collegiate females (17 dancers, 29 gymnasts; mean age 20.2 ± 1.6 yrs) using 2-dimensional sagittal plane photographs and the Watson MacDonncha Posture Analysis instrument. Participants' lordosis levels were cross-tabulated and a Mann-Whitney U-test compared lumbar lordosis between groups (p<0.05). RESULTS: Most participants (89.4%, n=42) exhibited either marked (dancers 50%, n=9; gymnasts 62.1%, n=18; combined 57.4%, n=27) or moderate (dancers 27.8%, n=5; gymnasts 34.5%, n=10; combined 31.9%, n=15) lumbar lordosis deviations. The distribution of lordosis was similar across groups (p=0.22). CONCLUSIONS: Most dancers and gymnasts had moderate or marked lumbar lordosis. The extreme ranges of motion required during dancing and gymnastics may contribute to the participants' high lumbar lordosis. Instructors should be aware that there may be links between repetitive hyperextension activities and lumbar lordosis levels in dancers and gymnasts. Thus, they should proactively examine lumbar lordosis in their dancers and gymnasts. How much age of training onset, regimens, survivor bias, or other factors influence lumbar lordosis requires study. Longitudinal studies are also needed to determine if lumbar lordosis levels influence lumbar injury incidence in dancers and gymnasts.
https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2014.4039

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