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An Exploration of Pre-Professional Dancers' Beliefs of the Low Back and Dance-Specific Low Back Movements

Danica Hendry, Leon Straker, Amity Campbell, Luke Hopper, Rhianna Tunks, Peter O'Sullivan
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 34 Number 3: Page 147 (September 2019)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Low back pain (LBP) is common in dancers. A biopsychosocial model should be considered in the aetiology of LBP, including a dancer's general beliefs of the low back and movements of the spine. This study aimed to determine pre-professional dancers' beliefs about their lower back in general and dance-specific movements of the spine and to explore whether these beliefs were influenced by a history of disabling LBP. METHODS: 52 pre-professional female dancers (mean age 18.3 [1.4] yrs) were recruited and reported whether they had a history of disabling LBP and completed the Back Pain Attitudes Questionnaire (Back-PAQ) and a dance movement beliefs questionnaire. A linear mixed model was applied to determine the effect of a history of disabling LBP on dancers' beliefs (p<0.05). RESULTS: 20 dancers reported a history of disabling LBP. Regardless of this LBP history, dancers held generally negative beliefs as measured by the Back-PAQ (p=0.130). A history of disabling LBP did not influence dancers' perceived movement safety of all tasks (p=0.867), and dancers held negative beliefs towards extension activities. These beliefs were linked to the conceptions of perceived risk of damage and the need to protect the lower back. CONCLUSIONS: Dancers hold negative general beliefs around the low back and low back movements, regardless of a history of disabling LBP. Dancers perceive extension activities as more dangerous than flexion activities. These beliefs may reflect a combination of pain experience and beliefs specific to dance.

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