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The prevalence and impact of low back pain in pre-professional and professional dancers: a prospective study

journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2018, 00:00 authored by Christopher T V Swain, Liz BradshawLiz Bradshaw, Douglas G Whyte, Christina L Ekegren
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in pre-professional and professional dancers and its impact on dance participation, care-seeking and medication use. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: One pre-professional ballet school, two pre-professional university dance programs, and a professional ballet company. PARTICIPANTS: Male and female classical ballet and contemporary dancers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: An initial questionnaire collected demographic and LBP history data. The monthly prevalence of LBP (all episodes, activity limiting episodes and chronic LBP) and impact (activity limitation, care-seeking, and medication use) was collected over a nine-month period. RESULTS: 119 dancers participated, which represented 54% of those invited. Activity limiting LBP was reported by 52% of dancers, while chronic LBP was reported by 24%. Seventeen percent of all episodes of LBP resulted in some form of dance activity being completely missed. One-third of the sample reported care-seeking and one-fifth of the sample used medication. A history of LBP was associated with activity limiting LBP (p < 0.01; adjusted odds ratio: 3.98; 95% confidence interval: 1.44, 11.00). CONCLUSIONS: LBP in dancers was common and had multiple impacts. This study reinforces the need for dancer access to healthcare professionals with expertise in evidence-based LBP prevention and management.



Physical therapy in sport




8 - 13




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Elsevier