Trunk Dynamics Are Impaired in Ballet Dancers with Back Pain but Improve with Imagery

Trunk control is not as essential in ballet and may be compromised in dancers with a history of low back pain (LBP) by associated changes in motor control. This study sought to compare trunk mechanical properties between professional ballet dancers with and without a history of LBP. As a secondary aim it was assessed whether asking dancers to use motor imagery to respond in a “fluid” manner could change the mechanical properties of the trunk, and whether this was possible for both groups. Dancers with a history of LBP had lower damping than dancers without LBP during the standard condition (P=0.002) but had greater damping during the “fluid” condition (P0.99). Stiffness was not different between dancers with and without a history of LBP (P=0.252) but was lower during the “fluid” condition compared to the standard condition (P<0.001).

While dancers with a history of LBP have less trunk damping than those without LBP, they have the capacity to modulate the trunk's mechanical properties to match that of pain-free dancers by increasing damping with motor imagery. These observations have potential relevance for LBP recurrence and rehabilitative treatment.

Neck Pain

Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.

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