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13th January 2013

Motor control impairments are identified in dancers with a history of low back pain. Dancers who fail tests of motor control are associated with an increased risk of developing lower extremities or lumbar spine injuries in dancers (see abstracts). Movement control assessment and retraining is not only necessary to manage symptoms but also to decrease the risk of onset of symptoms. We are working on a Movement and Performance Screen specifically for dancers - The Dance Matrix - available later this year see

Motor Control and Low Back Pain in Dancers.

Roussel N, De Kooning M, Schutt A, Mottram S, Truijen S, Nijs J, Daenen L.

Int J Sports Med. 2012


Professional dancers suffer a high incidence of injuries, especially to the spine and lower extremities. There is a lack of experimental research addressing low back pain (LBP) in dancers. The aim of this study is to compare lumbopelvic motor control, muscle extensibility and sacroiliac joint pain between dancers with and without a history of LBP. 40 pre-professional dancers (mean age of 20.3 years) underwent a clinical test battery, consisting of an evaluation of lumbopelvic motor control, muscle extensibility, generalized joint hypermobility, and sacroiliac joint pain provocation tests. Also self-reported measurements and standardized questionnaires were used. 41% of the dancers suffered from LBP during at least 2 consecutive days in the previous year. Only one dancer suffered from sacroiliac joint pain. Compared to dancers without a history of LBP, dancers with a history of LBP showed poorer lumbopelvic motor control (p<0.05). No differences in muscle extensibility or joint hypermobility were observed between dancers (p>0.05). Despite their young age, pre-professional dancers suffer from LBP frequently. Sacroiliac joint pain, generalized joint hypermobility or muscle extensibility appears unrelated to LBP in dancers. Motor control is decreased in those with a history of LBP. Further research should examine whether motor control is etiologically involved in LBP in dancers.

Altered lumbopelvic movement control but not generalized joint hypermobility is associated with increased injury in dancers. A prospective study.

Roussel NA, Nijs J, Mottram S, Van Moorsel A, Truijen S, Stassijns G.

Man Ther. 2009 Dec;14(6):630-5. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2008.12.004.


Dancers experience significant more low back pain (LBP) than non-dancers and are at increased risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries. Literature concerning the relationship between joint hypermobility and injury in dancers remains controversial. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine whether lumbopelvic movement control and/or generalized joint hypermobility would predict injuries in dancers. Four clinical tests examining the control of lumbopelvic movement during active hip movements were used in combination with joint hypermobility assessment in 32 dancers. Occurrence of musculoskeletal injuries, requiring time away from dancing, was recorded during a 6-month prospective study. Logistic regression analysis was used to predict the probability of developing lower limb and/or lumbar spine injuries. Twenty-six injuries were registered in 32 dancers. Forty-four percent of the dancers were hypermobile. A logistic regression model using two movement control tests, correctly allocated 78% of the dancers. The results suggest that the outcome of two lumbopelvic movement control tests is associated with an increased risk of developing lower extremities or lumbar spine injuries in dancers. Neither generalized joint hypermobility, evaluated with the Beighton score, nor a history of LBP was predictive of injuries. Further study of these interactions is required.


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