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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.


School of Exercise Science

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access