Multi-segment spine kinematics: Relationship with dance training and low back pain

Christopher T.V. Swain, Douglas G. Whyte, Christina L. Ekegren, Paul Taylor, Kate McMaster, Connor Lee Dow, Elizabeth J. Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Spine posture, range of motion (ROM) and movement asymmetry can contribute to low back pain (LBP). These variables may have greater impact in populations required to perform repetitive spine movements, such as dancers; however, there is limited evidence to support this. Research question: What is the influence of dance and LBP on spinal kinematics? Methods: In this cross-sectional study, multi-segment spinal kinematics were examined in 60 female participants, including dancers (n = 21) and non-dancers (n = 39) with LBP (n = 33) and without LBP (n = 27). A nine-camera motion analysis system sampling at 100 Hz was used to assess standing posture, as well as ROM and movement asymmetry for side bend and trunk rotation tasks. A two-way ANOVA was performed for each of the outcome variables to detect any differences between dancers and non-dancers, or individuals with and without LBP. Results: Compared to non-dancers, dancers displayed a flatter upper lumbar angle when standing (p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.15), and achieved greater frontal plane ROM for the upper lumbar (p = 0.04, ηp2 = 0.08) and lower thoracic (p = 0.02, ηp2 = 0.09) segments. There were no differences between dancers and non-dancers for transverse plane ROM (p > 0.05) or movement asymmetry (p > 0.05). There was no main effect for LBP symptoms on any kinematic measures, and no interaction effect for dance group and LBP on spinal kinematics (p > 0.05). Significance: Female dancers displayed a flatter spine posture and increased spine ROM compared to non-dancers for a select number of spine segments and movement tasks. However, the overall number of differences was small, and no relationship was observed between LBP and spinal kinematics. This suggests that these simple, static posture, ROM, and asymmetry measures often used in clinical practice can provide only limited generalisable information about the impact of dance or LBP on spinal kinematics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-279
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Ballet
  • Biomechanics
  • Contemporary dance
  • Movement asymmetry
  • Posture
  • Range of motion

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