Back and Knee issues

topic posted Wed, September 23, 2009 - 11:15 AM by  Laiquendi
I have a student with previous lower back and knee injuries that are still causing her problems. Her doctor gave her the OK to dance which I required she check on, though he did caution to be careful. This is a new situation for me. Even though I have personally dealt with a back injury, it rarely flares up. This specific student has issues that won't go away anytime soon.

Her posture will never be on par due to her back. It has a permanent sway in it and she won't be able to do some movements at all. Of course, back bends and turkish drops are right out at this point. *laughs*

I am thinking to ensure that she warms up and stretches well, encourage her to do it at home. Then, watch her for any signs of pain as well as tell her to let me know if she can't do something. Listening to your own body is key, but we all know some people just don't tell you they're hurting. (I'm guilty!)

Yes, this did get posted in a teachers group, but I wanted to crowdsource a little bit more. I'm sure some of you might have personal experience with this. So, I'd like to see more suggestions.

posted by:
  • Re: Back and Knee issues

    Wed, September 23, 2009 - 2:41 PM
    I have lower back issues as well (I tore a lumbar muscle doing martial arts in high school) and it still occasionally gives me issues. The best thhing I've found for helping with that is to strengthen those muscles so that I'm a little more stable. Doing "reverse crunches" helps me out a lot (Basically, lay flat on your belly with your hands behind your head like you would doing regular sit-ups, and contract your back muscles to lift your chest off the floor) as well as regular crunches.

    Basically in my experience, making sure that core muscles are strong and sturdy has really improved my back issues, so that my muscles are doing more work than my skeleton is.
    • Re: Back and Knee issues

      Wed, October 7, 2009 - 8:02 PM
      I have to agree with Amy re strength and conditioning.

      I think anyone who wants to get really serious about dance and has back issues should be doing pilates training with a pilates techer to at least get the basics right ...then KEEP UP the exercises. For corrective stretches and movements physios and feldenkrais practitioners are good, with the student actually showing them the moves that may be sus so the experts can modify.

      As for knees, slippers on wooden floor are good to spin with, so your feet don't get left behind and the knees don't cop the twist. Be careful of spinning on carpet. Also conditioning here - strrong quads will stabilise the patellas and front of the knee joint eg. slow squats on tip toe etc. For cruciate ligament or menisceal injuries, gently gently does it, and be especially careful to avoid legs twisting round their axis- spins, foot pivots and even deep horizontal figure 8's and circles activate these areas. Strengthening the ankles to increase their stability takes some of the load off the knees. Doing body isolations whilst standing on one leg is good for this, but beware the student leaning into the standing foot - that will load the lateral (outside edge ) of the supporting foot. The Centre of gravity should remain centred.

      We have such a motley crew of injuries that we have simply modified some tribal movements and often loosely choreograph certain parts so for examples, those with dicky knees stand while the rest do knee walks. I have a lovely recurring mental image of us all dancing in 20 years with most of us in zimmer frames,( but hopefully with intact vertebral discs)

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