Low Back Pain

Using Massage Therapy to Correct Posture in a Professional Dancer with Low Back Pain:

A Case Report


Background and Participant:  A professional dancer with low back pain seeks Massage Therapy for pain relief.  Posture was analyzed to find and address hypertonic muscles and trigger point (TrP) pain.  No previous studies have explored the effectiveness of this form of treatment on professional dancers.

Objectives:  The purpose of this case report is to determine if correcting posture using Massage Therapy is an effective form of treatment in decreasing low back pain in a professional ballet dancer.

Methods:  Nine treatments of Massage Therapy 1.5 – 2 hours in duration, 2 times per week for 5 weeks were given.  The focus was to assess postural alignment, balance the structure and alleviate pain and TrPs.  Treatments included a postural assessment at the beginning of each session, a daily Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and 3 additional tests pre- and post- study.  Structural support for posture was employed and exercises were given for At-Home-Therapy.

Results:  Subject’s pain decreased 60mm on the VAS.  Some postural distortions decreased in magnitude and some completely corrected by the end of the study.

Conclusion:  Massage Therapy offered one dancer with chronic low back pain relief and increased range of motion (ROM).  More research is warranted to further investigate short- and long- term effects of Massage Therapy on this population.  This report also highlights the importance of proper postural alignment in repetitive movements as seen in athletic activity and in postural habits including sitting and sleeping.

KEY WORDS:  Low Back Pain, Trigger Points, Scoliosis, Massage, Athletes,