The X-ray factor revolutionising the way dancers deal with back pain

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“It is a common belief that our backs are fragile, and that back pain is caused by damage to the spine or a slipped disc.”

“So back injuries make up about a third of all injuries to dancers, and historically have been a major reason for early retirement.

Yet, through a focus on the mental rather than physical causes of back pain – and strong discouragement of dancers looking at their X-rays – the Australian Ballet has not had a single back-injury-related retirement in 15 years.

"And we have never operated on a back, which I think is really important," says Dr Sue Mayes, the company’s director of artistic health and a world leader in injury rehab who installed the new regime.

“We try to help them overcome any fear about back pain. And we educate them on the fact that pain does not mean damage,” she says.


The X-ray factor revolutionising the way dancers deal with back pain

For Ty King-Wall, a principal dancer at the Australian Ballet, the hardest bit of dealing with a chronic back injury was accepting that a significant cause of the injury was in his brain.

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Posted to FB on 2019-05-15 15:12:23

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