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Thread: lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!




  1. #1
    Just Starting! Loula's Avatar
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    lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!

    Hi everyone,

    I am really enjoying belly dancing so much and would love to keep practicing. But I am not really sure wether it is good for my back anymore...
    Even though I do feel relief while I dance and my doctor has allowed me to do so, I am hoping to find somebody with a similar problem for advice or just sharing experiences.

    It's hard to tell wether my back pain is being relieved or increased by the dancing since I have it every day in varying degrees anyway, so the reasons might be completely different..

    Here's my problem: anatomically I have a spine abnormality called spina bifida occulta. Some of you might have heard of babies born with an "open back". In my case, thankfully, it was closed, without harm done to the spinal cord. For a long time I thought it was just a cosmetic problem since I had no pain -there is only a depression in my back like somebody stuck their finger in. Last year when it started hurting one doctor decided to get an x-ray (finally yay :/) and noticed that the spinous processes of three vertebrae were missing. This makes me quite curve-backed.But its probably not the cause of my pain (which is rather mild but constant especially when I sit for a long time).
    In addition to that, one vertebrae slides a bit toward the belly (spondylolysthesis grade one).
    On top of this I am hypermobile- i do not have any stiffness in the back and still am quite flexible (which differentiates me from most lower back patients I believe).

    I was told that i could (and should) engage in most physical activities to build up core muscles, except for movements that arch the back a lot or have heavy lateral impact (heavy jogging/running on hard ground). Due to the hypermobility I am not supposed to stretch too much as in yoga- i made the mistake of trying to become more flexible which probably caused this oddyssey.

    Does anybody suffer from a similar condition? I would love to know how belly dance affects your health. It would be truly highly appreciated!!
    Note that I do pay attention to posture, especially tucking the tail bone and I avoid backbends and floor work (bcs I also have knee problems- i feel so old now ;P).I also try to do pilates for core strength in addition.

    I'd really love to continue this dance, please tell me I can? ;P Thank you so much for reading , I am sure it was boring to most ;)

    Happy dancing,
    Loula


  2. #2
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!

    It sounds to me like what you are doing is right. You should check in with a physician regularly to see what effect the dancing is having on your body, and take it very very EASY and SLOWLY - work well on your basic movements and don't push yourself to do things that are really complicated just now. You don't have to do floor and backbends as you know. Work on your core awareness and it will strengthen. But since your body is a bit fragile, you need to keep a close watch on how it is impacted.
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  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!

    I have a history of back pain caused by ENTIRELY DIFFERENT issues from you. (In my case, scoliosis + car accident injury.) For that reason, I don't know how applicable my experience will be to your situation.

    I find that my back is stronger, healthier, and more supple when I belly dance regularly. If I take a month off from dancing (as I often do this time of year), my muscles start to stiffen up and I have more pain.

    I find that belly dancing strengthens even the deepest layers of my core muscles, whereas many gym exercises such as crunches may strengthen the surface layers but not the deeper ones.

    For me, belly dancing provides excellent relief from back pain. However, you probably will experience some muscle stiffness when you first start out due to using your muscles in ways they're not accustomed to being used.

    Since your doctor thinks core muscle strengthening would be beneficial, I think it could be a good idea to continue belly dancing. You sound as if you're reasonably self-aware, and it sounds like you listen to your body. So I think you'll be fine continuing with belly dancing. As with any new-to-you exercise form, you'll have some stiffness in your muscles at first until you build up the strength and control. So you might want ease into belly dancing, with shorter practice times at first.
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  4. #4
    Just Starting! Loula's Avatar
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    Re: lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!

    That's very uplifting to read! :)
    What causes my doubts is that some people need more flexibility in their backs and other seem to need more stability. Since I am hypermobile in the back (at least thats what the doctor said, Im not that super bendy and i cant fold my thumb back on my arm) i am wondering if a little "stiffness" may even be good. Then again , why would anyone want to decrease their natural range of motion.
    I too have learned that everybody's back pain is different and you are most likely right about starting slow, observing and getting medical feedback.
    So Im not gonna give up on this yet , it's much more fun than pilates (etc.) anyway! :D

    I really love this community and how everyone is so helpful! <3


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!

    If you have concerns related to specific dance issues, you can always request a consultation with your doctor or physical therapist to discuss them. I have knee/foot issues instead of back ones, but I've demonstrated various belly-dance moves in a clinical setting for the purpose of getting their feedback about whether something was safe or not. Most doctors and PTs don't have experience with belly dancing, but they want you to be healthy and living as close to your definition of a productive life as you can get, and they want to engage with you, especially when what you want to do is exercise. They see so many patients with limitations who don't bother to ask and do more damage to themselves, or who make themselves worse by being sedentary because they're afraid to try, that they're usually pretty thrilled when you want their input on how to be safely active.
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  6. #6
    Just Starting! Loula's Avatar
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    Re: lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!

    Thanks you two! I'll try to get another appointment with a doctor (too bad it always takes so long- and i still have to find a good one since I recently moved). i guess i will be doing some belly dancing in the clinic, haha ;)
    @Sarah. have you tried any of that? i don't know but i'm kind of distrustful :)


  7. #7
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: lower back problems without stiffness- help much appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by Loula View Post
    @Sarah. have you tried any of that? i don't know but i'm kind of distrustful :)
    Considering this person has two nearly identical posts directing readers to a site advertising products for sale, and there is no indication that this person has any direct connection to or interest in the dance, you have good reason to be suspicious. Bhuz seems to be experiencing another surge in new "members" who post a handful of vague messages about health and fitness in a short span of time, then disappear back into the woodwork. They're not so egregiously off topic that they are easily identified as spammers or trolls, but they also don't appear to belong here, either. I'm going to go ahead and bounce this one to Rosey.


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