Dance is a complex physical commitment that requires holistic treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Physicians from Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospitals Department of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery specialize in caring for pediatric, adolescent and young adult dancers and performing artists. We apply a comprehensive evaluation from nutrition, bone health, and sports psychology in addition to management of acute injuries. Our Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital experts, specialize in the assessment and treatment of performance-related injuries. With experience caring for company dancers from the Boston Ballet and Boston Conservatory, we cater to the unique discipline of dance biomechanics, flexibility, strength deficits, injury prevention and pointe readiness. Young dancers can expect full evaluation, diagnostics and treatment of all injuries at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospitals Performing Arts and Dance Medicine program.
Though not as common, dancers can suffer from concussions. Concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury happens when a forceful blow to the head or body cases the brain to bounce against the skull. Symptoms include headaches, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, balance issues, dizziness memory problems. Not all dancers will experience symptoms right away. If you suspect you may have a concussion, stop physical activities immediately and consult your healthcare provider. Most people with a concussion recover within 7-10 days with the proper care.
Spondylolysis is a stress fracture of vertebra that may progress into spondylolisthesis, a condition of displacement of vertebrae from the spinal column. Spondylolysis is the cause for frequent low back pain in children. It is more common among children and teenagers who participate actively in sports such as football, weightlifting and dance.
Spondylolysis occurs as a result of a defect or stress fracture in the pars interarticularis, the part of the lumbar spine joining the upper and lower joints. Genetic factors may have a role. Children born with thin vertebra are prone to vertebral stress fractures. Also, repetitive trauma to the lower back area that occurs during sports and other activities can cause weakness of the pars interarticularis, resulting in spondylolysis.
Although initially the patient may not have any symptoms, lower back pain is apparent during the teenage growth spurt period. The pain worsens with vigorous physical activities and exercises. At times, the pain may feel similar to a muscle strain.
Risk factors for developing spondylolysis include:
Untreated spondylolysis may lead to further complications including:
Your surgeon diagnoses spondylolysis by asking several questions and performing several tests that includes:
Primary treatment for spondylolysis is always conservative. The goal of the conservative treatment is to reduce the pain, allow the fracture to heal and improve the function.
Conservative treatment options include:
Surgery is usually required if spondylolysis progressed into spondylolisthesis. The goal of the surgery is to remove any abnormal bone compressing a nerve and to stabilize the spine.
Decompressive Laminectomy & Spinal Fusion: In this procedure a portion of the bone or lamina imparting pressure on the nerves is removed. A surgical incision is made in the back, then part of the bone and thickened tissue pressing on the spinal nerves is removed. This allows more space for the nerves thus relieving pain and pressure. This procedure makes the spine unstable and therefore spinal fusion will be performed to stabilize the spine.
Spinal fusion is the procedure of joining two adjacent vertebrae. During the procedure a piece of bone, taken from elsewhere in the body or donated from a bone bank, is transplanted between the adjacent vertebrae. As healing occurs, the transplanted bone fuses with the spine. This stimulates growth of a solid mass of bone which helps to stabilize the spine. In some cases, metal implants such as rods, hooks, wires, plates or screws are used to hold the vertebra firm until the new bone grows between them.
Although spondylolysis is not completely preventable, certain factors can reduce the risk of developing the condition:
March 31, 2016
Emma, 16, wants to reach the highest level of figure skating, and she dreams of coaching the sport in the future. The hours on the ice, however, come with sacrifice. She developed back problems, specifically intense tailbone pain.
“She could not stand the constant pain, which would worsen on the rink,” says Nicole, Emma’s mother.
Emma was referred to U18, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s sports medicine program.
"We have therapists who are specifically trained to treat those who participate in dance and the performing arts," said Matthew Fazekas, MD, pediatric sports medicine specialist at U18.
The experts at U18 discovered that Emma had developed an injury caused by the high-impact movements that she repeated on the ice, including jumps and landings. Emma received the full spectrum of care from U18, including exercises to strengthen her lower back and advanced therapy methods.
"I am very happy with the help and support I received at U18,” Emma said. “Today I feel better, stronger than ever."