Ask Deb: How Can I Better Help a Dancer Diagnosed With a Spinal Stress Fracture?
February 20, 2019

Q: A student in my class has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in her spine. She’s dancing to her limits and is in physiotherapy, but I want to know if there’s anything I can do to help.

A: A general rule for stress fractures is to rest until bone growth and repair have begun. Your student is likely very aware of the type of movement that bothers her, and should of course not do anything that causes pain. With a stress fracture in the lower spine, this might mean limiting cambrés or other backbends.

Work with her to develop deeper abdominal strength to support those movements once she’s improved. I’m sure she’s been given abdominal exercises in physical therapy, but you can help bring further awareness into her alignment. Remind her to always stand with her pelvis in neutral by keeping the front of it lifted—both in class and in daily life. This is how we should all always stand, but typically don’t.

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