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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    Default A posture question for instructors

    Hey guys, i'm not sure if this better belongs in the fitness section, but i thought it might be ok to ask here as well.

    One of my students has a condition in her lower back - i'm really not recalling the name at the moment, but basically it's where you have a spinal curvature - scoliosis i think. when we discuss posture in class and keeping a straight back; avoiding "duck butt" she says that she can't do that because of her condition.

    She still tries to adjust herself so that she's doing what i ask but i don't want her to hurt herself. I told her to check with her doctor to make sure, but does anyone here happen to know if it's possible for her to harm herself doing this?

    I'm just asking because it seems like some of you have studied things related to this. Any help will be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ranya's Avatar
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    Hi, one of my best friends who is an active semi-professional dancer (still studies) started belly dance in the first place because she needed some exercice for her scoliosis. And it did not hurt her at all and I guess she even might have improved her posture. However it has to be remembered that scoliolis can take different shapes and the spine can be thus "turned" in various ways and not always the same. And then there is lordosis and kifosis (spelling?) one of them being where the back is abnormally bend forwards and the other backwards but can't remember which one is which.
    She definitely SHOULD consult it, but I know quite a few girls who took up dance because of scoliosis. Would be careful though.

    GOOD LUCK!

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    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    thanks ranya, hers is quite mild fortunately but i don't like to take chances with people's bodies and their health - that's why i asked her to check with her doctor just to be safe. I appreciate the information though.

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    scoliosis is where the spine curves in a slight 's' shape to the left and right as you look at her from the back. This is usually a congenital condition (born with it), and it won't change despite exercise because it's about the shape of her vertebrae which are boney.
    The 'duck butt' is more about the forward/back 's' curve, where we all have a lordosis (curve in the lower back) and kyphosis (curve forward in the upper/thoracic area of the spine). In some people this is more exaggerated than others. This is partly the shape of the bones, but also about ligament and muscle pull. The amount this can change will depend on how much of the curve is boney (which can't change), and how much is muscle and ligament.
    As a person with lordosis, I'm finding that it's very hard to change because I've had this posture forever! But, it can if you really persist.
    You won't harm yourself changing posture - but it will hurt. Any stretch on a muscle or ligamentous area will be painful at least for a short time because it's a change in position that sends nerve information up to the brain which interprets it as 'danger'. BUT it's not harmful...
    To make it bearable, long, slow stretches to the point of 'pull' not 'pain' are helpful, with strengthening of the opposing muscle group.
    For lordosis (duck butt) you need to lengthen the tendons/ligaments and muscles in the quads (front of the thigh) attaching to the pelvis, and strengthen the hamstrings. At the same time you need to tilt the pelvis up using the very lower abdominal muscles, and lengthening the lower spine (so the gluteal muscles are not engaged). It won't work if you don't have relaxed knees...

    So, short answer is no she won't harm herself, but she will find it uncomfortable especially after class and especially if she doesn't do daily stretches and strengthening of the selected muscle groups. And while she is developing those length and strength changes she will also notice that it can be a bit uncomfortable at times while the changes are happening. BUT practicing it (and I mean twice a day every day for months...) will help a bit.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    thanks adiemus! it must have been you i was thinking of when i started the thread initially! i remembered someone always had some sort of expertise and good info about these things!
    i feel a bit better as well knowing that i do exercises to strengthen the quad and hamstrings with my students in every class because they like their dance classes to be a little fitness oriented as well. Also i know we do a certain exercise that is supposed to lengthen the spine, so at least i know we're doing something right in this case!
    She says she practises these exercises at home so perhaps she will see some change eventually.

    you folks here are the best!

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    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Hello Mya, Adiemus is right...swayback..duck butt is known in medical circles as lordosis. Unless your student has been evaluated by a physician(prefeably a physiatrist,chiropractor or even a Physical therapist), it's better that you don't diagnose herself and prescribe 'treatment options'. But I do agree with Adiemus
    "To make it bearable, long, slow stretches to the point of 'pull' not 'pain' are helpful, with strengthening of the opposing muscle group.
    For lordosis (duck butt) you need to lengthen the tendons/ligaments and muscles in the quads (front of the thigh) attaching to the pelvis, and strengthen the hamstrings. At the same time you need to tilt the pelvis up using the very lower abdominal muscles, and lengthening the lower spine (so the gluteal muscles are not engaged). It won't work if you don't have relaxed knees..."
    In truth there are no 'lower abs' per se as the rectus abdominus muscle runs the entire length of the torso (head to toe),however pulling in the lower section of this muscle will counteract the 'pull' and protect the lower back during movement. It's more important that your student is safe.
    Yasmine

  7. #7
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    It is my understanding the reason to bring in your tailbone is to protect your back. I personally would think that she could do damage to her lower back because she is not protecting it. Definately have her check with her doctor before she dances with you again. Good luck to you

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    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    I think I've mentioned before, you won't 'damage' your back doing ME dancing, but you can stretch ligaments and strain muscles which can be painful if you're doing movements you're (a) not used to and (b) doing more often or in the outer range of movement than you're used to. It's pretty hard to do permanent damage to the spine, but the whole area including vertebrae and ligaments and allied tissues are liberally supplied with loads of nerve endings that transmit information and from your brain which interprets this as 'ouch that hurts'. So it can take a while for pain to reduce, but just because something hurts doesn't mean it's harmed or damaged! (think of a numb bum after sitting for too long!!)

    re abdominal muscles: to be completely accurate, you're using psoas major and minor, iliocus, and quadratus lumborum to tilt your pelvis up. These muscles attach from the lower vertebrae T12, L1,2,3,4,5 and S1,2 to both the iliac crest, the inside of the pelvis and right down to the inner part of your femur. Plus you'll use lower fibres of rectus abdominus, and transverse abdominus for stabilisation, as well as loads of the muscles around the back...
    I'll attach some pix for you to look at....Attachment 1122
    This is psoas and QL... You'll find iliocus runs inside the rim of the iliac crest (your hip bone)

    Attachment 1123
    These are the outer layer of rectus abdominus, running from just under your diaphragm to just above your pubis
    Attachment 1124
    Another layer goes over that (transverse)
    Attachment 1125
    And finally the oblique
    Sorry the text is in chinese - but I've included my transation!! You can find most of these pix on the net, but you can also search for 'abdominal muscles' and find loads of sites mainly for body builders...sigh...
    What you're trying to do to change lordosis is stretch the psoas and QL which are often tight, while also stretching your quads which are made up of vastus medius and lateralis, abductor magus and longus, and sartorius (which is a long, straplike muscle running from your hip across your leg towards your inner thigh). It's often these that are shortened, while at the same time the muscles in the back including erector spinae, glut medius, some of lat dorsi, and sacrospinalus that are shortened and tight in people with lordosis.
    Sorry about all the technical stuff, but after a while latin just rolls off the tongue (or is it the years of studying have finally paid off????!!)
    Last edited by adiemus; 01-23-2008 at 08:21 AM.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    I couldn't resist, here is a picture of a person with lordosis - the remedy at the time of this drawing (1952) was to lace the person up with a tight corset to 'align' the spine - but what it in fact did, was reduce the ability of the muscles to function, leaving them a bit like flabby jelly once the corset was removed. If you've ever had your arm or leg in a plaster cast, you'll know what it's like when the cast is removed - all skinny and no muscle!!Attachment 1126

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    thanks for all the info =)
    i like to understand things better!

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