• Seema De Jorge-Chopra

Survey of Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Indian Dancers in Mumbai & Mangalore

Shruti Prabhakaran Nair, MPTh, Shruti Kotian, BPTh, Claire Hiller, PhD, MAppSc, BAppSc, and Rajani Mullerpatan, PhD, MScPT

Nritta (dance) pose: the right knee bears the entire weight in flexed position with right hip in flexion and external rotation


Classical Indian dance has earned recognition across the globe; however, the health of dancers who are carrying forth this heritage has not received due attention. Therefore, this study aimed to explore musculoskeletal pain and injury prevailing among Indian dancers in Mumbai and Mangalore. A secondary aim was to compare pain tolerance levels between dancers and non-dancers. Fifty-one dancers trained in different traditional Indian and Western dance forms and 164 recreational dancers were recruited as participants. An indigenous questionnaire was designed and validated by physical therapists across various levels of experience and dancers across various training levels. The questionnaire recorded dance, pain, and injury profiles. Additionally, pain tolerance was evaluated using the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire among dancers and healthy age- and gender-matched controls (N = 200). Descriptive statistical analysis was performed to present results of the site of current pain, site of past injury, perceived causes of injury, and exercise routine. The Student’s t-test was used to compare Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire scores between dancers and non-dancers, and independent one-way ANOVA was used to compare scores among dancers practicing different dance forms. For both current pain and past injury, dancers reported the back (42.5%) followed by the knee (28.3%) and ankle (18.6%) as the most common sites. Stress was the most commonly perceived cause of injury (34.4%), followed by over work (24.7%), tiredness (17.2%), and falls (13.5%). Warm-up exercises were always performed by 43.30% of dancers, whereas only 20% performed stretching after dance. Almost 60% of dancers participated in forms of exercise other than dance, e.g., swimming, yoga, and aerobics. Pain sensitivity was not significantly different between dancers and non-dancers (p = 0.159). Level of training and gender did not influence pain.

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Dr Shruti Kotian Poojary She is a bharatnatyam dancer, choreographer and a physiotherapist.

She has completed her nritya visharad and Masters in bharatatyam under Guru Dr. Sandhya Purecha. She is a bachelor in Physiotherapy and is currently pursuing Masters degree in Physiotherapy Sports rehabilitation.

She has been awarded the national scholarship from government of India in the field of Bharatnatyam in India and has been conferred the title of "Allaru Mallige" which means blooming flower from karnataka state government.

‌She recently presented a poster presentation of her research study titled 'Survey of musculoskeletal disorders in Indian dancers' at the IADMS conference (October 2016) at the Hong Kong academy of performing arts and is currently studying the lumbar spine of bharatnatyam dancers.

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ABSTRACT: Bharatanatyam dance involves complex symmetric and asymmetric poses per- formed in a maximal arc of motion which may result in kinematic changes reflected in a common weight-bearing activity