Belly Dancing Can Help Beat Back Pain

By Vintagemode - October 28, 2019

Elizabeth Sharp has been treating musculoskeletal conditions and injuries for 40 years and has been working with performers and dancers for 20 years. Ozgen introduced her to Belly Dance with a workshop at her clinic. After observing the moves, she noticed the ability of Belly Dancing to work the deep muscles of the body’s core areas that carry the worst disadvantages of the body’s weight. She told attendees “Belly dancing is the Gold Standard in workouts, giving the muscles in the body’s protective corset the optimal level of strength and control”. 

Ozgen, an internationally acclaimed Turkish master of Oriental dance teamed up with Elizabeth Sharp, UK’s leading physiotherapist to organize a dance workshop in London where they demonstrated the virtues of belly dance as a great way of strengthening the upper body muscles, therefore preventing and beating back pain. According to Sharp, back pain is an endemic health problem in the West that is affecting at least 80% of adults.

During the briefing, Ozgen performed the key moves of belly dance, such as the shimmy (shaking parts of the body such as chest or hips, as if they are vibrating) and undulation (an up/down wavelike movement of the chest or entire torso), while Ms Sharp explained how these fine movements give the body a total workout, reaching and strengthening important deep muscles of the abdomen and spine.

During the dance, hip movements, circles, eights and shimmies put the joints and ligaments in the lower back and hip through a full range of smooth and repetitive movement. This movement helps to increase the flow of synovial fluid (natural lubricant) in these joints. When the movements are done correctly, the pelvis leans forward or a little hidden, a neutral position that can help prevent back problems. When it comes to balancing muscle chains, Belly Dance is perfect by definition, since all movements have their opposite. The movements themselves being cyclic, compress and stretch the same muscles and their antagonists sequentially.

It can also help relieve tension in the back, to counteract the almost constant pressure of the disks that are produced from being and a sedentary lifestyle. These toned muscles improve posture and help prevent back pain that can be caused by the unnatural forward curvature of the spine that occurs when muscle groups are weak (lordosis). It is also important to note that all hip, knee, and pivot movements of this form of dance use groups of muscles in the abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine and neck, which work with the body and not against its natural skeletal alignments.

Belly Dance has also worked for people with scoliosis. What we normally name as “back problems” are, most of the time, deviations. We can divide them in different kinds, but all of them are scoliosis (some being mild, some other being more severe). A sedentary lifestyle and bad posture can cause them, and since a mild scoliosis can be corrected through mobility and strengthening exercises, many traumatologists usually recommend practicing any symmetrical physical exercise, and Belly Dance is one of them, since there is no side of the back that is more dominant than another, since all muscles work equally.

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