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Dancers Often Suffer Hidden Pain, PT Student Says

Lecture Talks of Pelvic Discomfort

Dancers and athletes are at risk for pelvic pain and incontinence. Physical therapists can help. Photo by Wan Blackheart

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Dancers and young athletes are at risk for pelvic pain and stress incontinence ߝ not easy problems to discuss.

To increase knowledge and understanding of potential problems, doctoral candidate Erika Johnson of the Physical Therapy Department gave a free lecture to students and faculty of the dance and exercise science departments at UMass Amherst. The lecture, followed by discussion, was part of a service learning project for the UMass Lowell School of Health and Environment.

“As a society, we speak freely about injuries such as low back pain, but we do not talk about pelvic pain or incontinence,” says Johnson. “I wanted to inform students and faculty about how common these conditions are, what are the risk factors involved and where to get help.”

Physical therapists specializing in pelvic floor dysfunction are licensed health care professionals who can evaluate and treat men and women of all ages, creating individualized treatment plans. Therapy can help restore normal activity levels with little or no pain remaining.

As an alum of the two departments on the Amherst campus, Johnson was pleased to present information based on her clinical experience and research. She hopes to extend the presentation to the Five Campus dance program next year.

Erika Johnson, doctoral candidate in physical therapy