The Role of Sensorimotor Incongruence in Pain in Professional Dancers

in Motor Control
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  • 1 University of Antwerp
  • 2 Pain in Motion
  • 3 University Hospital Antwerp
  • 4 Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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This study evaluated whether dancers with pain experience more sensory changes during an experimentally induced sensorimotor incongruent task and explored the relationship between sensorimotor incongruence and self-reported measures (e.g., Short Form 36-questionnaire (SF-36), psychosocial variables and physical activity). Forty-four dancers were subjected to a bimanual coordination test simulating sensorimotor incongruence (i.e., performing congruent and incongruent arm movements while viewing a whiteboard or mirror) and completed standardized questionnaires. Significantly more dancers experienced sensory changes during the performance of incongruent movements while viewing a mirror (p < .01), but the intensity of the reported sensations was very low. No differences were observed between dancers with and without baseline pain, but significant negative associations were found between sensorimotor incongruence and subscores of the SF-36. Sensorimotor incongruence can provoke small sensory changes in dancers but appears unrelated to baseline pain symptoms. Sensorimotor incongruence appears to be related to quality of life.

Roussel, De Kooning, and Cras are with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium. Nijs is with Pain in Motion, International Research Group, Brussels, Belgium. Wouters is with the Dept. of Scientific Coordination and Biostatistics, University Hospital Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Daenen is with the Dept. of Human Physiology and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.

Address author correspondence to Nathalie Anne Roussel at