DanCER-LBP: Feasibility of dance to improve physical activity in patients with low back pain

A study that aims to investigate standard exercise vs dance in low back pain outcomes.

You are invited to take part in a research study about the feasibility of dance as a physical activity modality to address non-specific low back pain (LBP). The study aims to investigate participation in physical activity and low back pain outcomes in those who opt for standard exercise modalities compared to those who opt to dance. This study will enable clinicians to provide recommendations for safe, effective, and attractive physical activity modalities that will promote greater participation in physical activity.
In order to determine if a physical activity option is suitable for recommendation to people with a history of non-specific low back pain, we need to compare the different options. Rather than randomly allocating all interested participants into either group we are taking a pragmatic approach, taking into consideration your preference for different physical activity modalities.
If you are interested in taking part in the study, you will follow the QR code to the screening questionnaire, consent form, and provide your contact details.

The research team will give you a follow up phone call to confirm eligibility and discuss the study Participant Information Sheet with you. They will answer any questions you have about the study. If you agree to participate and the research team confirms you are both suitable and safe to join the study, you will be enrolled into the study.
You have been self-managing your non-specific low back pain following the standard discharge procedures from your clinician. Aspects of your usual care instructions from your discharging clinician will include self-management of low back pain, pain education information, and general physical activity advice. As part of the standard discharge procedures, the clinician who has been addressing your low back pain may have suggested several physical activity modalities suitable for you to self-manage your low back pain. This study will include suggestions of activities which are local to you and appropriate for your medical clearance for participating in physical activity.

There are two possible study groups involved in this study. The groups are either (1) Dance Group or (2) Standard Discharge Group. You will select your preferred physical activity to join either the standard discharge group or the dance group.

(1) Dance Group

  • You continue to follow your clinician’s standard discharge instructions for self-management of your low back pain
  •  You will participate in dance classes for 10 weeks
  • The existing dance classes, or dance-based classes on offer will be based on your location and dance genre preferences pending availability in your area.
  • Dance classes may be 45min + in duration, and you may attend multiple times per week depending on availability
  • Dance genres may include theatrical (eg. Ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical), ballroom (eg. Waltz, rumba), folk (eg. Classical Indian dance, Greek dance, line dancing), Latin (eg. Salsa, bachata), aerobic dance (eg. Zumba, BodyJam)

(2) Standard Discharge Group

  • You continue to follow your clinician’s standard discharge instructions for self-management of your low back pain for 10 weeks
  • You will participate in a physical activity of your choice
  • You cannot choose to participate in any dance-based physical activity

You will complete an online survey at the beginning and end of the study which assess your low back pain at that time, your current level of physical activity, and your enjoyment of your chosen physical activity. In addition, a brief online weekly survey will be sent to you for completion to track your physical activity participation, monitor your low back pain, and record any adverse events that may occur. The time to complete the initial and final surveys will be approximately 15-20 mins each. The time to complete the weekly diary will be approximately 5 mins. This needs to be completed once a week for 10 weeks. 


You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

Eligible participants have had a diagnosis of non-specific low back pain and have recently been discharged from clinician care for non-specific low back pain.
Inclusion Criteria
To be included, you will need to meet all the following inclusion criteria:
1. be 18 years of age or older;
2. present with a diagnosis of non-specific LBP of at least 12-week duration, with or without leg pain.
3. have been recently discharged (<4 weeks post-treatment) from physiotherapy treatment from outpatient physiotherapy departments at the participating hospital sites;
have been recently discharged (<6 months post-regular treatment) from a course of treatment by your physiotherapist, chiropractor, or general practitioner in either private or public practices (including hospitals). For participants recruited from the general community, the definition of a course of treatment will be at least one attendance to a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or general practitioner, which may include a clinical examination, provision of manual therapy, a home exercise program, back care education or medication. Discharge from regular treatment describes people who are no longer receiving weekly treatment from their health care professional for their LBP.
4. have adequate hearing and eyesight to participate safely in physical activity.
5. independent ambulatory status without gait aid.
6. Reside in the Greater Sydney Metro area

Exclusion Criteria

Potential participants will be excluded if they have:
1. any “red flags” indicating serious spinal pathology and indicators of potentially serious conditions.
2. currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant over the study duration.
3. inadequate English to complete outcome measures or participate in the health coaching intervention. 

How to participate

If you are interested in assisting with this important and exciting area of research, follow the link: or email the study facilitator