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Instep Dance Magazine Articles

Reprints of monthly column as first appearing in Instep Dance Magazine (no longer in print).

January 2001

Two to Tango - Dan Timmons and Judy Campagna - Part 2

By Rick Allen, DC

"Better health leads to better dancing."

Photo of Judy Campagna

The other half of the tango team, Judy Campagna, came to me last May for treatment of her low back on the recommendation of a mutual friend, our Honda repair specialist. Let's examine her case as a typical one for which chiropractic treatment is just the ticket for good recovery and long-term health.

Injury

Judy, like many of the people I treat, did not have a specific trauma. Instead, she had a problem that had built up over years. Off and on it had flared up and caused problems. The day before she contacted me she had awoken with an aggravation of a chronic problem of low back stiffness and pain. It was really painful -- so bad that she had a hard time getting up or moving around.

When I examined her, I found a key component that had been previously overlooked: the psoas muscle that attaches from the low back across the pelvis to the upper leg was very tight, causing referred pain in her low back. The hidden influence of the psoas muscle in the December 1998 through April 1999 issues of Instep.

When I checked her spinal x-rays, I found another overlooked component: she had a loss of the normal lordotic curve of the neck. This created a forward head posture that put extra strain on the muscles of the neck and back, as I described in the October 1997 issue of Instep. This often leads to headaches, as I described in the 1999-2000 Holiday edition of my Health Hints Newsletter.

Treatment

Judy had found previous massage and chiropractic adjustments to be helpful. They had given her valuable relief. But no one had worked from the front to release the psoas muscle. The addition of this myofascial release of the psoas muscle effectively reduced her low back pain. However, my goal was to go beyond just relief care. Once I had the acute problem under control, I added specific traction and chiropractic adjustments to improve the mobility and curve of her neck. This helped correct her posture and, of course, improved her dancing!

The final component in long-term recovery from low back pain is to stabilize the pelvis and back with appropriate exercises. As has been recently shown in chiropractic and physical medicine clinical research around the world, one must first stabilize the inner muscles of the pelvis with exercises much like Kegel contractions of the pelvic floor that women are taught in preparation for child birth or to correct incontinence. Only after that is accomplished can one move on to the more advanced exercises, such as strengthening the abdominal, gluteal and erector spinae muscles of the back. As you might have guessed, in Judy's case, dancing has also been a vital part of her active rehabilitation.

Dan and Judy dancing photo

Results

Check out the results for yourself. Visit a Milonga, where Argentine Tango is danced to the wee hours of the morning. You'll find Dan and Judy dancing and, probably, teaching this wonderful, sensuous dance to eager folks around Portland and Vancouver. I have been so intrigued that I have started lessons with them! If you are also interested, you can reach Dan at 360-737-1687 or dtimmons.tango@juno.com

Next article: I mentioned in December that massage and chiropractic care eased Dan's cramping calves. How are your legs and feet doing? Let's look at keeping your tootsies healthy. I would love to highlight some local dancers, so step forward if you have a story to tell.

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