DANCER’S PERCEPTION OF INJURIES AND PREVENTION
PERCEPTION OF INJURIES AND PREVENTION
typically not included among activities in the sphere of sports. Dance may look
effortless to the spectators but it demands a lot of muscular strength and
endurance, anaerobic and aerobic energy utilization, speed, agility,
coordination, motor control, and psychological readiness, which are all
standard features of athletic attributes. Like any other sports, dance also
comes with a high risk of injuries. But most of us perform through pain and
injuries to our own detriment.
Dancer’s perception of injuries-
dancers are at a high risk of variety of overuse, stress, impact, and
repetitive motion injuries, which cause pain or discomfort, but most of the
times they are ignored by most of you.
The reasons for
to admit one is injured because of the fear of being replaced.
expectations to “push through” pain within the dance culture.
to distinguish between “good” and “bad” pain, i.e. quantity
versus quality of pain.
- Higher pain
threshold (the amount of pain required to acknowledge it) versus higher pain
tolerance (ability to disregard pain while participating in physical activity).
creates long term risks and translates chronic pain which in turn triggers
psychosocial stressors, negative attitudes, and influences your performance.
What can be done to change this perception?
- Learn to
distinguish between “good pain” and “bad pain”.
pain is associated with
exerting effort that usually subsides within 24-48 hours, stretching the body
to full capacity, and necessary for performance whereas bad pain will hurt, at the beginning of the activity and
will gradually increases with activity.
- Enrol in a
pain or dance education program to understand your level of ability to cope or
manage pain and develop future prevention strategies. Every dance academy
should arrange such programs for their dancers frequently.
- Consult a
physician/physical therapist to guide you further.
DANCE INJURY PREVENTION
How can dance injuries be prevented?
As it is true
for any other sports, the prevention of injury is preferable to the management
of injury. Most of the dance injuries (overuse injuries) even some traumatic injuries
can be prevented.
Below are areas
of attention you should consider for preventing dance injuries:
- Screening of Dancers: Time to time screening of physical and psychological factors is required prior to injuries and also post injuries. Periodic physical assessments will reveal the areas of biomechanical imbalances, if any to be addressed and corrected, thus preventing injuries. Look for a physical therapist to help you with the screening routine.
- Physical training of dancers: Pay special attention to the core stability and strength and to the muscles specific to the demands of your dance form. Involve the following into you training program- power and endurance, plyometrics, agility, balance, joint stability, dance form technique specific training. Another physical regimen pilates, already popular with dancers, can be done.
- Proper nutrition and rest: Always follow sound research-based nutritional practices; and have a healthy energy and fluid intake. Eat well and stay hydrated, before after and during practice sessions. Take proper rest and avoid overtraining. When rest is not possible, modify the activity to suit your physical ability. Sleep well on such days. Schedule appropriate “down time” in support of both physical and emotional health.
- Specialized health care access: When told by a practioner to “stop dancing” as a method of managing the injury, many of you loathe receiving it as a carelessly offered, supposed panacea.
That’s because of the belief that
physios/doctors lack adequate understanding of the demands of dance training.
Look for health professionals who have in depth knowledge about performing arts
medicine and dance medicine, who can understand the physical demands of your
dance form. They can prescribe rehabilitative programs that either moderate
your dancing or define suitable activity alternatives during rehabilitative
periods rather than suggesting “stop dancing”.
Guidelines for dance injury prevention:
- Focus on mastering proper technique, correct postures in training and then jump to the advanced forms.
- Always wear proper shoes and attire depending on the dance genre.
- Warm up before training and before performances.
- Use RICE treatment approach after a sudden dance injury to reduce swelling and inflammation. After a few days, you can use a heat pack to increase the blood flow.
(Using ice or heat depends on what you feel
- Never use ice before stretching or dance training or performance, because it’s better that those muscles are warmed up to prevent re-injury.
- Plan your training exercises giving equal importance to strength, stability and flexibility, dance specific training is a must.
- Take enough rest and avoid overstressing or overtraining your body.
- Live a healthy lifestyle and understand the needs of your body well.
When there is an injury, don’t ignore it and
address it immediately and seek guidance from a doctor/physical therapist with
experience in treating dancers. They will help you identify areas of weakness,
resolve it with specific exercises and help you correct the training technique
that led to injury.