Welcome to the 10 Talent Blog! After chatting with Chiropractor Dr. Stephen Gray, he gave us 4 tips on how to heal your body and not become “the injured one.”
YOU CAN CONTACT STEPHEN AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST!
Over the years, Dr Stephen Gray has seen performer after performer go through injuries forcing them to miss out on auditions, opening nights, or even inhibit themselves from showing off their full skill set of tricks, flips, and stunts! He has seen dancers slowly become labelled “the injured one” and how over time, it squeezed them out of the jobs and into a second career. What do you do when you are injured during a show? What do you do when you’re injured right during audition season? Below Dr. Stephen Gray outlines a few selfcare routes you can go, with the risks and rewards associated.
1| DO NOTHING
One old school mentality about physical injury is to always promote rest. There are definitely times when rest is the best option, but it should not always be the go-to response for physical aches and pains. For example, if you have a muscle knot causing the majority of your pain, resting is not going to undo that knot at all. To work through a trigger point like that, our bodies need mobilization and oxygen. This is often why I am prescribing exercises as a go to list for patients to use to find pain relief through movement. Sometimes, gentle activation of the muscle forces new blood flow, bringing with it fresh oxygen and nutrients and taking out carbon dioxide and waste/inflammation by-products. Listen to your body, but also listen to research that tells us to keep things moving. Remember, ‘motion is lotion’!
Ice or heat? This truly is the ‘tale as old as time’. Here’s my take on this one: ice slows down inflammation and heat speeds up inflammation. This may sound over simplified, but by using this general rule, we understand how and when to use ice or heat. When we have damage in our bodies, our cells rupture in that area releasing the cytosol or the fluid in the cell. In this fluid are teeny, tiny chemical messengers called chemokines. These chemokines are released during the damage and then help signal cells involved in the inflammatory process (repairing, rebuilding, clearing up). You can see how these chemokines are very necessary when we injure ourselves. However, these chemokines also irritate free nerve endings, causing a lot of the pain associated with an injury. If we apply ice to the area, we slow down the inflammation process, so we get less chemokines irritating our nerves, however we slow down the repair process, too. If you simply want to decrease your pain, go for the ice. If you can stand the pain and the swelling isn’t too much, maybe skip the ice. Heat will most likely increase pain and is never my go to initially with an injury. However, after a few days, some heat actually helps that repair and inflammatory process out, so it may be worth considering. One warning with heat though is myositis ossificans. This is a condition where too much heat is applied to a soft tissue injury leading to the body laying down calcium in that injured tissue (aka growing a bone in your muscle). This is one reason I also warn not to use too much heat when dealing with a torn muscle for example.
3| SELF MASSAGE
If you are out of town or unable for whatever reason to seek out care from a licensed healthcare professional, then you may want to consider some at home manual therapy. I think self-massage is great, although sometimes hard to execute at home, especially if you live alone! For that reason, I suggest doing a more active self-treatment using a small ball. I prefer a small, dense ball to a foam roller for muscle work at home, because it can get into more specific areas of tension, and I find it also pins muscles for active stretching more effectively. For at home use, I typically approach it from one of two perspectives. Am I trying to follow the tissue direction rolling with or against the fibres (effleurage versus cross friction)? If I can add active movement to my pass, even better. For most muscle passes, think of a way you can pin a ball between your body and the floor or a wall. From there, try to either actively work that muscle you are pinning or even better, actively use the muscle and roll the ball along the muscle tissue, simultaneously. If this seems too complicated, simply applying pressure to a muscle knot for 10-30 seconds without movement also has a lot of therapeutic value. If anatomy is not your thing, look up a muscle stretch on YouTube and then get creative with what you have around the house! You may be surprised at how much relief you can accomplish simply by rolling and stretching various muscles at home.
4| SEEK OUT CARE
There comes a time when getting professional advice is always the best option. Seeking out a licensed healthcare professional with the ability to diagnose in their scope of practice will definitely help cut out a lot of wasted time. The only way you are going to heal fully and prevent subacute or chronic development is by getting to the root of your issue. When you do finally seek care, make sure you get all your questions answered. When I see patients for the first time, not only am I getting to know them, how they move, and what their goals are from our time together, but I spend a lot of time educating and giving suggestions on how to improve function, endurance, relieve pain, and truly understand what their bodies are going through. Finding the right support when injured, from someone who also understands your craft makes all the difference.
When it comes to injuries as a performer, they are no joke. Injuries can lead to lost time training, working, and doing what you love. Next time you are feeling some physical aches and pains, listen to your body and treat your instrument with the same respect a pilot treats their plane, or a painter treats their brushes. For more information, please check out http://www.madetomove.ca or email email@example.com.