Why Every Dancer Can Benefit From Physical Therapy

If you are a dancer chances are you have considered physical therapy to manage persistent aches and pains, or treat an injury that is keeping you from doing what you love.

But physical therapists are not only effective in treating all sorts of aches and injuries, they can also help in preventing them in the first place, and in enhancing your skills to help you reach peak performance.

TREATING ACHES, PAINS, AND INJURIES

Dancing sets itself apart from other sports in that it requires an unusually broad range of motion, making dancers more susceptible to a variety of injuries all throughout the body.

Injuries and aches can be caused by a variety of factors such as poor nutrition, lack of rest, insufficient hydration, falls, lack of strength, overuse, and improper technique.

Injuries in the neck, shoulders, low back, hips, knees, shins, feet, and ankles are not uncommon amongst dancers.  

According to a recent study in the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, physical therapists’ ability to evaluate, intervene, and educate their clients makes them successful in treating these injuries.

Physical therapists’ effectiveness in treatment also comes from creating individualized therapeutic plans that are tailored to the unique needs and strengths of their client’s body, making recovery that much more effective.

While treating injuries, physical therapists also understand a dancer’s physical demands and urgency to get back on their feet. A physical therapist can create flexible recovery plans that modify dance techniques and allow for ‘relative rest’, minimizing recovery time and time away from studio work or the stage.

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PREVENTION

Physical therapists have a variety of ways of helping dancers avoid pain and injuries in the first place.

A frequent cause of injuries comes from lack of flexibility in certain joints which can lead to overcompensation, as well as improper technique.

A therapist’s first step in prevention is a thorough assessment and evaluation of a dancer’s body and dance technique to help pinpoint necessary corrections. 

Another important preventative tool PT’s use is education. By explaining how the latest science and dance medicine applies to their client’s unique body and situation, dancers can make better decisions about how to work with their bodies moving forward.

ENHANCE SKILLS AND STRENGTH

Physical therapy is, unfortunately, frequently underused by dancers, and it's potential to enhance strength and skill is often overlooked. Physical therapists can teach techniques specific to the field of physical therapy that can enhance a dancer’s skills. Also, a trained physical therapist is able to select appropriate exercise programs that not only strengthen dancers’ bodies, but help them sculpt it the way they want, whether they want to show off more muscles or are aiming for a more lean look.

Physical therapists have training at their disposal which make their services worthwhile for every dancer, such the ability to design targeted training to enhance dancers’ skills, or nutritional planning to ensure appropriate caloric intake and thus peak performance.

Whether you are a beginner dancer or a seasoned performer, let your physical therapist help you keep your body strong and healthy so you can keep making those graceful lines for a long time to come.

iAM Physical Therapy specializes in rehabilitating and strengthening both hobbyist and professional dancers. Contact Dr. Jessica Wiley today to learn more about how iAM Physical Therapy can help you achieve peak performance in the studio and on the stage.