Written by: Haydee Ferguson, Physiotherapist
When you ask a performer what their biggest fear is – many will say it is the fear of getting injured. However, it is important to remember that your performing life is not necessarily over because of an injury. In fact, an injury can turn out to be one of the best experiences in your career. It can give you an opportunity to take the time to listen to and learn about your body and grow as a performer.
No one wants to get an injury however at some stage we all do. Whether it is the niggle in your hip that you try to ignore or a stress fracture in your foot that means you have to stop dancing for a period of time – injuries are going to occur. I believe that as soon as we begin to realise that injuries are a part of being human, the better we will be at recovering from them, moving on and preventing them from re-occurring.
The sooner you get an injury seen-to, the sooner you can recover from it. In my experience as a physiotherapist, I have seen many people come in with acute low back injuries. Those who come in within the first 1-3 days of their injury occurring usually recover within 2-3 weeks (providing they follow the advise they are given). Those who think their pain will just go away and leave it before seeing a health professional, can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks before they get back to doing their normal activities again!
Another way to think about it is looking at cars (I love coming up with little analogies). Even the best made cars break down. You can buy a $200,000 Ferrari or a $2,000 second hand car – either way you still need to ensure you get it serviced, put petrol in it, check the engine for oil and water – and at some stage something is going to break down. You may have a body that is well designed to cope with the demands of your chosen profession, or you may have a body that you constantly have to work hard on to keep flexible and strong… either way the chances of sustaining and injury are still there.
The most important thing to remember is that injuries are a part of being human. They are not something to be feared but something to learn from and become a stronger performer from the experience.