3 PT Lessons Every Dancer Should Understand
Tiler Peck, the New York City Ballet star, suffered a debilitating neck injury. However, after physical therapy she is now preparing for Swan Lake, one of the most challenging choreographies. After reading about Tiler Peck’s injury and road to recovery in a recent article on the New York Times, I identified three physical therapy lessons I wish all dancers understood.
First: Your Physical Therapist is Part of Your Team.
Think of your physical therapist as part of your team. Physical therapists are there to help you rehabilitate and return you to the active lifestyle you are accustomed to. When Ms. Peck was first diagnosed, she had Marika Molnar, the physical therapist and director of Health and Wellness at City Ballet, join her during doctor visits. While this option may not be available to everyone, one way to to keep your physical therapist in the loop is to share information between other specialists you may be seeing. Advanced Physical Therapy Specialists works with other specialists towards an integrated treatment to augment and accelerate your recovery. We communicate about your goals and coordinate with other professionals to target your specific needs as a dancer and together draw up the best treatment plan that will help you get healthy faster and reach your dance goals.
Next: Communicate with your Physical Therapist.
Just as important as it is to have your team communicate with each other, an equally important lesson is for you to communicate with your physical therapist about what your body is feeling. Ms. Peck kept a journal and was able to report her symptoms, from tingling to pain, to her physical therapist. Tell your physical therapist how your body is feeling and in what positions or transitions from positions you are feeling the discomfort, which may include numbness, a cold sensation, muscle stiffness, a tingling, and sharp or dull pain. At Advanced Physical Therapy Specialists we understand that while your diagnosis plays an important role in your treatment plan, it is just the starting point. We look beyond your diagnosis to pinpoint other contributing factors that can influence your treatment. The majority of your hour long appointment time will be spent on hands-on orthopedic manual physical therapy where we treat the root cause of the problem, thereby minimizing these symptoms and strengthening you to return to dance.
Lastly: Actively Participate in Your Recovery with Your Physical Therapist.
To help you in the process to recovery, one important lesson we can’t forget about, is to actively participate in your recovery with your physical therapist. Ms. Peck worked consistently, every day, sometimes twice a day, with her physical therapist. They worked carefully until they were able to return to head and neck movements. Ms Peck took time off dance during her recovery and has slowly been building up her repertoire as she regains the strength to dance without injuring herself, and is also taking two days off in between performances. For any dancer, time off dance can be devastating, but actively working with your physical therapist may mean that taking time to rest from dance to fully recover will help you return to dance faster and stronger than before. Advanced Physical Therapy Specialists will develop and instruct you in specific at-home exercises targeted to your particular problem. These are short, targeted exercises that advance as your regain your strength as a dancer.
Physical Therapy is an integral part to a dancer’s recovery. Advanced Physical Therapy Specialists is proud to work with dancers in the Miami dance community in order to prevent injuries, rehabilitate, and return dancers back to an active, pain-free lifestyle. If you are experiencing pain that is stopping you from performing full-out, then reach out to us at (305) 433-1172. We’ll get you back on your toes in no time!
To read more about Tiler Peck’s arduous path back to the stage in advance of “Swan Lake.” Tiler Peck at the David H. Koch Theater … via A Ballerina’s Nightmare: ‘Am I More Than Just a Dancer …