Updated: Aug 19
Dance medicine is the study of anatomy and movement related to dance and is used to identify dysfunctions, treat injuries and enhance performance. In simple terms, it combines the world of dance with science and research to create healthier, happier dancers. There are many types of people who contribute to dance medicine including doctors, athletic trainers, researchers and physical therapists, like myself. As a PT, it is my job to assist in injury treatment and prevention techniques for dancers. This includes movement assessments, strength and range of motion testing, correction of muscle imbalances, pointe readiness screens... the list goes on and on!
The International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) is an organization dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles in dancers through collaboration of medical and dance professionals. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in learning more to check out their website at www.iadms.org. They provide great resources for dancers, teachers, and health care professionals at any level of understanding. It is important we keep supporting this great organization to further grow and learn as much as we can about this specialized field.
Dance medicine hasn't been around for too long in the grand scheme of things. It emerged in the 80's and began to really take shape and gain momentum in the 90's with the formation of IADMS. Since that time, research in the field has helped us to expand our knowledge base and help dancers more than ever today. The dancer's body is truly amazing and is constantly pushing itself to new physical limits. Growth in the field of dance medicine and science is essential to keeping up with the ever changing demands of choreography and performance.
One concern that dancers often express to me is the fear that I am going to tell the them they cannot dance if they are injured, or that I am going to change the way they perform. That could not be farther from the truth! The beauty of specializing in dance medicine is that we work with dancers to enhance their performance, and make their injuries more manageable for them. No therapist wants to change the art of dance, we just want to make it a little less likely that you are going to get hurt while doing it. Sure, it may mean that for a short amount of time you cannot go past a demi plié while you are trying to heal a knee injury, or you can only develope to 45 degrees while recovering from hip impingement pain. But together the dancer and therapist can come up with many alternatives and exercises to work you back toward the ultimate goal of dancing pain and injury free.
Dance medicine and science is important and necessary. I am so very passionate about using it to help as many dancers as possible, and I hope thats what this blog helps to do! Save the world, one grande jete at a time!!