The show must go on!
This is a phrase that singers, dancers, and theatrical performers live by. But how far can this saying really take them?
Every muscle in the body is important, even the ones in your face. The muscles in your back specifically, support your spine and hold you upright while you move. If they become weak or strained, the rest of your muscles have to work harder to compensate for them. This can lead to pain and discomfort in other parts of the body like your neck, shoulders, lower back and knees. For performers, pain in any of these areas often hinders the quality of their craft, and not taking proper care of these aches and pains can cause career altering consequences.
Let’s talk about dancers. Dancers are constantly putting their backs in a position that can cause real damage. They also put a lot of pressure on their feet and knees which can lead to pain in those areas as well. And let’s not forget the muscles in your upper body. “Arms! Arms! Arms!” Yeah, we know. Here’s how you can ensure your body is healthy, happy, and strong!
- Make sure to stretch regularly before and after dance practice or a performance. These stretches will increase flexibility and help prevent injuries from happening.
- If you’re going to be dancing for long periods of time, make sure take breaks every hour or so by stretching out your muscles. This will reduce the strain on your joints and keep them relaxed for the rest of the show/practice session.
- Practice good posture while sitting down at dinner so it becomes second nature. If you do encounter an ache or pain, it is important you visit a medical professional as soon as possible. No matter the magnitude, sometimes even the smallest of pains can cause irreversible problems in the future.
For all the singers and vocalist out there, whether you’re a performer or an instructor, we understand how important the muscles in your face, chest, abdomen and spine are to your success. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy spine as a singer. Our backs are the foundation of our body and without proper care, we may experience back problems such as chronic pain or injury. In order to prevent these issues from arising, it is important that singers take some time for self-care. You could also experience pain in your jaw, known as TMJ pain, which is very common for singers that often stick their jaws out while singing.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a way to keep your posture “neutral.” Neutral spine alignment has been shown to have more benefits than slouching over with bad posture because it helps distribute weight evenly across the discs of your spinal column. The human spine is made up of 24 vertebrae. These vertebrae can be separated into four regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. Each region has its own set of responsibilities to maintain balance and stability for the body. If you are a singer who spends many hours at a time standing or sitting in an unnatural position, your back could suffer from this abuse over long periods of time. For TMJ discomfort, you could also practice stretching and relaxing exercises for your jaw to alleviate some of the pain. Chiropractors offer different types of treatments for the all of these regions, even your jaw!
Theater performers also spend a lot of time on their feet and need sure to take care of their back health! The best way to do this is by doing exercises that strengthen your core and lower back, like planks. These exercises will help you stay comfortable while performing for long periods of time, and prevent pain from developing in the future. There are many ways to take care of your back when you’re on the stage. Below are some tips that I’ve found useful for myself and my coworkers.
- Make sure you have a good seat with plenty of support under your thighs, this will keep pressure off your lower spine while allowing air to circulate more freely around your pelvis.
- If you’re experiencing a pain or ache that has been presenting its self for more than 4 days, we recommend you see a doctor. Sometimes we can experience pain that is due to a condition or injury we weren’t aware of that is triggered during physical activity.
- Get a massage from time to time! This goes without saying but is worth repeating: it’s important not to neglect yourself or put too much pressure on yourself as an artist! Some chiropractic offices, like ours, offer not only chiropractic treatment, but also physical therapy and massage therapy!
It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing pain. If the cause of your pain can be diagnosed, then there will likely be some form of treatment that can help ease discomfort and get your life back on track. The best way to go about this process is by following these four steps:
- Recognize when it’s time to seek medical attention
- Be open with doctors in order for them to give you the proper diagnosis
- Utilize all resources available (including physical therapy)
- Maintain an exercise regimen. When done correctly, body pain does not have to stay around forever!