Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hip Hop Dance Related Injuries: Back Strength

Mind, Body, Heart, Soul, Spirit

In our November 2010 Newsletter I wrote about my experiences with knee injuries. What not to do and how to strengthen your knee joints and muscles as well as knee injury prevention. If you missed it.. check it out Knee Injuries

Now I will share my experiences with lower back pain and muscle spasms.
I am no stranger to injuries related to dance or everyday stress. I learned through experience what NOT to do. Starting with:

Again the all faithful Improper Warm-Up and Stretching
I can not stress this enough how important it is to properly warm-up and stretch for ultimate flexibility and overall wellness.

But this time I was in the middle of teaching our Snap, Pop n' Rock Bootcamp Challenge Fitness Warm-up and possibly attempted a stretch my body was not thoroughly warmed up for and I over did it. But of course other factors in conjunction made for a not so great experience. I was coming out of a strength move into a stretching move and extended my back too far too fast and I felt my back right away, but I assumed holding the position would alleviate whatever pain or burning session I felt. When I stood up i knew something was not right, but I kept teaching a class full of students that I did not want to disappoint. By the end of class when all the students left the room I hit the floor to lay flat thinking I can stretch out the burning and cramping I felt. As I waited for my Boyfriend, Stan to pick me up that day WandeePop waited with me more concerned than I was. i did not know how sever the injury was. By the time I got home to lay on my bed is when I had the first spam and was bed ridden for a week. The spasms were the worse pain I ever felt. I could barely move.

Talk about humbling, but it gave me time to re-evaluate situations in my life i was dealing with at the time.

As a private trainer I use my experiences to help my clients and students. A thorough total body warm up is necessary starting with low impact to medium then to high with a moderate paced stretching routine. Of course that is wellness 101 but there is nothing like going through the experience of what NOT to do.

Always listen to your body it will NOT lie to you.

Lack of Strength Training
Before my injury I remember thinking I had to get back to the gym. It had been at least a month that I did not strength train thinking the calisthenics i perform in class would be enough to maintain my body strength. As we get older we need to protect our bodies from bone loss.. what protects our bones?...Muscle, what protects muscle?... Plenty of Protein Intake, Strength and Flexibility Training. In my opinion, Calisthenics and/or cardio only workouts alone will not do it. Everyone needs to strength train for overall well-being.

Lack of Sleep and Proper Nutrition
Needless to say I did not eat well that day and did not have restful REM sleep the night before, plus lack of proper hydration. Meaning.. if you are drinking water because you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Proper hydration and nutrition starts from the night before your activities for the next day and it should be properly filtered, alkaline water with electrolytes. Nutrition does not mean fatty fried foods, processed meats or 'so-called enriched foods you get at your local market. Just because the FDA gives it the sign of approval does not mean it's good for you. Educate yourself.

Plus the day of my injury, I was rushing into the city Not to be late for class, which added extra stress...

The number one killer! Mental, Emotional, Physical, Financial, my overall spirit was stressed out. I was laid off from my job, father passed away, trying to figure out my life, arguing with my BF.. you name it.. it was going on for months prior to my injury.. My body was speaking to me as the last straw. I needed to wake up quick because it was making me physically ill.

Vices (A Bad Habit)
We all have them from; eating too much.. not eating enough.. addictions, fatty foods, drinking alcohol, smoking.. etc. Take all of these things into account as well.

I believe in a life of balance. If something is not working for you get rid of it or if you are a person that enjoys a glass of wine/alcohol with dinner every night.. balance it out with a glass of water so you are releasing those toxins and cut it down to 1-2 glasses of alcohol. I do not judge anyone's vices, but if it is interfering with your growth, focus or harming others.. Get Rid of it! Too much of something is NOT good, balance it out to moderation.

My Healing
My healing process was challenging, but rewarding.. and it is daily work. Not only physical work, but mental and spiritual. Injury prevention is an everyday process. When you are injured it's your wake up call to implement a daily regime that will cater to your well-being. Believe me it has taken me many years to get it together and realize you can not nurse it when you have it then forget about it afterwards. Wellness is a life choice, a lifestyle not a phase. You have to conscientiously make the decision to want more, be better, stronger and consistent.

At this point we can all agree that injury prevention method has the same ingredients. All natural-pathetic elements from Mother Earth that our higher source gave us when this planet was created. How did our ancestors survive?

Conventional Medicine is not the first place i run to unless absolutely necessary, like an emergency.

So here is my Top 6 list on what helped me Heal. These essentials are what I use today to heal my knee and back injuries. I will NOT recommend anything I do not use and anything that does not work for me and my clients.

Baby Step it. Some things may or may not be available to you right now. Start with what works for you and move forward from there.

My Top 6 Hip Hop Dance Injury Prevention Methods
1. Thoughts ~ Words ~ Actions:  After much Reflection, Observation, Stillness, Steadfast and Perseverance through my journey.  This was and is the number one cause of All injuries, illnesses, anxieties etc..  This is my recent update to this article and I added this as the number 1 because it is through my personal experience.  My Heart Angel Journey has led me to this ultimate conclusion.  Testimony of my painful injuries is how i help teach, educate and train my clients and students to self: 

Reflect:  What are you thinking, saying and doing that is interfering with your progress and creating energy blockages within your body, mind, heart, soul and spirit.
Obeserve:  How your thoughts, words and actions affect others around you.
Stillness: of the mind and focus on your breath and connection to high self to absorb the wisdom.
Steadfast: in making the necessary changes to release the blocked energy.
Perseverance: within your life as the Universe Opens Up to your every desire and manifestations.

2. Nutrition and Hydration: The most important element for injury prevention. Eating for pleasure is fun for sure, but at some point you have to add eating for fuel and energy into your nutritional plan of life and NOT a diet plan. Diet plans do not work! Remember it's a lifestyle change not a phase or fad or temporary fix. In conjunction with your nutrition are the Herbs, Spices and Essential Oils that you cook with, use as ointments and therapies for the body.

WandeePop created her Herb Ready Tea Packs; immune booster and bone repair teas for me during the healing process. They helped me tremendously and I learned more about what my body requires for proper function. For more details on Herb Ready Tea PAcks please contact WandeePOP for info and rates.

Hydration should be one ounce of water for half your body weight: ex: a 130lbs woman should consume 65 ounces of water per day on average. Meaning if you are an active person you should consume your body weight. Water is a natural diuretic and releases harmful free radical toxins from your body.

3. Rest: There are 5 stages of sleep the 5th being your REM, dream state. We cycle stages 2, 3, 4 & 5 at least 4 times a night. Sleep is also when our cells are repaired. So a minimum of 6 hours per evening is required. Preferably in one nights sleep. We get the most cell, mind and body repair during meditation. Which will be another topic i cover in the next newsletter.

4. Strength Training/Cardio/Flexibility: Back strengthening workouts, Stability of your core; Abdominals and Lower Back is crucial for functional living. Everything you do in life and the gym requires core strength.

Back Strengthening Workout Recommendations:
With isolation and compound movements like back extensions, deadlifts, SuperMans, Planks, Good mornings you are off to a great start. For more details and if you are interested in a personal workout plan please contact SnapShot for info and rates.

Another great tool for me during my recovery is the Foam Roller: It can be used to enhance balance, body awareness, muscle re-education, flexibility, myofacial release and dynamic strength. Dense foam construction of rolls provides firm support for all body types. Foam rollers are an essential tool for core abdominal, back stabilization and strengthening. Foam rollers are used as a balance training tool to improve balance for sports and everyday exercises. They are also an excellent aid for self massage of the upper and lower back, calf, hamstring, glutes and quads.

Cardiovascular Exercise is important, especially before you begin any strength training workouts. A proper cardio warmup should last a minimum of 10 minutes to properly elevated your heart rate and prepare your body for more intense exercises.

Basic Stretching and Yoga everyday, sometimes twice a day is recommended if you are already injured. When i wake up i perform my basic stretches for at least 10mins to prepare my body for the days activities. Then later during my workout I do a more in depth stretch because my body is already warmed up. If i am teaching that day I am stretching three times a day. By the time i get home I listen to my body and if i need another dose i will do my at home yoga DVD for 30mins.

Steam Room: Helped me big time with my healing. During my process the cardio alone was not enough to warm up my body for an adequate stretch because i did not have my complete range of motion yet. So I would stretch in the steam room.

5. Magnetics: One of Mother Earth important elements to our survival. Magnetic energy is part of the natural environment for all living things. Earth's magnetic field is also recognized as a protective barrier against dangerous radiation from space.

All life, be it plant life, animal life or human life, exists in and responds to the magnetic field of the Earth. It should be made clear that using magnets themselves do not heal or cure, rather using magnetic energy provides the body with the necessary ingredients it needs to repair itself. We live on a big magnet called the earth and every individual on the earth has been exposed to and has benefited from the earth's natural magnetic energy fields. It's healthy and necessary to sustain life on earth.

Clinical studies have indicated that magnets hold promise in the development of new, scientific approaches to many of the challenges of modern life. Some people using these self care health magnets are getting results and relief within minutes, hours, or in just a few days, from head, neck, shoulders, back, wrist, elbow, knee, ankle and foot problems. Many people with more serious health problems are having their discomfort eased.

Another benefit many people receive from these health magnets is an increase in energy though out the day.

For a moment think about your family or friends, a health problem they may have, whether it is minor or severe. There have been years and years of research to prove that people benefit from this technology. Today, millions of people around the world are feeling better because of health magnets.

A week after my injury i discovered magnetics through a highly recommended company. i participated in a webinar they were conducting and i was convinced. It was not the first time i heard about magnetism. i read a book a year before called 'Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About' and he mentioned the amazing benefits.

I was in pain and would have done anything to help my situation so I ordered their magnetic insoles for my knee therapy/feet pain and magnetic back pad to start. i was soo anxious to see if this would work for me. i was going to acupuncture but I needed more for the in between visits that were getting costly and i had no insurance. I also had a very important dance performance coming up within weeks and i needed to heal.

Needless to say i was amazed. Within days of receiving the magnetics and wearing them everyday my pain was gone and I was on stage performing as if I was not ever injured.
PLEASE NOTE: Duration of healing when wearing magnetics varies depending on how hydrated your body is. Water is the conduit that attracts magnetism so if you are using them and they are not working well for you, you may want to increase your water intake. They work better in conjunction with all the other steps i mention in this article.

6. More Natural Pathic Techniques
Deep Muscle/Thai Massage: Painful, but gets into the muscle tissue to alleviate energy, inflammation, soreness, toxins and knots we develop that cause tension and stress.

Acupuncture: A technique of oriental medicine performed only by licensed health care providers. Fine needles are inserted into the body at specific points to induce anesthesia, relieve pain, or to treat other various disorders. Is based on Chinese traditional medicine for the purpose of stimulating healing. This practice is believed to promote the healthy flow of "Qi" or life force, through the body.

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