Soreness after exercise is a natural body reaction. Injury, however, is far more serious and may require attention and treatment. Knowing the difference between the two as a dancer is very important to maintain an active, healthy and pain-free lifestyle.
To improve as a dancer, we must push our bodies to an appropriate level, in order to see development. Each person’s limit depends on factors such as age, ability, strength an experience. Exceeding your threshold may lead to injuries. If you keep lightly pushing your threshold, it will progressively increase. To be able to safely advance and improve as a dancer, we must learn our body to know the difference between soreness and pain.
Depending on the intensity of the exercise, post-dance soreness can occur while you're dancing or start and last anywhere between 24-72 hours after exercising. This is the result of small safe damage to muscle fibers. It can be a tired or burning feeling, tender muscles and a minimal, achy, tight feeling when rested. After a couple of days, soreness should gradually decrease.
If pain is persistent and lasts longer than this, or if you have extreme movement restriction in the area, it may be an injury. It may be a throbbing or sharp pain both when exercising and resting in muscles, as well as, joints. If you feel you must adjust normal everyday activities to help the pain, it is time to see a medical professional. They can help to identify the problem and severity of the matter. They can also provide the best techniques and strategies to help manage and reduce pain and begin recovery treatment. The earlier the injury is diagnosed the quicker the recovery.
We all try to be brave in the moment and continue dancing or keep the pain to ourselves. This, however, is a very bad habit. If you are in pain, and feel it could be an injury, it is very important to stop and make your teacher or those around you aware. You need to be open and honest with yourself, your dance teachers, parents and helping professionals about the pain and your progress. It is important that you ease back into classes to avoid more severe injuries.
What are your best remedies to fix soreness or injuries? Comment below!