Hello to all the wonderful dancers out there!
Today we're going to debunk some common myths related to pelvic health in dancers. So, whether you're a ballet dancer, a hip-hop enthusiast, an Indian classical dancer or you simply love to move to the rhythm, this post is for you!
Myth 1: "Dancers should 'tuck' their pelvis to improve alignment and performance." Contrary to popular belief, the modern understanding of kinesiology and biomechanics tells us that a neutral pelvis is the way to go. By maintaining a neutral position, we can ensure a balanced distribution of load throughout the body, thus reducing the risk of injury. In a tucked under pelvic position, the glutes are clentched or gripped all the time and hence less available for function. This is a know startergy to stabilize in many dancers and we need to work on providing an alternate stratergy for balance and stability so that glutes can become more available.
Myth 2: "Dancers don't need to train pelvic floor muscles, as they already get a workout during dance." Dancing does require the pelvic floor muscles to help with deep stability, but improving the stratergy and performance of the entire core-pelvic floor complex will improve your overall pelvic health, stability, balance, and help prevent issues like incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
Myth 3: "Dancers are at lower risk for pelvic health issues." In reality, the high physical demands of dancing can sometimes make dancers more susceptible to pelvic health issues. Sometimes, intense exercise, coupled with restrictive diets, can even lead to menstrual dysfunction in female dancers. Nutrition and training the pelvic floor-core complex can help significantly with managing the physical demands of dancing.
Myth 4: "Pain in the pelvic area is a normal part of dancing." Although some discomfort might be expected due to the rigors of dancing, persistent pain is not a norm and should never be ignored. This could indicate conditions like stress fractures or tendinitis. It's essential to seek professional advice if you're experiencing persistent pain. It is also important to uncover the source of pain and treating that instaed of just treating the pain area. Treating the source of pain, takes away the pain, and,clinically I have seen that the source of pain is seldom painful.
Myth 5: "Urinary incontinence is a normal part of being a dancer." Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of dancing, regardless of the style. It's a sign that your pelvic floor muscles might need some specific training. Ignoring this issue can cause long-term damage.
Remember, as a dancer, you should listen to your body's specific needs and signals. Seeking advice from a physiotherapist, especially a physiotherapist specializing in pelvic health, can provide individualized advice. I treat lots of dancers in the clinic and believe me, your neck or back pain you experience or hip tightness or knee issues can be pelvic floor issues. I can find a driver/ source of your pain to give you long term relief.
Keep dancing, keep moving, but most importantly, keep healthy!