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post-class aches and pains

Guest beckster

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Guest beckster

On another thread, someone wrote


Be sure you have an adequete supply of Advil in your medicine cabinet for post-class aches and pains


Is this a joke? Do people seriously take painkillers the day after class to deal with muscle aches? I am amazed - surely it can't be good to take these drugs on such a regular basis! I have never even considered doing anything more than having a nice hot bath to relax my achy muscles.

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Yes, I raised eyebrows at that comment, beckster!


But then, I am the girl who actually likes to feel post-class aches. Is that weird? I mean, walking around work really stiff and in agony, finding it difficult to sit down, reminds me that I'm not just an office-based android. (I'm not being sarcastic, either!) I like thinking I'm a dancer as well as a worker!


I guess you'd take anti-inflammatories if you had chronic minor injuries, but surely on this board the advice for that would be to rest and do 'rice'.


I have trouble associating painkillers with any pain that is not in my head, because I've only ever taken them for headaches. Do they really work for pain in other parts of the body? (Serious question!) :P:D

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Yep, same here! Although I do take them for painfull 'time of the month :P ' aches as well as headaches, but certainly not for exercise aches!! I like knowing that I've done something too, instead of thinking I've just been staring at a computer all day :D .

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Oh yes, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSDAIDs) are effective anywhere on the body. I would be careful about dosing anything and everything, but if you can't stand the discomfort, there's no good reason why you should have to suffer. I'm kind of with Kate here, on the basis of relatively recent personal experience. After my operation, I was on a pain management regimen of morphine sulfate, which I could self-administer no more than 1 cc no more frequently than every 6 minutes. My attending phys. would come in, look at the chart, look at the dope machine, and ask, "Are you sure you're getting enough of this to check the pain? Where's your pain level on a 0-10 scale?" I'd say, "about 3 or 4, with a spike to 7, and when that happens, I hit the button and it drops to 2, then blends out at 3." I gather the dancer was demonstrating the ability to stand pain, or more to the point, not notice it so much as non-dancers. :P

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My distrust of painkillers is also from experience with the strong kind. When I was 17 I had my tonsils out, and in hospital I felt no pain and went on a wonderful journey with whatever I was dosed up with (Jimi Hendrix psychedelic type smilie needed here I think). After a day of that, they sent me home with... Aspirin and paracetamol! So after that I knew over the counter remedies didn't work with intense pain, and later on, the more minor pain seemed like heaven! So I guess if you have experience of pain you know what's sortable and what just needs rest, a hot bath, or a good stretch.


I also know a girl who is a great netball player but she has terrible chronic injuries because she has played with the pain from her injuries numbed by cortisone and steroids and anti inflammatories because she didn't want to miss important games. But as a result she's in pain all the time. If there is something wrong, and it's not just muscle ache, why do people do this to themselves? :P

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Sometimes it helps to quantify pain, and then you can think about whether you really need to medicate the feeling. This is informal, and only what I remember of the pain scale that Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital (a fine place) in NYC uses:


On a scale of 0-10:


0-2 = painfree to just noticeable


3-4 = noticeable pain; mild discomfort


5-6 = moderate pain


7-8 = acute pain


9+ = severe pain, it's all you can think about.


And sometimes, after you stop and think about it, the pain decreases on its own!

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Gulp... :P when I was going through the trauma of my knee pain, I was seriously taking two advil before every class, plus smeering on analgesic creams/gels you name it and taking more after class. I got through an awful ot of pain killers. I hated taking them, but it was the only way I could seriously get through an hour and a half class and in the end ballet was extremely important to me, and it wasn't until my ballet teacher told me she wouldn't help me with gettting better unless I saw a professional, that I realised how bad it actually was.Going my Mjr Johnsons post, it was up there in the 8-9.

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As to why do people do this? simple..when you love doing something so much, whether it be ballet, basketball or football, the worse thing imaginable is not being able to that thing. The only thing going through my mind when I was in pain, was that if I went to the doctor I would be told never dance again, and I really could not have accepted that, so why bother going int he first place?

In the end I did go, but only due to my teacher bascially refusing to teach or help me until I had an MRI. That threat was suddenly greater than my pain, and I went practically the next day. But, I know why people do it and I understand how it can really get out of hand so easily.

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I think I asked because I'm such a wuss and hate the thought of getting a proper injury. For example sometimes my knee goes out of joint and it hurts on the 3 or 4 kind of level, and because I'm afraid of it getting worse and stopping me from dancing or doing other stuff on the long term (added to my fear of pain) I will skip a class or two or until things feel normal again.


I guess I'm not driven to dance like I could be (I will also miss class if I have a bad cold) but I think I'm normal enough in wanting to understand what motivates serious dancers and sportspeople to risk permanent injury like that. I've read about it in biogrphies and things, and it seems like the love of dance or sport can take over from common sense sometimes.


I'm not trying to start an argument or anything, I'm just interested, and I don't mean to offend anyone by saying this. :P

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:P Oh My God i too am totally surprised that people take pain killers for pain after a class. I have pain in my right foot at the moment from ballet class last wednesday and it did not even cross my mind to take anything, I have just been putting up with it.


I learnt from experience never to dance with any kind of pain as it does not get you anywhere. If there is pain its my body telling me to take a break for a week or two. I am like Kate, if i have a heavy cold or something i will not dance as you can put tremendous strain on your body, heart.


Xena, i know where how you felt with all the trauma with your knee, the same thing happened to me when i was 16 and they told me that i had to stop dancing. That tore my heart out but at the end of the day i am now back dancing after a 6 year break and 5 years of intense physio. I think everyone no matter what level you are should listen to there body........ sorry get off my soap box now.


Skippy x

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All pain is not alike. It isn’t just intensity either. Much has to do with it’s source.


Excluding pain that results from some medical procedure, pain from exercise can be thought either of as coming from muscles or joints. What I’ve learned over many years and different physical activities is that joint pain is more serious than muscle pain. If the pain is in a joint and it really hurts (no wuss pain), resting and seeking medical diagnosis and treatment is a good idea. In these cases meds are often prescribed and are effective.


If it is muscle pain, just ignore it. The single best way to deal with muscle pain is to exercise the muscle. In these cases, meds don’t seem to do much other than perhaps psychologically I think.


Of course, sometimes it is hard to tell if pain is in a muscle or joint. Pain can appear to be one place when its source is another place. In general, muscle pain tends to decrease (or seemingly vanish) with exercise, while joint pain worsens almost immediately.


And some pain is just age related. I remember reading once where Merce Cunningham said he now does exercise in bed so he can get out of bed. I chuckled at the time I read that, but now understand it completely.

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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned massage. I'm at the moment massagingmy peroneus with one hand and typing with hte other --


if it;'s lactic-acid pain, squeezing hte toxins out of hte muscles with your hands can promote good circulation and expedite getting that stuff metabolized and out of you... if it's an old injuy, like peroneustightness from a sprain a few years ago, inch by inch point pressure the whole length of the muscle, with careful attention to the place under the ankle-bone where it turns the corner and heads to the little toe, can make a LOT of difference in how you turn out in your tendus....


I do massage professionally, I admit, but long before I got trained my dad always wanted me to give him a back rub, maybe I just have a talent for it -- but nost people do, I think. It's something you can really do in a MILD way just from your intuition -- if the spot hurts, press on it gently for a while, rub in little circles etc -- don't over-do it, but DO do it several times a day....

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On another thread, someone wrote


Be sure you have an adequete supply of Advil in your medicine cabinet for post-class aches and pains


Is this a joke? Do people seriously take painkillers the day after class to deal with muscle aches? I am amazed - surely it can't be good to take these drugs on such a regular basis! I have never even considered doing anything more than having a nice hot bath to relax my achy muscles.

As the author of that comment, I have to admit it WAS a joke. My body won't tolerate most anti-inflammatories, but I've come to realize that is OK.


I've seen dancers eat Advil and its cousins like they were M&Ms. They need to realize their body is trying to tell them something such as they over-worked joints and muscles, or used bad technique. Pain is a valuable feedback mechanism.


My point in making the comment was that skipping 3 weeks of class is a guaranteed method of producing pain.

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As I don't live in the USA, I would like some of you to clarify what drug "Advil" is.


Thanks so much



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