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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Guest beckster

post-class aches and pains

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Mel Johnson

Note the very important statement on etiology (cause or source): The activity level must take a rapid increase in order for DOMS to set in. So yes, if you have microtears in the muscles, they must be allowed time to heal. That's why people who teach professional companies don't suddenly bomb them with monster combinations that will stress them. 72 hours on the injured list makes difficulties in all sorts of professional obligations, rehearsals, performances, touring....

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Guest Zarafa

On the topic of aches and pains, I wanted to make the point that these are a normal part of the body's healing process - they are there to point out the damage to you that you have inflicted on your body.


I had a blood test recently, the morning after taking a dance class. Well, the blood test came back - and my LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) and CPK (creatinine kinase) were highly elevated.


The level of these enzymes is elevated in the blood when there has been muscle damage in the body (typically after a heart attack - you'll be pleased to hear that I hadn't had a heart attack).. During muscle damage, muscle cells break open and their contents find their way into the bloodstream. Because most of the CPK in the body normally exists in muscle, a rise in the amount of CPK in the blood indicates that muscle damage has occurred, or is occurring.


LDH catalyzes the interconversion of pyruvate and lactate. Exercising muscles convert (and red blood cells metabolize) glucose to lactate. Lactate is released into the blood and is eventually taken up by the liver. The liver converts lactate back to glucose and releases glucose into the blood. This glucose is then taken up by resting muscles, red blood cells, and other tissues.


My doctor attributed the elevated levels to dancing - and said that as we dance, small amounts of muscle damage (tiny tiny tears in muscle fibre etc) occur in the body (e.g. in the calves after jumping etc) , and the elevated levels were a sign of this. No wonder you have aches & pains!

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Mel Johnson

Exactly right, Zarafa! :wink: This is part of my old line, "pain can be your friend". It takes experience to sort out the ordinary, relatively benign aches and pains that can be worked through, and the ones that are the signals of the beginning of the acute phase of a threatening injury.

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Kate B, I think moderate stretching is what they recommend, as you need to get that scar tissue to become pliant and as flexible as the original was. :wink:

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Kate B

Thanks Xena! :wink:

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Amy Reusch

So now I'm wondering about that stiffness that results from scar tissue in the muscle....


think about those days when one comes to class still stiff and sore from the last class (with the emphasis on "stiff")...


It seems it would be optimum to develop flexibility in that new tissue before making additional tears? or does it not really matter?


I'm thinking about how whenever I'm coming back from a longish break, how that first day back there's all that wonderful flexibility... weakness to be sure, but a certain amount of placed flexibility... and then the next classes back the stiffness forces me out of proper placement, and I seem to get stiffer and stiffer for a long while before the flexibility and placement returns again...


What should one do? Stay out of class until the soreness is gone? (although the exercise itself seems to help clean out some of the soreness)? Force of habit is the only way I get myself to class... if I began evaluating each time whether it was a good idea to go, I'd probably not get there much!


And continuing on the idea of scar tissue in the micro tears... there was a pointe exercise that I was fond of doing as a strengthening thing... we'd go up to full point and then just roll down to 3/4 and back up... back and forth several times... it was good for strengthening that articulation there... but now I'm wondering if it wasn't contributing to tendonitis in my heel/ankles... I've been given to understand that there isn't much room there for all the tendons to slide around so that if one gets inflamed, it tends to rub against the others and get them inflamed as well... I've always blamed the scar tissue problem on multiple ankle sprains, but now I'm wondering how much this exercise exacerbated the problem.

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I have to be desperate to take any NSAIDs (like for post surgical pain that I know will subside in 3 days) because I know the stuff eats my stomach. Dosing only fter a large meal and adding something like a Zantac is the only ay I can stand them for that long. I would rather take a bath in something like Traumeel or Topricin if such a bath product exists.
I get DOMS starting within a few hours of every class, no matter how often I am taking class. I could never take the stuff as often as I take class. For me it is often better the next day, but might increase by the 24 hour mark or it might not.
I suspect this might be age because I remember 30 odd years ago that there was a 12 to 24 hour delay for the start of it; even if it was going to be a nasty 3 day kind of sore from the first few classes of a fall semester after no classes all summer.
As it is it could be age, or my 45 minute drive home, or some nutritional thing I have yet to discover with experimentation. I have not found much info about it online. No matter. Early onset or not, I suppose I am in good company and any pain I earn is better than the pain from sitting around NOT taking class.
Can one invest in Epsom Salts companies? I should have done that years ago if one can....

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