Guest Post: Inactive Recovery

5281539131_7b6bd70ed3_zInactive Recovery. Two words that can drive me in to a melt down that challenges any a toddler can throw.

Because it starts as nothing.  It stats as twinge after class. A little extra ache after a long day. So you take a few ibuprofen and maybe cut down a class or two. But it’s not helping. In fact, it’s getting worse, from a nagging little thing to a searing pain any time you jump, or do a little too much walking. It hurts when you’re doing nothing at all.

So you go to your doctor. He suggests more rest, more ibuprofen, and to let your pain be your guide. But what he doesn’t understand is that you are a  warrior, you are an athlete. You push harder, work harder and live with pain daily. You welcome it. It’s proof that you’re working hard enough.

But it’s not getting better. This time there are x-rays, and a walking boot, to slow you down. So you do the math, and start calculating how to use the rest of your muscles without using that one part of that one leg. You’re swimming and doing crunches, because those seem okay.

You’re still going to class, and just trying to hide the injury. If your teachers find out, they might not let you take class. That would be the worst. Because you just made pointe. Or mastered a decent pirouette. You’re not ready to admit defeat. You’re careful not to limp out of class, and don’t cry until you get to your car.

You don’t tell your friends, or write about it on social media, you don’t want word to get out. You don’t want the sympathy, or the empathy, you want to be back in the studio, working.

So you go to your doctor again. You discuss your fairly vague diagnosis, something about a tired tendon, and over use. Something non-specific, and there’s only one real treatment plan. Inactive recovery.

Inactive recovery means doing nothing. Inactive recovery means not fighting through it, but accepting and embracing the fact that the best thing you can do is nothing. Sit more. Walk less. There’s no war, no challenging choreography to cover, no death defying physical feat. There is nothing to do but wait.

And it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done as a dancer.

Image via Flickr User Quinn Dombrowski

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