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Physical Therapy for Dancers

contemporary dancer

Dancers need extraordinary strength, stability, and endurance. The postures and forces placed on the body are extreme and often (especially loading under extensive lumbar extension) defy basic principles of motion for the human body.

Many injuries such as Labral (cartilage) tears in the hip and shoulder, wrist sprains, herniated discs, and countless others can and will arise for dancers because the lack of control or stability through these excessive forces and positions.

I have found working with some dancers of all ages the need to incorporate programs that introduce a specialized type of control called Neuromuscular Re-education (NMR).

NMR is the fine tuning of one’s unconscious mind to the body’s awareness of itself and will secure the needed control through particular ranges of motion. With resistive holds through small ranges, we can build a stronger connection for the brain to recognize newer movements in what was once a weaker pattern. There are a bunch of these exercises on our YouTube.

For more benefit a subset of NMR is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) which incorporates larger control through patterns that exist in our body can be used. PNF increases the strength and explosiveness yet maintains the flexibility and control the dancer requires.

I have found that NMR is essential for all physical artists in order to endure the stresses. I work hard to balance the view of the human body and how it moves, with the instructors’ and the dancers’ goals in mind, to help ensure that they maintain a healthy spine, but also allow them to dance at a high level at any age.

Heal smarter, not harder!

Dr. Justin C. Lin

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