Long-term injuries are one of the hardest things to overcome as a dancer and your outlook is everything in making it through this process. When in the face of an injury, it is incredibly easy to give up and let the injury take over, but the light that an injury can create could be all that you never knew you needed.
Personally, I’ve dealt with pain in my back for the majority of my life as a dancer. However last summer I developed a sharp pain in my lower spine and right away I was aware that this pain was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. Knowing this, the decision to go to the doctor was a must. I attended multiple doctors where I was given x-rays that showed nothing, and despite this fact, the pain was too great to be dismissed as a simple ache. It was decided that I would need an MRI, which then showed that I had multiple bulging discs in my lumbar spine. I was told I would need to participate in spinal decompression in order to relieve the pressure and pain of my back. The news of my new injury was devastating as I was told I would not be able to dance for possibly months.
Fall classes were starting for dance, and I was no t able to participate.
I sat out for three months, not being able to dance at all as small movements caused great amounts of pain. Towards the second month of sitting out and watching all my friends do what I loved, I began to become hopeless. My back seemed as if it was not getting any better and going to the studio purely reminded me that I was not able to do what I loved. But soon enough, the treatment was finished, and I was back to dancing. The first day I was able to dance again, my happiness and pure love for dance was back and greater than ever.
After my doctor told me I could begin to dance again, I expected to jump right back in without any troubles. But this was not the case, my body needed to regain strength and work slowly into dancing full out again. For about two months, I danced without being able to jump or bend my spine. Once I was able to fully dance again, the recovery process began to increase and soon enough I was back to dancing like myself again.
Dealing with my back injury was the hardest yet most educational experience I have had as a competitive dancer. Being held back from dancing truly taught me how much I loved it and the joy that it brought me. I came back stronger than ever with more love for dance than I had ever thought possible. Without this injury, I would have never realized how much I needed dance in my life.
Injuries are incredibly hard but can teach you so much about yourself and your passion for what you do. Not just in dance, but in any sport, hobby or activity. Let your setbacks create new love and passion for your favorite activities.