I’ve been having lower back pain since I was 15 years old. I remember walking off stage during a dress rehearsal and suddenly not being able to stand up straight. It was like my lower back was saying, “F*!@ you!” I remember crying and feeling like I was letting my company down by not being able to perform. I’m sure they had to scramble to fix formations and I hated being the person that caused that. All of us dancers know how annoying it can be to have changes the day of the show.
I ended up going to a Chiropractor, who I still see today when I’m in town. Yay for Candace! She explained to me about my lower vertebrae showing subluxation, meaning one or a couple of them were either slightly twisted or being compacted. I saw her for a couple of weeks and I started feeling much better.
Fast forward to college and I had something similar happened again a couple of times. But the worst was of course right before I was headed to Alvin Ailey for the summer. This one was pretty bad and I ended up sitting out of class for 2-3 weeks. I ended up recovering eventually and had a great time in New York. Although, I think it was there that I broke the bone in my foot that in the end de-railed my dreams of a dance career. Go figure.
Now, I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 7 years; tomorrow is my anniversary of moving here (thanks, Dad). I’ve had about 4 issues with my lower back since then. I’ve had 2 since starting Pilates and have noticed my recovery time is that much quicker. Growing up dancing, we were never taught how to take care of our bodies. We were never showed how much maintenance was required to keep our bodies in tip top shape. Our ballet teachers wanted us to perform at our highest ability but they were not giving us all the resources necessary to let us do so. I did learn a little more in college, but Pilates and Gyrotonic would have been so beneficial for all of us.
So this most recent set back has derailed my 30 days of mat work. I will hopefully resume that in October. I rested for two days after and have slowly started doing a few exercises. I’m also spending a lot of time stretching. I’ve got quads and hip flexors made of rocks (work in progress). Hundreds is a great way to get back into it and see how your body is feeling. (If you have any neck or shoulder issues, keeping your head down is totally appropriate)
I did this series with my legs straight up to the ceiling instead of hovering off the ground. Every 30 pumps or so I would lower my legs a little and see how it felt. I’m sticking with Hundreds for now and will be adding in some back extension later today.