I have an injury / reoccurring pain / psychological concern that is affecting my ability to dance, what should I do?
STEP 1. Seek help. If you have an physical injury, psychological concern, or niggling pain that is not going away, it is always best to get it checked out by a healthcare practitioner as soon as you can. If you need help trying to decide which type of practitioner to see go to our Which Practitioner? page for more information. You can also learn what to expect when seeing a healthcare practitioner
STEP 2. Finding a dance-specialist healthcare practitioner. If your injury, concern, or niggle is dance-related and is affecting your ability to dance it is best to try and make sure you see someone who understands dance and the demands of dance on the body and mind. You can either choose private or free / reduced cost services through the NHS or charities for dance specific healthcare.
- One Dance UK’s Healthcare Practitioners Directory lists healthcare practitioners who can provide specialist treatment and rehabilitation for dancers’ physical and psychological health and performance.
- National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS) partners Trinity Laban and Birmingham Royal Ballet offer private treatment services for dancers in London and Birmingham.
- Osteopathic Performing Arts Care Association (OPACA) provides osteopathic care for dancers, circus artists, and other performing artists.
- Free or reduced cost support via the NHS or charities
- If you cannot afford to see a private practitioner, which is usually the quickest way of getting treatment, then you can access the NIDMS NHS Dance Injury Clinics via your GP.
- The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) provides free assessment and referral for performing artists, including vocalists, musicians, and actors.
- The Equity Charitable Trust makes grants to Equity members facing financial hardship and the Evelyn Norris Trust (ENT) provides Equity members support towards rest, recuperation and convalescence.
- The Dance Professionals Fund provides grants for injury costs, counseling, retraining bursaries, and financial support.
STEP 3. Mind the mind. Remember that physical injury may affect more than just your body. Psychological support during injury and rehabilitation can support your mental wellbeing and recovery.
- Seek support and talk about emotions and thoughts with friends, family, or others you trust
- See a mental health practitioner who is experienced in working with dancers, many are listed on our Healthcare Practitioners Directory
- Learn more about the psychological aspects of injury
STEP 4. Have a rehab plan. Remember that you need to have a plan for gradually returning to dance following an injury. Don’t be tempted to return before you are ready. Your rehab plan should be informed by you, your healthcare practitioner, and a knowledgeable teacher or coach who can help you build yourself back up to normal.
STEP 5. Plan for the future. Insurance and cash plans can help defray the costs of healthcare for injury and illness when it happens.
- Performance Optimisation Package: One Dance UK offers a health cash plan through BHSF starting at just £80 per year (under £7 per month) which includes cover for therapies, diagnostic consultation, dental, optical, gym membership, and GP, counseling, and legal advice helplines.
- Members of Equity can access reduced cost Personal Accident Cover (for members) including dental, optical, hospital benefit; MRI Accident Cover (for members) of up to £1,000 in respect of the cost of either an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging scan) or RIB (radio isotope bone scan) if appropriate and associated expenses following a work-related accident. The Equity Dance Passport provides Equity dancers and choreographers access to support and services from unions throughout Europe. They also provide a Bullying and Harassment Reporting Line. For more information, visit: https://www.equity.org.uk/at-work/insurance-benefits/
In the meantime, if the injury is acute (i.e. happened suddenly, recently and is swollen) follow the PRICE Principle.
- Protect the site of injury from further damage.
- Rest (often this need only be ‘modified rest’ for the injured body part, rather than complete rest) to encourage healing and prevent further injury.
- Apply Ice as soon as possible (wrapped in a damp towel, not directly to the skin or you will risk burning it).
- Compress the injury site using a bandage.
- Elevate the injured body part – all of which will help to reduce blood flow to the injured area discouraging swelling and preventing secondary tissue damage.
©One Dance UK