I just had a fast & furious Twitter exchange with a Tweep of mine (Twitter pal), sharing the basics of the Dancing with Pain® method, hoping it would help with her back that had just gone out (like a rubber band snaps, she said). It got me to thinking about a way of sharing with people the fundamental principle of Dancing with Pain®: Isolate and dance.
Mind you, I speak as someone who has experienced chronic and debilitating pain all over my body, with levels as high as a 9 on that ridiculous 1-10 scale. I’ve had pain in my head, both ears, right eye, right forearms and hand, both wrists, neck, every part of my back, both hips, down the backs of my legs, thigh/inner groin area on both sides (though mostly the right), both knees, both ankles, even a toe or two thrown in for good measure.
And I have learned to dance with pain anywhere in my body, sometimes in many places simultaneously – not only without exacerbating the pain, but healing and relieving the pain. Here’s how: If you have pain in your back, isolate it and move the rest of your body. In other words, keep your back perfectly still, and get your jiggle on in your arms and legs. Maybe also your head, though that might trigger upper back pain. Don’t forget your eyes, jaw, and tongue! They can move while keeping your head perfectly still.
If you have pain in your feet and/or legs, dance in a chair! Problem solved. Don’t move from your butt down. There’s a whole lot of body to dance up above – torso, spine, shoulders, arms, head, neck, and that whole face thing. You can go up, down, side to side, circling around. Play with it.
If your upper body is in pain, make like a Riverdance troupe member. Keep your whole upper body still, and move your lower body. You may not be able to bounce, because that might trigger pain in your upper body, but you can do some low impact moves on the floor.
The bottom line is this: You know what you can’t move and how you can’t move it. Find out what you can move and how you can move it. Never, ever jack up your pain. If you find yourself in more pain dancing than not dancing, stop. Find the place of movement that is comfortable and pleasurable. For some people, that might just be in your imagination. So start there.