Chiropractic and Dance - A Match Made in Heaven
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring - this is something we’re discovering more and more as time passes. With the introduction of fun gym classes and as certain sports become more accessible, we’re learning that exercise can actually be rather fun. Instead of running on a treadmill for hours on end, we can exercise while spending time with friends and learning new skills.
Along with others, something that springs to mind in this regard is dance. Dancing is a great way to get the body moving and the blood flowing while having fun with friends and meeting new people. For others, it’s a chance to spend time with partners; doing something new and fun to liven up a relationship.
As well as the physical benefits, dancing is known to boost the neurotransmitters that improve mood (in addition to endorphins) so there’s a mental benefit too.
Despite all the benefits (and there are lots!), there’s also a downside to dancing; it can be taxing for the body. If you dance professionally, you’ll know this better than most. With intense and sudden movements, the joints and muscles can wear easily.
If you like to keep up to date with dancing trends, you’ll know that many professionals are now starting to visit chiropractors in an attempt to keep their body prepared for dancing. At the same time, working with a chiropractor can strengthen muscles, align the spine, and even improve a diet.
With this in mind, at Carpe Diem Chiropractic, we’ve actually opened up our service to dancers who work on cruise ships; even if you’re a casual dancer who happens to be on a cruise. If you’re docking in Fort Lauderdale, we would love to hear from you; Dr. Barak Meraz is experienced in this area and he’s ready to help!
- Physical Demands of Dancing
We would never want to steer you away from something you love, and dancing is something that brings many physical and mental benefits to those who partake in the activity. Whether you’re working on the cruise ship and dancing professionally or taking classes once a week with friends, family, or a partner, these same benefits apply.
As we’ve already discovered, dancing can also bring lots of stress for the body. Not only during training or a performance, but your body is also under pressure before and after too. If we think about performances, both your nervous system and your brain are working overtime just to keep you upright and following the music. As well as moving your muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the right way, the whole body needs to remain balanced. The stronger your balance and coordination, the more likely you are to make the correct movements (and get a standing ovation at the end!).
We’ve broken down the physical demands below;
- Coordination - Dancers often adhere to choreography that’s always changing, and this means different groups of muscles are required. As movement patterns change, the body develops complex movements. When it comes to technique, coordination is everything.
- Alignment - Even beginners can make the same movements as the professionals, but it’s the effortless nature of moving from one position to the next that makes a dancer so successful. Sometimes known as ‘placement’, alignment describes the efficient movement that’s required of the body.
- Flexibility - Of course, no dancer will be able to make elaborate movements without first having the flexibility in the tissue. Although different types of dancing will have different levels of required flexibility, all dancers need the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to work together to provide flexibility.
- Strength - Next, dancing isn’t just about exerting as much energy as possible in a short amount of time. Instead, it sometimes requires slow and controlled movements. Often, these deliberate movements require bodyweight to be shifted to one leg or in an awkward way and this is where the body requires strength. Elsewhere, you might push yourself from the floor explosively or lift a dance partner.
- Endurance - While there are others, the final physical demand we’ll include in this list is aerobic endurance. If your aerobic capacity is low, you’ll feel fatigued much quicker and this leads to aching and, the one thing dancers dread, injuries. With the right aerobic endurance, everything improves including energy, overall health, stress, injury risk, concentration, and stamina.
As you can see, the body can go through quite a ride during a dance class, lesson, and performance. Fortunately, a chiropractor can improve many of these factors and ensure that your body is in the right place to handle dance classes effectively. Even if you aren’t injured, we can still help at Carpe Diem Chiropractic so don’t wait until the worst happens.
- The Nervous System
Over the years, technology has allowed chiropractors to learn more about the body, particularly the spine, than ever before. The reason dancers have taken to chiropractors (and vice versa) is that these medical professionals can assist with the nervous system, spinal positioning and movement, and overall body performance. Many of the elements required for dance directly correlate to the work of a chiropractor.
When the body calls on your balance and coordination, this activates the nervous system at the same time. While we all have the capabilities, the nervous system is forced into working at a higher level than normal. Sadly, the range of motion in the spinal joints can sometimes be restricted and this has a negative impact on the nervous system.
What does all this mean? Your ability to coordinate and balance movements and muscles will depend on your nervous system and effective alignment of the spine. By ensuring your spine is aligned with chiropractic adjustments, you’ll have the full range of motion and your nervous system won’t be restricted as before (in other words, you can dance with freedom!).
By allowing the nervous system optimum conditions, you will also have the optimal body and brain communication. In dancing terms, you can enjoy more fluid movements, you’ll have the strength and endurance, and each session will last longer than normal.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to dance without restriction? This is essentially what we aim for at Carpe Diem Chiropractic, and it’s a journey you can start while docked in Fort Lauderdale.
- Pain Relief with Chiropractic
Even if you haven’t been injured or hurt from dancing yourself, you probably know somebody that has because it’s common (to say the least!). Recently, specialists have come to realize that the majority of injuries in dancing are a result of overuse in the body. Common injuries include;
- Achilles tendonitis
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Trigger toe
- Labral tears in the hip
- Snapping hip syndrome
- Lumbar spine damage
- Hip bursitis
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Hip flexor tendonitis
- Various stress fractures
While some injuries are obvious and cause instant pain, others lead to soreness and aching. As we continue to dance on, the injury gets worse until it’s career-threatening. If you’re experiencing soreness/pain and aren’t sure whether or not it’s related to dancing, look out for the following signs;
- It returns every time you exercise
- It wakes you up at night
- It prevents you from getting comfortable in bed or on the sofa
- It never seems to fade
- You find yourself adjusting weight or actively avoiding certain movements
As soon as you experience any of the above, this suggests a major problem (and one we should see at Carpe Diem!).
Again, we return here to the nervous system. With correct spinal joint function and a working nervous system, the body knows exactly what to do and pain should reduce. What’s more, this should also reduce the likelihood of experiencing more serious injuries in the long-term.
- Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Dancers
If you’re a dancer on a cruise ship and you’re soon to be rolling into Fort Lauderdale, you need some simple reasons as to why you should visit Dr. Barak Meraz. Fear no more, we have this list below!
You don’t even have to be a dancer to enjoy this benefit, and a poorly aligned spine is something that causes pain and discomfort to millions every single year. When the spine isn’t aligned correctly, this can cause inflammation and pinched nerves. In turn, inflammation causes soreness, discomfort, and stiffness (all things that will hinder dancers).
While a misaligned spine is always a problem, it becomes even more serious for dancers. As you’re doing intense dance moves and putting your spine under pressure, the problem is only going to get worse and the threat of a long-term injury becomes real.
We’ve already covered this one extensively, so we don’t need to go into too much detail. However, an improvement in the nervous system will allow for the coordination and balance you desire as a dancer. You can only improve your technique so much, but if your body isn’t playing ball, you’re only ever going to be an average dancer. Why not give your mind the body it deserves to become an awesome dancer?
In this guide, we’ve focused heavily on getting your body into a position that welcomes dancing (rather than hating it!). What if you’re already injured? Well, chiropractors can also be used as part of the rehabilitation process. In fact, many prefer the methods of chiropractors because they’ll try to repair the problem without the use of drugs and with a holistic approach.
With adjustments, soft tissue massage therapy, and many other techniques, the aim will be to create the environment your body needs to heal…in the right way.
When you stop off in Fort Lauderdale, you could visit a doctor and ask for drugs. However, we believe that drugs only mask the problem. The pain or discomfort might go away for a little while, but it will soon return. Why keep masking the underlying problem when you can deal with it with a chiropractor?
Another key feature of chiropractic care is the desire to keep dancers free from injury. Dealing with an injury is one thing, putting your body in a position where the chance of the injury returning is small is another entirely. Even after an injury has been resolved, you can continue working with Dr. Meraz for the reasons we’ve already discussed (to enjoy your dancing career for as long as possible!).
Finally, dancers can benefit from chiropractors because these professionals are more than just a one-trick pony. It isn’t just spinal manipulations in each appointment, you’ll receive advice on stretching, dieting, warming up, cooling down, and other lifestyle information. Although you’re probably tired of hearing it, chiropractors care about ALL of you rather than fixing one problem in isolation.
- Dance and Chiropractic - The Ideal Team
If you’re on a cruise ship and will soon be docking in Fort Lauderdale, consider visiting our brilliant facilities at Carpe Diem Chiropractic. Though there are some serious physical demands with dancing, chiropractic care can help to prolong your career and keep you healthy in the long-term. Rather than dreading performances and struggling to get comfortable while doing something simple like reading, encourage proper function with a professional.
If you have any questions, feel free to visit the FAQs section of our website or get in touch today. On our contact page, you’ll find an option to call us directly or fill out your details in a contact form. With the latter, you can describe your motivation for seeking chiropractic help and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.
With your spine aligned and your body in a position to excel, you can enjoy your dancing once again!
The Cruise Ship Dancer: Your Opportunities
In years gone by, dancing has been something of a hobby and the opportunities to turn it into a career have been few and far between. Today, young dancers have plenty of options with dance companies, musicals, cruise ships, and lots more besides.
For many, seeing cruise ships in this list may be something of a surprise but the niche has undergone a revolution in recent times. With technology only improving, the introduction of state-of-the-art ships means that cruises now offer everything from ice rinks to theatres. With this in mind, the demand for talented performers has gone through the roof.
Life as a Cruise Ship Dancer
If you’ve been on a cruise previously, you’ll know that the modern ships are like a full community on the water. While some like to sit by a pool, others prefer to shop and enjoy the entertainment. As a performer, your role will completely depend on your contract and the schedule arranged by the cruise ship company.
For most dancers, they aren’t required to perform every single night because many lines have special guest acts who join the cruise for a day or two to perform before leaving again. As part of the production cast, you’ll stay on board for the entirety of the cruise and your free nights may just allow you to enjoy the comedians, tribute acts, and other specialists. Most cruise lines allow performers to dine with guests and enjoy the shows in their free time.
Traveling and Living the Dream?
As we talk about cruise ships, the first thing that grabbed your attention was probably the opportunity to travel the world…and this is natural. Who doesn’t dream of dancing in the evenings and then laying on a Caribbean beach in the day?
However, we wouldn’t want you to sell you a lie because this will also be your job. As well as the dance performances, you’ll be rehearsing for much of the time. With some companies, you’ll even be expected to run dance classes for guests, help behind the scenes for other acts, offer backstage tours, and host all sorts of other events.
Since you’ll officially be a crew member, you’ll also have a safety duty whether this is helping with safety announcements or looking after a particular lifeboat station in an emergency. Of course, you’ll be required to undergo appropriate training and each cruise will have regular drills to ensure you understand your role.
If you love dancing and want to see the world, these extra responsibilities will be a breeze. Although contracts vary, they generally last up to 10 months and repositioning is possible within a contract (so you might see more of the world than you initially planned!). Aside from extra duties, performances are at night so the rest of your time during the day is your own. You can relax with a cocktail on the beach, explore the new city, hike, enjoy watersports, and do whatever else you wish.
Starting as a Cruise Ship Dancer
Rather than getting thrown straight into the action, most companies will allow their new dancers some time behind the scenes. Before you ever step foot on a ship, you’ll learn everything in a rehearsal space before then getting on board and learning the schedule and how everything works.
During the rehearsal period, you get to know your fellow cast members, and this is the time to make friends because they’ll be your colleagues for the next few months. In fact, you may just be sharing a cabin with one castmate so don’t be afraid to start bonding with others. If you don’t strike it off with somebody immediately, don’t worry too much because the cabins are only really used for sleeping.
Before any of this, however, you first need to master the audition. Since dance productions and performances have come a long way in recent years, you’ll need to show your versatility to succeed. Rather than a simple routine, some cruise companies, like Royal Caribbean Cruise, set up Broadway musicals for guests to enjoy. Instead of a stepping stone, a cruise ship job has become the destination for many because the standards are so high.
Why is versatility important? In addition to known musicals, you may be asked to perform in original productions which may be a different style of dance.
Casting Advice - Sandie Backus has been a casting specialist for Royal Caribbean for some time and she says talent is an important factor. With so many people applying for each position, casting directors can be picky and look for high-quality movement, strength, technique, fitness/endurance, and maturity.
According to Sandie, there’s another important factor that often goes forgotten; clothing. In her experience, it’s best for dancers to show off their body with the clothing they wear. This doesn’t necessarily mean sticking with traditional dancewear, but the clothing should flatter the body. For example, a recent trend has seen dancers wear shorts and skirts to auditions.
To extend the lines for women, leggings or fitted dance pants can be perfect. On the other hand, men should consider leggings or anything tight so movements can be properly assessed (loose clothing can often hide this important information).
Finally, you must remember to feel comfortable in the outfit you choose. If it’s restricting your movement and preventing you from performing to the best of your ability, lose it. Instead, you should feel free to shine.
Get Your Cruise Ship Dance Career Started Today
If you want to be considered for this fantastic career, start by researching on the websites of popular cruise lines. Often, they’ll have sections specifically for those who want to get involved with the entertainment. Otherwise, feel free to email the companies and follow their instructions. If they need dancers for a new cast, you may be invited for an audition. From here, you’ll need to keep impressing as the casting directors make their decision for the cast.
Most importantly, dancing on a cruise ship is now a valid career choice. As you dance the nights away and discover new countries during the day, it’s a lifestyle many people desire. Will you be the next to join the dream?
Chiropractors for Cruise Ship Dancers in Fort Lauderdale
While some people use their minds to earn money, others are able to use their bodies, and this is true of dancers. Impressing crowds that wish they were able to do the same, dancers are lucky enough to live a dream career that many people desire. However, it’s not all roses because dancers have to deal with constant discomfort and pain.
Did you know that most dancers would see improvements in this area after visiting a chiropractor? Often, the pain and discomfort are caused by a misalignment in the spine and joints. When left untreated, this can lead to inflammation and more health problems. Fortunately, Carpe Diem Chiropractic is here to help!
Dr. Barak Meraz is experienced at treating cruise ship dancers, so when your ship docks a Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, make it a point to see Dr. Barak Meraz who can treat the pain and discomfort you may be experiencing as a cruise ship dancer.
Common Injuries for Dancers
In our time helping those in Fort Lauderdale, we’ve come across several different injuries. Yet, there are some key themes and you’ll find them below.
Firstly, it’s believed that one in every ten Americans struggles with some form of neck pain. When it comes to dancers and other performers, the number is even higher, and we’ve seen it frequently at Carpe Diem Chiropractic.
In case you were unaware, there are a number of sensitive parts to the neck. Considering dancers tend to use this area more than most, it’s perhaps not surprising that injuries in this area are so common. With overuse and stress, the pain can often radiate to the back and into the head in the form of migraines and headaches.
As well as dancing, neck pain can also be caused by poor posture, previous injuries, and long periods of sitting. Fortunately, spinal alignments can relieve some of the tension and relieve pain in the neck. As a dancer, this will allow you more freedom and the full range of motion for performances.
Moving down the spine a little, we have the leading cause of disability for those aged between 18 and 46. Again, this is a problem that can be caused by poor posture. Additionally, dancers may have the incorrect lifting technique when dancing with others and overuse can cause stress on the area. In addition to the initial problem of back pain, it’s often made worse by the fact that most people avoid medical treatment.
For some, it gets to the point where their dancing ability deteriorates, and they’re forced to retire. If it still isn’t treated, back pain can really impact one’s day-to-day routines. Eventually, there will be no other option but to operate.
Luckily, chiropractic care is centered around holistic treatment which means focusing on the whole body, staying away from medication, and trying to prevent surgery at all costs. Instead of the short-term solution of drugs, we look for ways to reduce the pain for good.
Lower Back Pain
Towards the bottom of the spine, this is where problems occur for the majority of Americans. After a long day at work, we can expect some level of aching, but it should never stick around for long periods or affect simple tasks in life.
When it comes to performers, lower back pain is even more dangerous because the body is forced to adjust. To alleviate pain, the body will compensate, and this negatively impacts muscular strength, balance, and coordination (three skills that are essential to dance!).
When left without medical attention, this is where it really gets serious because it can limit mobility. Suddenly, you may find it hard to stand or even sit comfortably. If you’ve been experiencing lower back pain in recent times, we urge you to get in touch because the problem will only get worse (it’s not something that can heal itself!).
Visiting a Chiropractor
If we’re looking for the difference between a dancer with a prolonged career and one that retired earlier, there’s a common theme; the body. Since this is your tool, you need to take care, ensure that it’s healthy, and will keep you dancing for years to come. As a cruise ship dancer, the structure of your body is essential, and this is where a chiropractor comes in.
Located in Fort Lauderdale very close to Port Everglades where the cruise ships dock, we have an extensive history in working with cruise ship dancers and it’s more than just the back. We can actually help in numerous areas including;
- Headaches and migraines
- Limbs and extremity numbness (hands, legs, arms, and feet)
- Arm, shoulder, and wrist issues
- Problems with the foot, hip, knee, and leg
- Back and neck pain/discomfort
If you aren’t sure whether or not your pain/discomfort is anything serious, the best solution will be to visit us anyway. With the right training and experience, the professionals here at Carpe Diem Chiropractic are experts in diagnosis as well as treatment. If there’s a problem with the joints, and this is impacting the nervous system, we’ll soon highlight it.
Considering the nervous system is involved, we should also mention that it doesn’t even need to be crippling pain. Sometimes, a pinched nerve can cause numbness or a tingling sensation instead. Interestingly, the spine connects to most parts of the upper body. Therefore, numbness in the lower arm could actually be a result of the upper neck (cervical) misalignment. By realigning this, everything frees up, the tension disappears, and the lower arm returns to normal.
Thanks to our experience, we’re now familiar with most of the problems that plague cruise ship dancers and we also know how to help. In some cases, spinal manipulation and adjustment will be required. In others, your treatment plan may include soft tissue massage therapy, stretching, muscle stimulation, ultrasound therapy, and even lifestyle or diet counseling.
Carpe Diem Chiropractic
If you recognize anything that we’ve mentioned in the information above, it’s important you reach out to a professional. Why risk a career-ending health problem when chiropractors have the experience and skills to resolve such issues? Even if no serious problem is found, at least you can benefit from; a) the peace of mind and b) the advice you receive on stretching before and after a performance, lifestyle habits, and nutrition.
Feel free to call us today to speak to our passionate and dedicated chiropractor, Dr. Barak Meraz!