Minor Setback

I have encountered a minor setback on my way back to a full dance schedule: I have managed to damage my adductors on the other side. It was probably the Copenhagen adduction that did it. It’s fairly painful, but still appears to be just a minor strain and not a tear, since it materialized slowly in the course of the afternoon after my last session.

This has happened once before – the very first time I tried the Copenhagen. Back then, Mr. Adorable quickly brought me back up to speed with his mad skillz, so I called him first thing yesterday and dropped by in the afternoon for a nice but slightly awkward massage. (It’s a lot less awkward than it used to be, but he’s still disconcertingly good-looking and he keeps watching me closely to gauge my reaction to whatever he’s doing.) Mr. Adorable calls the massage «manual soft tissue techniques», which 1) helps stop people confusing physiotherapists with masseurs and 2) is a seriously cool technical term for something mundane.

He did try to cheer me up during the session, saying it was bitter this had happened right before ballet was due to start. It is bitter and I appreciated both the cheering up and the massage manual soft tissue techniques. During the session, we talked about the psychological effect on the perception on pain. This appears to be a topic that he finds particularly fascinating. I also got the impression that he knows it’s very relevant to me. I told him from the start that dancing was important but never admitted the gut-wrenching despair I sometimes feel when I’m unable to dance due to an injury. I must’ve looked more dejected than I thought.

The topic was also quite interesting in and of itself. Since pain is registered by the peripheral neurons but processed in the brain, it can be amplified, reduced or even created by your expectations and mental state. Mr. Adorable told me of a cool case, which I went and dug up on the internet: it was published as a brief observation in the British Medical Journal on January 7, 1995. You can find the (paywalled) original source here.

A 29-year-old builder accidentally got a huge nail straight through his foot. It penetrated right behind the steel toecap of his boot, causing him to repair to the nearest hospital in agony. (I understad having 15 centimeters of steel embedded in your foot is anything but pleasant.) The medical staff pumped him full of fentanyl, pulled the nail out and took his shoe off, only to find that the nail had never been in his foot in the first place: it had gone right between his toes. The pain he had felt was quite real, though. You can read more about this phenomenon here.

Mr. Adorable postulated that, had I incurred this injury two years ago, I would’ve hardly noticed it before it was all healed up. Now, since I’ve been struggling with my adductors for such a long time, I’m hyper-aware of any issues with them and the fresh injury is significantly more painful than it could have been. I’m inclined to believe him. I do get anxious about injuries, often beyond all reason. This comic by Sarah Andersen illustrates it wonderfully.

I hate not being able to dance. But in this case, I also have some factors that are on my side. One of the most important ones is Mr. Adorable himself, trust in your therapist being an important step towards the success of the therapy. It also helps that I got over this injury very quickly last time, with his help.

I’m sad I will miss today’s ballet class, the first of this term and the first with a new teacher, as well as Friday’s modern. But I refuse to mope around and will be taking a leaf from the book of Monty Python’s Black Knight: ‘Tis but a scratch!

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