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Laura Donlan

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Recent Posts

4 MYTHS ABOUT BACK PAIN

2/22/16 11:22 AM

As a Physical Therapist, I am asked a lot of questions about low back pain. With so much information available to us online from various sources - both reliable and unreliable, both too general and too specific, it is hard to know what to believe is truth or the best practice for most individuals. These are general guidelines to get you started based upon the common questions I am asked.


 

Sitting:

 

I know I have a lot of comfy places to sit at home, couch, recliner, love seat and this is often where I end up sitting at the end of the day. I have had many patients come and say they sit on their couch with their feet on the coffee table or sit in their recliner with their feet up.  They say, it feels great while sitting there, then it is painful getting up due to low back pain. This is because your spine is flexed or rounded especially when you have your feet up. This is one position you want to try and avoid at home. Try to sit with your feet on the floor and try not to slouch when sitting at home.  Try sitting in a more upright chair, kitchen chair or dining room chair. I know these aren’t as comfortable but they are better for your back.

 

 

Ice or heat?

 

If you just hurt your back yesterday, then ice is the answer. Ice is good for new or acute injuries for 24-48 hours. Ice helps to decrease the blood flow to the area which helps to decrease pain and inflammation. If an area is swollen or bruised, use ice.  Now if you have had back pain fo

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: hip pain, Low back pain, pain, tips, back pain, lumbar pain

3 WAYS TO BEAT BACK PAIN WITH IMPROVED POSTURE

2/12/16 2:02 PM

Back pain is very common in the population and often can become chronic. Our spine has three different curves that occur naturally. Our lumbar spine and cervical spine have the same curve and the thoracic spine has the opposite curve. There is less stress placed on our spine when these curves are maintained. Many times during the day whether we are sitting, lifting or doing activities around the house, we diminish or reverse these curves in our spine. When we repetitively do this, often times it can lead to back pain.

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: pain, tips, back pain

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER TO BEAT LOW BACK PAIN

2/4/16 10:49 AM

Back pain is quite common, around 80% of the population will experience it at some point in their lives. What is causing it? More often than not, too much bending and twisting can create more low back pain. Since everything is in front of us, we bend thousands of times during the day. If we are able to decrease the amount of bending we can do just a little bit, this can make a big difference in developing back pain.

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: Low back pain, back pain

BEST WAYS TO WARM UP, COOL DOWN FROM ACTIVITY

12/22/15 10:38 AM

What is the best way to warm up before dance class, a practice or activity?

 

I have been dancing for over 20 years and during that time I have modified and adjusted my warm up routine many times. As I have grown up, gone through school and have done more training I have learned a lot about how to get the most from my warm up.

 

 


First of all, what is the purpose of a warm up? There are many reasons to warm up before any activity whether it is running, dancing or playing basketball...

  • Increases body temperature which reduces the likelihood of injury
  • Increases blood flow to the muscles which helps deliver more nutrients to the muscles
  • Increases blood flow to the heart reducing likelihood of cardiac events
  • Preps the muscles to get them ready for the exercise ahead, which helps with soreness even after the activity
  • Helps increase the speed of nerve impulses which tell your muscles what to do
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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: sport specific, dance

Straight From a Seasoned Dancer: Prevent Injury and Cross Train!

12/24/14 4:47 PM
I have been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and have only experienced three injuries during my career. All of these injuries were over use injuries - achilles tendonitis, stress fracture in my foot and a calf strain. No matter what type of dancing you may do, it is important to take care of your body.

What is an over use injury?
  • They are injuries that occur over time.
  • They are a result of repetitive micro-trauma to tendon, bones, ligaments and joints (ouch!)
  • They can happen when you first begin a sport or activity - or even when you do too much, too soon.
  • They can also result from improper technique.
  • With exercise or activity, muscles & tendons get stronger. This happens through the breakdown and build up of tissue. If too much breakdown is happening in comparison to the amount of rebuilding, these type of injuries can occur.


Dancers can prevent this from happening....

There are usually a few times throughout the year that a dancer may take a week or two off for various reasons - vacation, holiday, illness, etc. It is important to remember to ease back into classes or practice when you return. You can even try some strengthening exercises during your holiday when you are not dancing!


These strengthening exercises should use the same muscles you need in dancing, but work them in a different way. When you complete strengthening exercises it helps to keep you in shape and even strengthens your muscles for when you return to class or practice.  This concept is known as cross training...

What is Cross Training and Why is it Important for Dancers?
  • Cross Training is an exercise routine that uses several different activities, which varies your exercise routine
  • Cross Training uses the same muscles in different ways. This helps to strengthen those muscles even more.
  • Cross Training helps to reduce injuries while also maintaining and increasing strength and performance in the activity of choice.


As a dancer it is importance to work on endurance, leg/core/shoulder/upper back strength and flexibility outside of your dance classes and practices...

So instead of dancing 4-6 times a week, try to take a day or two off from dancing and try some cross training! You can work on strengthening, flexibility and endurance during cross training.

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: pain, exercises, stretching