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 Post subject: Migraine
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Canberra, Australia
Hello<BR>I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but here goes....<P>I get bad migraines - frequently. I've seen a lot of doctors and alternative health practitioners - so far, no luck. My question is whether you think it's worth it to try to keep practicing if I'm unwell. During the typical migraine attack (around 3 days) there will be phases where I am completely incapacitated, but also phases where I can push myself through work with painkillers and a bit of grit - which as you can imagine, I often do..<P>I hate to miss ballet class because of it - do you think I'm actually gaining anything from classes where I struggle through pain, weakness and impaired co ordination (the issue of whether or not I choose to do so is a seperate one I think)? Am I even "maintaining" (as Basheva would say)?<P>Also - is it dangerous to dance after taking painkillers?<P>Your views would be most welcome. I'd particularly love to hear from those with similar expereinces or those of you who may have had students with migraine.<P>Danni


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Hello Danni - I have to be honest with you and say that I have never had a migraine, but I have witnessed people with them and can truly sympathize with you.<P>It seems to me that this is a question you should ask your doctor. He or she could tell you how the effects of medication might impact on your dancing and class work. My sister-in-law who does suffer with these headaches finds her balance severely impaired and that, it would seem to me, would be something that could very well put you at risk for injury and/or a fall. If you are injured that would truly set you back.<P>Sometimes we just have to be kind to ourselves. It is quite a different thing to have a "maintenance day" when you are not feeling well, as opposed to trying to do something when you are medicated and have impaired coordination. <P>Ask yourself - would you allow someone you love - or a student of yours - to take class under such conditions? If the answer is no - then that should be your answer to yourself.<P>And, most of all, don't allow yourself to feel guilty. It's ok - to allow yourself time to recover.


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 6:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Canberra, Australia
Thank you for your very kind response Basheva. Asking whether I would want someone I loved to take class under these circumstances is a good test and I will certainly employ it for those grey days when I'm not sure. <P>I guess I'm just frustrated by having to miss classes - I feel like it's really hindering my progress because the body is inclined to forget things much more quickly than the mind - not to mention the development of strength and flexibility. However, as you say, my progress will be less impaired if I take days off for migraine than it would be by having a fall and hurting myself. I hadn't taken that into account. I will really take this into consideration - and I really appreciate the advice,<BR>Thanks, Danni


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 3:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
dear danni, basheva has given you a very sound response, as always. <P>i agree with her that some of these questions would be better answered by your doctor. for example, over-the-counter type painkillers like aspirin and paracetamol shouldn't be any problem taken in appropriate doses, but some migraine medications are pretty potent stuff!<P>balance and co-ordination might be one issue (and the risk of injury from a fall); another might be overdoing the stretching, because you aren't registering the usual painful signal to stop! ouch! in both cases, it seems to me that the answer is to just work very carefully and moderately, if you choose to dance.<P>another point worth considering is whether one is better off by exercising at that time? - i don't know. but because YOU have this condition, you have probably read quite a bit about it, and may be able to tell US...are there any specific benefits to exercising in this circumstance? for example, does it actually help to calm you, or enable you to distract yourself from focusing on the discomfort? or not? i don't know....<P>it's an unusual question, which provides us all an opportunity to learn more.....

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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 9:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Danni - There are two sides to this wild and crazy thing we call dance - the upperside is the joy we experience and the downside is sometimes the guilt when we cannot partake as we would like.<P>Don't let the guilt spoil the joy. You are only responsible for the things you can control - and a migraine is not one of them.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 2
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Danni: See what your doctor says and go with your own feelings. Let me tell you about my experience with my head and ballet.<P>On my way to class/rehearsal one afternoon in May this year, on a busy street in the business district of San Francisco, I was attacked by a homeless man. I was attacked from behind, thrown to the ground which resulted in a fractured skull, 45 minutes of unconsciousness, a broken nose, broken teeth, a broken elbow, black eyes, and a severely lacerated lip. I was hospitalized and released after a couple days.<P>That said, I must say the most difficult part of the entire process was dealing with the slow healing process of my head injury. It wasn't the sutures or the scars, it was the inability to concentrate, fatigue, and low-grade headaches that made my return to the studio so very difficult. I so wanted to keep everything at the status-quo. I didn't want to take a break from ballet because 1) missing classes over a period of time makes it difficult to get back "up to speed", and 2) I didn't want some stranger to take away one of the things I enjoy most of all.<P>I am so very grateful that I have nearly fully recovered from the entire trauma. My body bounced back very quickly and, on the surface, I thought I was fine to go back to class -- or at least participate in the barre after a couple weeks. However, my instructors and doctors encouraged me to attend class but as an observer. They were very smart to suggest this. I was able to take in much of the class through observation and take that small bit home with me so as to not feel so separate from everyone. Even though our bodies forget much sooner than our minds, it was very helpful for me. Unfortunately, when I finally did return to class, I was unpleasantly surprised at how difficult everything was – not because I was unfamiliar with the movements, it was much deeper than that.<P>My ability to concentrate and to think had diminished greatly. As I would become fatigued through the barre exercises, the more complex combinations became nearly impossible. Instructions from my brain to my working limbs were going to the wrong place. It was pretty disturbing. I continued my work. I observed more classes and took it very slowly. I’m glad I did, because I have a great awareness of my body now.<P>I don’t think it’s a good idea to dance after taking pain killers. I’ve never had a migraine, but after experiencing a fractured skull, I had to take it easy while on pain medication. I’m even reluctant to take aspirin or ibuprofen prior to class because it might disguise the beginnings of an injury. Basheva’s very wise to have you consider whether or not you would have a loved one participate in class in the condition you indicate.<P>Talk to your doctor and listen to your body. It would be a terrible shame if you were to injure yourself in class while suffering from a migraine or while on pain medication.<P>Best of luck on working out this problem.<P>Bobby


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Oh dear, Bobby - what a sad thing to happen. When things like that occur it makes us realize the fragility of life and of doing the things we love to do. I wish you the best of luck in your progress - I know you will be successful.


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
bobby, a big welcome to criticaldance, and thanks for this valuable input. i have never experienced anything like that, thank heavens, but i CAN relate to some of what you say. being unable to function as before, for whatever reason, is a cause of much disappointment and frustration, which then compounds one's sadness and/or tension. a downward spiral......<P>basheva's advice to danni is so excellent, and could be applied to many aspects of a dance class. it's probably worth hanging on the studio or dressing room wall somewhere!:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Don't let the guilt spoil the joy. You are only responsible for the things you can control - and a migraine is not one of them.<BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>re ibuprofen, which is a wonderful help with some muscle pain, it IS a muscle relaxant, not just a simple analgesic (= pain-killer or 'masking agent' of pain) so i agree, that this medication is one which requires extra care if used while dancing (which it quite commonly is, for the obvious reason that dancers often experience muscle pain...)<P>bobby - how is your recovery going now? when the incident occurred, where you working as a dancer or just enjoying dance?

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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 5:53 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1689
Location: USA
Bobby, it's good to hear you talk about the positive aspects of your recovery with the downside. I've worked with people who have had closed head injuries, and they are often dismayed at the unexpected difficulties of recovery. I have also seen them make remarkable steps in their recovery. <P>Your dance classes are actually helpful in many ways towards your recovery, although, since they are not geared specifically for head injury recovery, they can be frustrating and difficult for the reasons you describe. You sound like you're on a good track to recovery. Best of luck to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 7:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Sometimes I think that we are lead to believe that because a drug is beneficial it is also benign. As I understand it - there is no such thing as a benign drug, all have complications and implications. <P>This also holds true of "over the counter" drugs available without a prescription. A doctor once told me that if aspirin were newly formulated today, it would be a prescribed drug - not available over the counter. <P>Anything that is taken in by the body - affects the body to some degree or another. As Grace so aptly says Ibuprofen is a case in point. Though it is purchasable over the counter - if you take twice the dosage as described on the label - at that strength it becomes the same strength as the prescribed ibuprofen.<P>And, thank you Grace - for your very kind words..........


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 2
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Thank you everyone for the warm welcome. I have been amazed at how powerful (and equally frustrating) ballet has been to my recovery. Everything’s coming along great and I’m back to dancing full-time again – I think I’m doing better than I was prior to the attack. <P>I always appreciated the gifts given me, but without sounding sappy and maudlin, I have a greater appreciation of not only being able to walk and talk and smell and see and hear, but to plie and jette and tendu and sauté and to show true reverance. Ironic how something crappy helps make things better overall.<P>I don’t want to take the spotlight away from Danni’s original question about migraines. There are lots of theories about pain and trauma in the skull. Please, please talk to your doctor and listen to your body. One of the greatest gifts I have given myself is to simply do the best that I can at all times. It’s odd how critical we ballet dancers are of ourselves. Being less judgmental of myself allowed me to heal with less frustration (which can cause a headache in and unto itself). What was becoming a chore, has again become a joyful thing -- even when I'm not having a good ballet day. Don’t punish yourself for sitting out a class or two or about physical limitations and medical problems. Again, talk to your doctor and listen to your body. It’s no crime to miss a class here and there. Distance provides great perspective sometimes.<P>Best,<P>Bobby<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
You are absolutely right, Bobby. Trials and tragedies can lend depth to life and the enjoyment that we have. I, too, lost my career suddenly over night through injury (not dance related) and only was able to return to ballet class last spring after a three year layoff. Thirty years can come to an end in just a few moments.<P>What a joy to open out my arms again and allow the dance to enter. It has been quite a surprise to watch my body (as old as it is) once again dance. It remembers how to spot a pirouette, it knows where the head should tilt during glissade, it hears the music. And, it is almost as if I am standing behind and watching and smiling. <P>During the layoff I would dream of dancing almost every night and cry in my sleep, until one morning I woke up and said it is within me to return. It is within my grasp. I was fortunate to find the perfect class. After being in the dance community for so long, I didn't want to take a class in which I was formerly known - I didn't want to have others compare me to what I once was. I just want to dance for myself, this time. <P>So every week I put on my tights and really relish that simple task. And, then I tie on my old pointe shoes, my fingers remember how to tie the ribbons. They retain the look of hands that have done this thousands of times. <P>And then, the music starts and I am transported - as I know you are, Bobby, to that wonderful world we have learned to appreciate even more than we did at first. There is that added joy - of returning.


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1689
Location: USA
Basheva, you of the extensive collections, have you read "The Unmaking of a Dancer" by Joan Brady?


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I wish I was "she of the extensive extensions" LOL - No, Maggie I have not. But, I just looked it up in the San Diego Library catalogue (online) and they have it downtown and I will be downtown tomorrow - so I will pick it up. (I am just finishing up Allegra Kent's autobiography)<P>Have you read it? Did you like it?


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 Post subject: Re: Migraine
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2000 4:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Danni, if your migraines are anything like mine, then I think you would be better off in bed letting your poor body recuperate. I doubt very much if you would even be 'maintaining' and would probably slow down the healing process. Of course it all depends on what your 'trigger' is for the migraine. For me, (extreme) lack of sleep, stress and too much chocolate combine to give me a migraine (and tonsillitis, though I have my doubts about the chocolate contributing to the tonsillitis Image )<P>Therefore in my case, rest is the only thing that allows me to get better...<P>I've read the unmaking of a dancer and you know, many people didn't like it, but I did. It's very negative, but also very realistic - especially for those of us who got left behind. It was the only autobiography I read without the twinge of jealousy, one that never glossed over the nitty gritty - instead emphasised it. I enjoyed reading a book that wasn't all about the tumultuous life of a dancer who still managed to sail serenely through a magical ballet career. Still its depressing...and really does focus on the negative. Yet i loved it for its honesty - from the classic stage mother to eating disorders, to classroom competition and bitchiness and the bitterness of missing out... you name it its here in full technicolour description..


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