About once to twice a week, I get a message on Facebook or an email from a friend about their most recent injury plight that they received when they were breakdancing. As you hopefully know by now, breakdancing is a dance that is relatively dangerous depending on your given “expertise” of movements.
The movements that can occur in this dance are possibly endless – with combinations, speed of movements, and the ground reaction forces that occur simply on one hand ever increasing with intensity. With this rapid rate of force and speed of movement, the propensity for injury is inevitable, if not highly likely.
With this said, I decided to repost an email I sent to one of my friend’s, detailing the physiological and anatomical reasons for why I think some of his feelings of discomfort may be occurring. I have known this friend for a little bit of time now, and he holds nothing back with regards to the intensity that he will push himself. So asking him to “stop dancing” is akin to asking a runner to “stop running” despite any types of pain that he or she may be feeling.
His most recent dilemma involves shoulder pain. After walking him through a shoulder impingement test that I am most familiar with from the FMS methodology, it was determined that the mobility within his left shoulder and collar bone was limited.
My aim within the following approach is not to clear pain, since that may be more related to psycho-somatic issues, but to improve mechanical and neuromuscular tension found within the specific body parts mentioned below.
The area between your left clavicular joint and pec major may feel very knotty and tense. In a perfect world, these are the steps I would take to reduce symptoms of tightness:
1. Lacrosse Ball in Upper Body (and also in your Pec Major/Minor)
The idea here is that the lacrosse ball will work to relieve tension in the muscle groups that may be experiencing neuromuscular tightness due to increased feelings of mechanical stress from the improper alignment of your AC Joint and/or first rib, determined via shoulder impingement test.
2. Troubleshooting Breathing Patterns
The next step will walk you through how to approach reducing a sympathetic nervous tone found throughout your body as a cause of you fighting to maintain a homeostasis of “normal” movement patterns due to dancing.
Basically, slamming your body, neck, hands, and shoulders, into the ground will not prove to be useful towards improving your health.
Your increase in mechanical tension found in the surrounding musculature due to your positive shoulder impingement test has caused an increase in discomfort when trying to sleep (from his self-report when I talked with him). These items combine to reduce the effectiveness of your recovery during your day.
While this may be a bit of an extrapolation, this may further cause an increase in anxiety via a negative feedback loop that can be a result of your body’s adaptations to the work and occupational hazards involved with bboying.
Further, by increasing thoracic flexion and improving the internal oblique’s and transverse abdominis contribution to breathing, there will hopefully be an improvement in not only the chemical regulation of increased O2 to the body, but also a down-regulation of the sympathetic nervous system that is displayed through his posture (via relaxation and/or inhibition of various nerves found within the posterior mediastinum).
- Lacrosse Ball – 2x30sec per position in upper body, stopping on any tightness and inhaling and exhaling.
- Deep Squat Belly Breathing (using a Door Handle, railing, barbell, etc) – 3×5 full exhales
- Perform this bodyweight warm-up to improve neuromuscular coordination between the body as a whole.
Keep it funky.