We started Doctors For Dancers because well……we couldn’t find a Doctor that specialized in Dancers.
Here’s a little about us. We are a family of three that has been in the dance community for over 30 years and we want to make this world a little better by creating this amazing resource for dancers.
I was a dancer since I could walk. I grew up in a competitive studio life and was a dance teacher in Scottsdale, Arizona. I started out with a couple of small injuries. First one, I sprained my ankle jumping on a trampoline and the other sprained ankle was while I was in character shoes. After a couple of years, my back started to hurt really bad where I had days I had to miss school because the pain was so bad. I then started to have Advil and Aleve in my bag at all times. I had to get through the pain to keep dancing. I was dancing 4-5 days a week, 5 hours a night. Ya know the usual amount of time a dancer spends if not more.
It got so bad it was time to see a Doctor. It was very frustrating seeing multiple doctors and trying to explain what I put my body through on a daily basis. They couldn’t grasp it. You know you all have seen the meme – “Oh yeah you dance, that’s cute.” Well, I knew that’s exactly what they thought of me. We didn’t have shows like So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance when I was dancing. Dancing was something the public thought you took a nice little dance class after school. Nobody had an idea about the training we went through unless you were in the dance world yourself. Which to be honest is still happening today.
When I went to physical therapy and we would stretch and I would explain to them, I just can’t get my leg to touch my head. They thought, “well you got it to your shoulder that’s good enough”. But, it wasn’t good enough for me and it certainly wasn’t the best I was capable of doing. I was in pain and nobody understood that my body wasn’t right.
I don’t know how many doctors I went to, but nobody could figure out where my pain was coming from and after a while they thought I was just making it up. The doctors would schedule x-rays and then usually prescribe me pills to help with the pain. But I couldn’t take them, because I was too loopy to dance. So of course I danced and pushed myself as hard as I could until I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I was taking Advil before and after class, icing the pain when I went home and took Epsom bath salts every other day and sometimes couldn’t even get out of bed to school just to do what I loved, dance. I was young and in high school so the Doctors thought if I just sat out, I would be fine. That was the usual response I would get, just sit out for 4-6 weeks and take some pain pills. That answer wasn’t good enough for me. I wish I could have met a Dance Specialist who could tell me, this is what you have to do to get right before a competition, this is what you have to modify to stay in your dance or do I truly need to sit this one out.
I tried sitting out for maybe a week and I swear the pain was worse sitting out and watching everyone else dance. One of my worst times ever is my back went out during my very last recital. Someone else had to get into my costumes and I had to watch them do my part from the audience because my back went out. My plan was to move to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of becoming a professional dance that year. After that horrible night of not dancing in my recital and being in so much pain without any answers, I knew I couldn’t move away from home. So I quit dancing and it was the hardest decision I ever made.
So fast forward 5 years, my back goes out again. I did some research and found a brand new internal medicine doctor from my home town in Chicago and decided to give this doctor a try. It had been a while since I had any back pain and seen any doctors about my back. So the first thing he did was order an x-ray and an MRI. He ordered both after I told him my past history of no diagnosis for years of back pain. Well, I knew what an X-ray was as I have had over 30 on my back from all of the other doctors, but what would an MRI say? Well, the doctor thought if you had this many x-rays and no diagnosis and you are still in this much pain I believe what you have is not showing up on an X-ray so we will order an MRI. So the x-ray came back and it looked great, but I was still in pain. The MRI was right after and I came into his office for the results. He looks at me and says well you have a horseshoe kidney and you well dear…..you are F#*$@ed up! At first, I was like what kind of kidney do I have, and did my Dr. just swear?!?! I looked at him and said I knew it! So many years were spent going from doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, naturopathic, specialists, x-rays, and even a psychologist because they thought it was in my head all because nobody understood how my body worked, what I put my body through and why I do what I do. Just because I was young and a dancer, they didn’t think my problems were a priority.
Now I have been out of dancing physically for let’s just say awhile now and these issues are still happening today in 2019. The majority of people are still not taking dancers seriously BUT there are Dance Specialists! Dancers are not getting the correct help because they can’t find someone that specializes in Dancers. This is the reason why we created this for the dance community. We understand that when a dancer gets injured it affects everyone, whether you are a student competing, a dance teacher not being able to teach or a professional dancer not being able to work a job they just booked. All dancers need someone that understands them. It helps them mentally and physically to be able to get back into dancing as fast as they can without re-injury. We know from personal experience and so many stories that finding a Dance Specialist can change your life!
If we could help just one dancer get the help they need, it would fill our hearts. We are committed to the dance community and the welfare and health of all dancers!
We are Doctors for Dancers and that is why we do it!