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  1. #1
    Master BHUZzer andalee-oriental's Avatar
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    Belly dance and chronic pain

    Over the past few years I've developed widespread and chronic body pain (plus extreme fatigue). I've been going to the doctor throughout this time and have yet to figure out the root cause. Doc has confirmed a Vitamin D deficiency but I've been on it for 5 weeks and I haven't felt different.

    During this time I've also gained a lot of weight...I know it's an energy balance thing and not directly related to a medical condition. However, I find it really challenging to exercise because my body hurts so bad afterwards. It seems to take me twice as long to recover than ordinary folks (not to mention I get extremely bad headaches when I exercise)

    Anyway, I don't want to get into a medical diagnosis thread because that's not what I am looking for. I want to know if there are a lot of other dancers who suffer from widespread body pain...and if so how to deal with it? What are some self-care tips? Let's bond!


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer Nazarah's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Have you found any kind of light activity that you can manage? Anything easy on your body that can serve as a starting point? A short walk or easy swim, yoga-ish range of motion exercises on a mat (outside in the sunshine might be mood lifting)?
    I can't help it, it is hard to suggest coping strategies when you've yet to pinpoint the root of the problem, has your MD considered fibromyalgia? Have you seen an MD or PT that specializes in chronic pain?
    It is hard not to gain weight when you can't move, plus chronic pain is depressing, hugs to you, hope you find some solutions.


  3. #3
    Master BHUZzer andalee-oriental's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Thanks, I have been meaning to get myself to a physical therapist and back into regular massage therapy.

    Personally, I think it is fibro but my doc is reluctant to diagnose because she wants to rule out everything first.


  4. #4
    Master BHUZzer BreaMorgiane's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Hi Andalee,

    I too have chronic pain, but mine is degenerative joint disease from years of fighting. Or so they tell me. It's really tough, especially when people assume that there's nothing wrong. For me, I just dance through the pain...I learned to do that as a fighter and it works for this as well, but obviously not if it's seriously damaging you. I find that a good chiropractor and massage help a lot.


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Oh Andalee, I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with that, I hope that you are feeling better soon. I had chronic pain for three years after a car accident - severe whiplash injury. I found that chiropractic and massage helped a lot (I went to a clinic that specializes in sports injuries). Physical therapy really varied from place to place, so find one that works for you if you don't like the first one you try. I had to go on antidepressants toward the end, being in constant pain just wears you down. Luckily for me, my injury healed and I am now pain free and antidepressant-free.

    It's important not to overdo, and that was hard for me to learn. I had a job, two kids, dancing, a household to run, etc. For me lifting anything heavy would trigger severe pain, even grocery bags were too much. So I had to learn to ask for help.

    Let us know how you are doing, and best of luck to you!


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Some people find help managing chronic pain and stress-aggravated conditions with mindfulness meditation. There are books and CDs on the market to help you with the process.


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer catwomyn's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Has your doctor checked you for thyroid problems? My roommate who is hypothyroid has a lot of the same symptoms.

    I also have chronic pain issues due to some skeletal issues. I've had to learn that some things I just can't do. Find what dance movements you can do without aggravating the pain and work with that vocabulary.

    What about tai chi? That's pretty mild but gets things moving around. I see a lot of elderly ( 70s & 80s) folks doing this in the local park.


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    I sincerely believe in the benefits of hot water. A shower, a soak in a tub, sitting in a jacuzzi if you have one. This will help when you don't have the time / energy / money to get to the massage therapist as often as you'd like. In fact, I have found that it helps any time!

    (I have a lower back injury which will probably never go away. I treat with Triple flex, mild yoga and pilates, massage when I can get it and lots of hot water!)

    {{{HUGS}}}


  9. #9
    Master BHUZzer andalee-oriental's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Mmmm...hot water...I love to soak in lavendar epsom salt baths. Now if only someone would clean my tub for me (it also doesn't help that I barely fit in my tub!).


  10. #10
    Advanced BHUZzer Jessani's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Boo to chronic pain. I have a chronic pain condition (endometriosis) and it sucks because I am always dealing with abdominal & pelvic pain and bloating, the pain makes me exhausted. Along with the physical symptoms comes depression, emotional exhaustion, and some pretty significant body dysmorphia and low self esteem.
    Chronic pain really takes a lot out of a person.
    I agree that water can be really healing. I also try to self assess daily (sometimes 2x/day) to set realistic expectations for myself in terms of activity. I use a pain scale to help me objectively rate my level of pain and set my exercise and dance goals according to that. On days where my pain is really bad, I make sure to draw my awareness to all of the things I was able to accomplish despite the pain, as opposed to beating myself up for all of the things I have to put aside for the day.


  11. #11
    Ultimate BHUZzer dunyah's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    Some people find help managing chronic pain and stress-aggravated conditions with mindfulness meditation. There are books and CDs on the market to help you with the process.
    I found biofeedback very helpful. But it is somewhat rare to find clinics that do it, I believe.


  12. #12
    Established BHUZzer BasiaRaks's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Quote Originally Posted by BreaMorgiane View Post
    Hi Andalee,

    I too have chronic pain, but mine is degenerative joint disease from years of fighting. I find that a good chiropractor and massage help a lot.
    I agree with getting a good chiropractor (they will usually have massage therapist who know exactly where to massage). I also have degenerative joint disease in my lower back along with bulging disks so, I have good days and bad days. I found that stretching (gently) helps alleviate some of the pain and keeps me from stiffening up. With dancing, sometimes the stretching and the actual movement (from dancing, walking, etc.) makes me feel better.

    Good luck!

    BTW...someone at work mentioned that drinking 2 oz. of pure cherry juice is supposed to relieve a lot of aches and pains (from things like arthritis). I tried it and it didn't seem to make a difference (at least to me).


  13. #13
    Advanced BHUZzer NazirahDances's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    I had chronic pain (and fatigue) last spring/summer - all over. Three months of my life was eaten up with just aching, hurting and wanting to do nothing but sleep.

    I actually felt better when I "moved" (but didnt over do it). Sitting still for an hour would make it worse over all, so I would make sure that once an hour, for 10 minutes, I went outside (in the heat, which actually felt good) and take a walk. Sometimes I would wake up in pain, and have to get up and move around (it would be AWFUL at first, but eventually the pain would subside with movement).

    I also spent time in the hot tub on weekends, which helped as well. And I took anti-inflammatories like clockwork. I was also prescribed vicoden, but I took that as little as possible (maybe half a dozen times over the 4-5 months, and those were always at night when I woke up in the worst sort of pain).

    The cause of my issue was Lymes, and once that was finally diagnosed and treated I returned to "normal" after about a month or so.

    My best friend has chronic back pain, and she said accupuncture is doing wonders for her.
    Last edited by NazirahDances; 05-25-2010 at 02:19 PM.


  14. #14
    Official BHUZzer GypsyStacey's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Quote Originally Posted by BasiaRaks View Post
    I agree with getting a good chiropractor (they will usually have massage therapist who know exactly where to massage). I also have degenerative joint disease in my lower back along with bulging disks so, I have good days and bad days. I found that stretching (gently) helps alleviate some of the pain and keeps me from stiffening up. With dancing, sometimes the stretching and the actual movement (from dancing, walking, etc.) makes me feel better.

    Good luck!

    BTW...someone at work mentioned that drinking 2 oz. of pure cherry juice is supposed to relieve a lot of aches and pains (from things like arthritis). I tried it and it didn't seem to make a difference (at least to me).
    another that uses a chiropractor & massage. if you can find both that work in the same office even better. your chiro can recommend to the massage therapist areas to focus on they work together for YOU. it's a great team. i also have degenerative joint disease in my right hip & a warm bath plus light stretching after works miracles. i also find the more exercise i do moderate aerobic ie WALKING, dancing, the better my hip feels.

    good luck. hopefully your Dr. will figure it out.
    Last edited by GypsyStacey; 05-25-2010 at 04:35 PM.


  15. #15
    Master BHUZzer andalee-oriental's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Thanks everyone for your help and support!


  16. #16
    Advanced BHUZzer BELLA_BELLA's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Swimming. Or walking in water. Helps me with getting enough cardio despite hip arthritis which limits my ability to do anything like running.

    Wearing light wrist / ankle weights and just going about my daily business also works for me too.


  17. #17
    Official BHUZzer queencj's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    It seems kind of like weird voudoo when you start, but Applied Kinesiology is amazingly effective for both diagnosing and treating these kinds of "ghost" ailments that only get diagnosed after a long list of other things are ruled out. I still kind of roll my eyes quietly to myself when my chiro puts fingers on either side of my chin, asks me to hold my arm in place and pulls it away from my body at different angles, but I can't argue with the astounding results. It's based on the idea that nerves and muscles are interconnected, and a weak muscle is indicative of a blocked/pinched etc nerve. Home International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) will help you find someone in your area who uses AK.


  18. #18
    Advanced BHUZzer shimmygoddess's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    I have been having a lot of low back pain...I always have..and my leg/hip pain..but that has gotten a bit better..(i put the heating pad on it every night to relax the hip flexor) but not matter what I do..my back always hurts (probably bad posture. I try to sit straight and not cross my legs, but it hard. I have bad headaches too esp when i am dehydrated.

    So try and stay hydrated. I am always tired too....

    Let me know if you find a magic cure....LOL


  19. #19
    Ultimate BHUZzer kiyaana's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    I really like the book, "Pain Free" by Peter Egoscue. I first bought it about five years ago when I suddenly had tendinitis in my left arm. My husband and I have both used the exercises to help realign muscles to help back, hip, arm, and knee issues. Check out the Amazon reviews.


  20. #20
    Advanced BHUZzer BELLA_BELLA's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Something I have found interesting and occasionally works when I'm in pain is to concentrate on it. I focus on trying to isolate exactly where it hurts and exactly what it feels like...So in my head, I'll be thinking "hmmm, pain is in my hip...no not exactly this part, but here...yes, that's it...now it feels like an ache...pulsating? no, that 's not it...is that a tingle? ..." The pondering about what the pain feels like actually distracts me from feeling it.


  21. #21
    Master BHUZzer andalee-oriental's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Quote Originally Posted by shimmygoddess View Post
    I have been having a lot of low back pain...I always have..and my leg/hip pain..but that has gotten a bit better..(i put the heating pad on it every night to relax the hip flexor) but not matter what I do..my back always hurts (probably bad posture. I try to sit straight and not cross my legs, but it hard. I have bad headaches too esp when i am dehydrated.

    So try and stay hydrated. I am always tired too....

    Let me know if you find a magic cure....LOL
    But you always have so much energy! How do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiyaana View Post
    I really like the book, "Pain Free" by Peter Egoscue. I first bought it about five years ago when I suddenly had tendinitis in my left arm. My husband and I have both used the exercises to help realign muscles to help back, hip, arm, and knee issues. Check out the Amazon reviews.
    I will check that out, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by BELLA_BELLA View Post
    Something I have found interesting and occasionally works when I'm in pain is to concentrate on it. I focus on trying to isolate exactly where it hurts and exactly what it feels like...So in my head, I'll be thinking "hmmm, pain is in my hip...no not exactly this part, but here...yes, that's it...now it feels like an ache...pulsating? no, that 's not it...is that a tingle? ..." The pondering about what the pain feels like actually distracts me from feeling it.
    Interesting tip!


  22. #22
    Mega BHUZzer Sahirah_Badr's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Quote Originally Posted by queencj View Post
    It seems kind of like weird voudoo when you start, but Applied Kinesiology is amazingly effective for both diagnosing and treating these kinds of "ghost" ailments that only get diagnosed after a long list of other things are ruled out. I still kind of roll my eyes quietly to myself when my chiro puts fingers on either side of my chin, asks me to hold my arm in place and pulls it away from my body at different angles, but I can't argue with the astounding results. It's based on the idea that nerves and muscles are interconnected, and a weak muscle is indicative of a blocked/pinched etc nerve. Home International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) will help you find someone in your area who uses AK.
    Andalee - THIS isn't weird voodoo, but it is why I am able to dance/teach Yoga and even walk (add raising two kids as well -lol). I do go through flares, in fact - I am in one now and have had to pull back a little. I have a great Chiropractor who does this technique (AK), but slightly modified. His is Total Body Modification (TBM) and every single time medical science was puzzled, he came through - and the therapies worked.

    Total Body Modification (TBM)

    It has been a magic bullet - and this is coming from someone with Fibromyalgia, and 4 other types of arthritis. He's a Holistic based (some call Naturopathic medicine). Many times it is body allergies, poor diet, spinal misalignments, stress - various other trigger points, some are surprising (yes, even a little odd). But I will tell you, I have always felt light years better after leaving his office, especially when I was pregnant. There is of course, no replacement for an MD if your condition is serious, and it is good to get a diagnosis first. But if it is Fibromyalgia, it is worthy to check out and see if it works for you. Good luck and I hope you feel better!!!


  23. #23
    Official BHUZzer Fahimi's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    I am in the process of trying to figure out why my hip is getting more and more painful. (Got an X ray yesterday to hopefully rule out arthritis, but that doesn't sound right because nothing else really hurts.) But I have had a slew of injuries over the years that took me out of the game for a time, and here is what helps:

    yoga
    meditation
    seeing a GOOD physical therapist when appropriate. A PT solved a three year knee issue (so bad my knee would collapse on low angle stairs) in two visits.
    Massage therapy.
    Osteopath/chiropractor.
    Hot water - hot tub is great, hot bath with epsom and sea salts is the next best thing.
    REST.
    When you need it, drugs. Muscle relaxers and vicodin can really set the rest of your body at ease and take away the stress.
    Above all make sure you have a good diet and drink tons of water. Giving your body good fuel will help it heal!

    Good luck!


  24. #24
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Oh, here is a weird thing to check: what condition are your shoes in? Make sure that they are properly supportive. You'd be amazed at how many ills will go away with the proper foot wear.

    {{HUGS}}}


  25. #25
    Advanced BHUZzer BELLA_BELLA's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Quote Originally Posted by tahiradancer View Post
    Oh, here is a weird thing to check: what condition are your shoes in? Make sure that they are properly supportive. You'd be amazed at how many ills will go away with the proper foot wear.

    {{HUGS}}}
    Yes, that's excellent advice. Last year I went so far as to order custom orthotics -- immediate help with achy feet and a tired back. WELL worth the money I paid ($300ish). Amazing, just amazing.


  26. #26
    Advanced BHUZzer shimmygoddess's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    I always have such nervous energy before performing. No matter what I have going on.. I love dancing so much...that I just get a burst of energy. I have this personal battle with myself, that I have to outlast the band...that is why you will always see me dancing until the end. LOL


  27. #27
    Official BHUZzer Ariadne_Eleni's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    .w.: I have been having the exact same problem for the last 6 months. It seemed to kick off with a really severe allergy reaction that had me on Benadryl for a week straight. Now whenever I dance as soon as the high wears off I'm crying in pain and it takes a good 48 hours to ease to manageable levels. It's been absolutely crippling. If you find out for certain what is causing yours Andalee I would love to hear it.


    <-takes notes stretching, hot baths, move about frequently, stay hydrated, chiropractor... (no money for that...) hmmmmm....


  28. #28
    I could get used to this! niamh's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Definitely get the doc to rule out Lyme disease, then fibromyalgia. Those are the usual suspects. If you don't have benefits from chiropractic or P.T., try heat, gentle yoga, mindful meditation. I second the recommendations of everyone else to keep moving, but keep it gentle. And look carefully at your diet. Have you weeded out animal fats, preservatives, sugar and refined flour? Are you getting enough hydration, fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein?


  29. #29
    Official BHUZzer Ariadne_Eleni's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    ... I went and looked it up and Fibromyalgia may just be it. Well... better to know and take care of it then not and the treatment seems to be very straight forward. Yeah, I'll have to have a Dr check it when I can. Thanks.


  30. #30
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: Belly dance and chronic pain

    Ariadne -

    RE: Chiropractor. If you have insurance, check to see if they cover chiropractic work. Many do, but they don't advertise it. My last insurance policy allowed 30 visits a year. Trust me, I took advantage of that one!

    {{{HUGS}}}


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