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Pinkpip100

Shoulder tension and alignment

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A while ago DD’s associate teacher mentioned that she had ‘undue tension in her shoulder line’. We weren’t really sure what this meant, but I had observed that she had a tendency to raise her shoulders if she felt at all uncomfortable or anxious (it’s a family trait - my shoulders are always really tense and knotty). So she has focused on relaxing them and keeping them down. Nothing more has been said about it, and her usual ballet teachers haven’t mentioned anything. However, watching her practice at home today, I definitely noticed a lopsided look to her shoulders, with the right one held slightly higher than the left. This affects her arms too, so they also look misaligned in certain positions. I tried to help her relax the right shoulder by massaging it very lightly - and she seemed in lots of pain from the lightest touch, and it definitely feels knotty. 
She has a vocational school final audition for Y7 entry in a few weeks and we’re now worried this will count against her. Is there anything we can do to help? I have no idea what has caused it, but given the associate teacher’s previous comment I get the idea now that it may be a longer term issue rather than a recent injury.

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Hello Pinkpip,

 

Has your daughter been seen by a physio?  I would suggest an appointment with one to see if this “lopsidedness” is associated with growth and whether it is purely muscular or skeletal.  If muscular, a good Physio will be able to loosen the tightness and knots.  

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Hi Anna C, no she hasn’t - to be honest I would have no idea how to find one - would it be best to try to find one that specialises in dance physio? 

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Hi Pinkpip,

 

Usually I’d say yes but initially I think in this instance any good Physio, especially one used to working with teenagers, would be a good starting point.  Really you want to find out what’s causing any misalignment and whether it’s muscular.  Can you get to London?  

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Thanks @Anna C, we’re around 2hrs from London - we could definitely get there but probably not before the audition - I’m not sure how important that is though, as I’m guessing it won’t be an immediate ‘fix’. 

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Don’t panic or let your Dd worry about this before her audition. If your Dd is feeling confident she will do well and something like this won’t phase a vocational school who will look in to it in more detail if they are interested in her.

There is a whole number of reasons why this might happen from holding the barre incorrectly with too much tension, heavy school bags, something going on with her spine or something else entirely. As Anna C says, a good physio will take a history and over time be able to ascertain what the issue is and correct it.

For now, remind your Dd to relax and breathe and love every moment so that her top half is effortless and ‘open’ and combined with a lovely use of eyes and facial expression it should do the trick.

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Thanks @Valentina - that’s really helpful (and reassuring)! I will definitely keep things low key for dd before the audition but in the meantime look for a physio. 

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Can you get to Birmingham? NIDMS - https://www.nidms.co.uk/birmingham would be good if needed but as Anna has said, a good physio will work wonders.  If you are anywhere near Worcester I can also recommend a young lady who is a former dancer who is brilliant and treated me for muscular shoulder pain.

Heather

aka TaxiMom

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Hi Heather

Yes! Both Birmingham & Worcester are do-able for us. Thank you - recommendations very much appreciated.

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Hi, I’m in Warwickshire and could have a look if you’re concerned? I’m a Ballet teacher and dance scientist (Plus sports massage therapist, injury rehabilitation and strength & conditioning coach) with lots of experience working with adolescent dancers. 
 

I do agree with the advice about auditions and not worrying your DD - at this age they’re looking for a love of dance which might be impeded if she’s worried about her shoulders!

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I can't help with info on where to find anyone to help but I have also always hunched my shoulders up when nervous or simply cold (I am usually cold!) and I always have one which is more tight than the other and talking to other people I think you will probably find in day to day life that most people do. I would assume it is linked to things like the side you write with or don't write with (although not sure which one would be worse). If it is purely muscular then yes it might require some ongoing treatment but I would think one session with a physio would probably be able to relax it a lot. I used to see a chiropractor who would just massage in the spot that was tender and it would sort it out within about 15 minutes so if you could see someone before she goes off to her audition you might well be able to have quite an immediate effect. good luck to her. Must be very exciting. 

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24 minutes ago, drdance said:

Hi, I’m in Warwickshire and could have a look if you’re concerned? I’m a Ballet teacher and dance scientist (Plus sports massage therapist, injury rehabilitation and strength & conditioning coach) with lots of experience working with adolescent dancers. 
 

I do agree with the advice about auditions and not worrying your DD - at this age they’re looking for a love of dance which might be impeded if she’s worried about her shoulders!

Thanks @drdance - I have sent you a message 😊

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2 minutes ago, Mrs Brown said:

I can't help with info on where to find anyone to help but I have also always hunched my shoulders up when nervous or simply cold (I am usually cold!) and I always have one which is more tight than the other and talking to other people I think you will probably find in day to day life that most people do. I would assume it is linked to things like the side you write with or don't write with (although not sure which one would be worse). If it is purely muscular then yes it might require some ongoing treatment but I would think one session with a physio would probably be able to relax it a lot. I used to see a chiropractor who would just massage in the spot that was tender and it would sort it out within about 15 minutes so if you could see someone before she goes off to her audition you might well be able to have quite an immediate effect. good luck to her. Must be very exciting. 

Thanks @Mrs Brown, my shoulders are the same, so it may be that dd has inherited this tendency. She is also often cold!! Yes - she is very excited and would be completely over the moon to get in....we’re trying to keep it all in perspective though. 

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yes hard to be excited but also not pin too much on it in order to manage expectations I suppose. Once I realised I suffered a lot more around this time of year with it and noticed it was linked to being cold (went to a funeral up north and the weather turned really cold and I didn't have suitable clothes for that and ended up in a lot of pain from hunching my shoulders) I started wearing thin scarves a lot of the time and vest tops with a high back on them (hard to describe what I mean but not a camisole one, more of a high tank top one) and then when going out making sure I have on a thick coat and a winter scarf over the other one (as well as other clothes obviously or I really would be cold) and now I don't suffer anywhere near as much.

 

also little things like perhaps suggesting varying the position she holds her arms in when sitting at school/computer etc could really help.  

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Best of luck, Pinkpip!  Do let us know how everything goes. ☺️

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