Step 6: A Pole Addict's Guide to Bruises, Burns, Rips & Sorenesskeex
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A POLE ADDICT'S GUIDE TO RE(DIS)COVERY: Step 6
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
The most frustrating "defects" in the life of a pole addict are those that rob us of our fix or prohibit us from getting the full pleasurable experience of a pole jam due to pain or injury. So, how can we prevent or ensure speedy recovery from bruises, rips, burns and muscular soreness? This is what's in my bag of tricks. What's in yours? Be sure to add your comments.
A bruise (contusion) is caused when tiny blood vessels are damaged or broken as the result of a blow to the skin (like banging into the pole). Blood leaks from the injured blood vessels into the superficial layers of skin causing a purplish, flat bruise (ecchymosis).
HOW TO TREAT BRUISES:
1. Apply ice pack for 20 minutes to minimize swelling.
2. Take acetaminophin or ibuprofin as directed on bottle for pain. NO ASPIRIN because it will prolong bleeding.
3. After 48 hours, apply warm compresses for 10 minutes, 2-3 times/day.
Arnica Gel: This is a non-greasy, non-sticky gel that quickly absorbs into the skin to reduce inflammation. It's indicated for bruises, strained joints,muscles, ligaments and tendons. You can also take it sublingually in tablet form (under your tongue for faster absorption into the bloodstream).
Traumeel: This is a combination of homeopathic ingredients that reduces pain and inflammation while promoting tissue regeneration.
POLE BURN: definition
Pole burn is a form of abrasion or chafing caused by the friction of your skin rubbing against the pole. Because friction generates heat, it creates a mild burn on the superficial layers of skin.
HOW TO TREAT POLE BURN:
Apply an antibiotic/pain relieving ointment such as Neosporin.
Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera soothes burns, is anti-bacterial and promotes tissue regeneration.
Lavender Essential Oil: Undiluted, therapeutic grade lavender essential oil (Young Living Essential Oils brand is my fave) applied directly onto pole burn provides soothing pain relief. Plus it has natural antibacterial properties and the ability to regenerate tissue. **Try adding a few drops to 1/2 cup of Aloe Vera Gel and apply to your burn.
A rip happens when the superficial layers of skin separate from the lower layers of blood rich tissue. An excessively tight grip on the pole or callous buildup makes the skin bunch up as you spin around the pole. The force of the spin pulls the upper layer of skin away from the lower layers causing a pocket to form which becomes a blister that eventually rips.
HOW TO PREVENT RIPS:
1. After every pole practice, wash your hands with soap and water and thoroughly moisturize with hand lotion.
2. Prevent excess callous build-up by using a pumice stone. Use the pumice stone only as necessary. (I also use a coarse nail file sometimes). Be careful, though, because excessive use will cause your hands to be constantly sore while poling.
3. Reapply hand lotion before going to bed.
HOW TO TREAT A RIP:
1. Remove the excess skin carefully with a sterilized (to prevent infection) pair of nail clippers and wash with soap and water. DO NOT APPLY LOTION on a fresh rip.
2. Cover the rip with an "over-the-counter" antibiotic ointment followed by Second Skin or NuSkin that comes in patch or liquid form.
3. Reapply antibiotic ointment on the rip before bed. Continue this treatment until the rip is covered with fresh, new skin.
4. Once new skin has formed and covered the rip, begin moisturizing with lotion again. If the rip is allowed to dry up, the skin will crack and you will continue to rip in the same spot.
5. If you must get back on the pole ASAP, protect it with a bandaid covered with medical tape.
Calendula Oil: is considered to be an excelent remedy for all kinds of skin damage such as wounds, scars, burns, scalds, abrasions, infections, various inflammations and other injuries. Calendual Oil stimulates blood flow to the affected area and promotes tissue regeneration. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.
MUSCLE SORENESS: definition
To be more specific, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You know, that insidious muscle soreness that creeps in 2 days after a hardcore pole jam. DOMS is believed to be the result of microscopic tearing of muscle fibers. The amount of tearing and soreness depends on the intensity and duration of a workout. It's generally attributed to eccentric muscle contractions when your muscles are contracting strongly while lengthening. Like, when you straighten your elbows to descend with control from a pull-up position. (Controlled eccentric contractions build the most strength gains, by the way.)
HOW TO PREVENT MUSCLE SORENESS:
1. Warm-up thoroughly before poling.
2. Cool-down/stretch after poling.
3. Hydrate properly with electrolytes.
Nuun Hydration, when added to water, offer the perfect balance of essential electrolytes like sodium and potassium without sugars like most traditional sports drinks have. It's
designed to help your muscles function, communicate and burn energy efficiently while offering a light refreshing taste in in 11 different flavors.
HOW TO TREAT MUSCLE SORENESS:
Of course, there's always good ol' pain killers, but they don't address the underlying issues that create pain which generally come from over-use and muscular imbalances (when some muscles are overtrained and tight and others are undertrained and weak).
Rest: Listen to your body and allow yourself to take a break from training when needed.
Massage Therapy: Make massage a consistent part of your training routine. As an athlete, this shouldn't be considered an indulgence, but a necessity. As a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist with my own practice, Soulful Kneads, I'm lucky to have lots of pole dancers and other aerial artists and athletes as clients. If you're not in NYC, I highly recommend a therapist that specializes in neuromuscular therapy and/or myofascial release or someone with really strong postural assessment skills that can identify the pain source and coerce (not pummel & bruise) it into submission. Seek someone who can identify muscular imbalances in your body and help you achieve balance.
Epsom Salts: Soak regularly in hot baths with Epsom Salts to relax overworked muscles. The magnesium and sulfates in Epsom Salts flush toxins and heavy metals from your cells to relieve inflammation, pain and muscle cramps.
What are your favorite remedies to alleviate "defects' that keep you from poling? Please share your comments!
Kira "Keex" Lamb
Kira "Keex" Lamb is the writer of Indie Girl Love Adventures, a unique & voyeuristic escape into her mental, emotional & spiritual journey of "suddenly dumped & betrayed by my husband of 6 years" to "newly single & depressed at age 38" to "clarity, wisdom, happiness & purpose" aka Indie Girl Spirit. (And, yes, pole dancing was a big part of her healing process).
Indie Girl Love Adventures is raw, honest and relatable to anyone that's ever experienced love & heartbreak.
As a licensed massage therapist that loves & uses my foam rollers regularly, there's really no substitute for a skilled massage therapist's ability to:
1.) assess & treat your muscular imbalances
2.) effectively manipulate, knead and lift muscle tissue away from the bone to provide deeper and more effective work to the many layers of muscle tissue.
3.) locate and treat hypersensitive trigger points that are tender to the touch, refer pain to other areas of your body and elicit a "twitch response".
4.) strip muscle fibers from origin to insertion
5.) implement neuromuscular techniques that reprogram signals the brain sends to muscles to coerce them into lengthening/relaxing
6.) facilitate injury prevention & recovery due to comprehensive understanding of how to achieve optimal posture & efficient movement patterns.
Foam rollers are great for providing compression to broad areas of muscle which is, no doubt relaxing, but no substitute for educated, skilled hands or the sensitivity of human touch.
I really hope you have the opportunity to find a local massage therapist that can offer you the type of experience you and your body deserve, girl!