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Pelvic and Hip muscles imbalance and misalignment cause pain

Pelvicore-muscles-300x228s is your body’s center. Pelvic area problems are caused and contributed by pelvis and SI joint misalignment, improper loading and muscle imbalances. Usually a muscle imbalance shows the weakness of glutealis, deep back stabilizing muscles (transverse abdominus and multifidus), tightness of hip flexors, and hip internal and external rotators.

The neutral position of the pelvis is in the middle position – not twisted or tilted forward or backward. In the neutral pelvis alignment your spine gets its natural curves. When the pelvis alignment and center of gravity change, it can cause uneven loading and pain. When one part of your body doesn’t work correctly, other parts have to compensate for the weak point. Weakness of supporting muscles causes superficial muscles to be overworked, which may result in pain, excess muscle tension, and spasms.

Because your body works as a kinetic chain from head to toe, the upper body’s and foot’s function and alignments affect also your pelvis function. In walking and running, your rib cage and thoracic spine should be moving (rotating) naturally. If that movement is restricted then your lumbar spine will compensate with overloading and pain. If your foot elasticity and strength are missing, the kinetic chain from foot to pelvis can’t activate your muscles correctly during gait, which causes muscle imbalances and a risk of injury. As you see every body part is connected.

Incorrect pelvic alignment should be corrected as soon as possible because over time it may cause degenerative changes on your spinal structures, or even herniated disc and sciatica. Besides spinal structures, the SI-joint can be affected from pelvic misalignment. SI-joints are small joints between your Ilium and Sacrum which have very small but important motion. However, too much or too little motion can change your pelvis and SI-joint alignment and affects your gait. Si-joint pain is very local on one or both sides of the buttocks. SI-joint problems can be caused by weakness of supporting muscles ( muscles surrounding spine, pelvis and hip), which allow your pelvis girdle to tilt forward and causes excess pelvic motion while walking or running.

By correcting your muscle imbalances and misalignment are better treatment for your pain and dysfunction than passive manual therapy alone. Physiotherapist are educated to understanding your body’s bio mechanics, and help get you back in “balance”. Unfortunately here in the US, physical therapists rarely look and treat your body as a whole because usually they treat just a specific injury and pain. The reason for this is clear, physical therapist’s time is expensive and insurance companies are paying only for treatment towards injury and pain, not for prevention. However, the truth is that the source of pain and injury can be somewhere else than where the patient gets treatment, so it is important to take care of the body as a whole.

exercise-therapyPilates one-on-one training with a skilled physiotherapist or a very experienced Pilates Instructor helps tremendously for those who is suffering pelvic girdle dysfunction, low back, hip or SI-joint pain. Modified Pilates and Exercise therapy’s training goal is correcting your muscle imbalances and improving your muscles recruitment patterns. The Pilates approach is to work on your body as a whole and with “no pain is all gain regimen!” Be sure that your Pilates Instructor has the knowledge and education to help you. Even if they have 500 hours of training, it usually doesn’t include much training and modification for people with pain. Also the training usually has very little education on anatomy and physiology. But if you find a good one that is going to be PRICELESS!

For more about PilatesWise program in Carlsbad HERE

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Best Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease – Proper Exercise Program

Importance of exercise for degenerative disc disease

Degenerative%20Disc%20Disease_WebDegenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes for low back pain. The diagnosis of “degenerative disc disease” is not really a disease but a term used to describe the normal changes in our spinal discs as we age. All people experience the changes in their discs that are consistent with greater or lesser degree of degeneration, but not all people will develop symptoms like pain, sciatica or spinal stiffness.

Degenerative disc disease involves the intervertebral discs. Those are the pillow-like cushions between your vertebrae in your spine. They help your back carry weight and allow complex motions of the spine while maintaining stability. As you age, the discs can lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics. They also become thinner as they dehydrate. When all that happens, the discs change from the support that allows fluid movement to a more stiff and rigid state that restricts your movement and causes pain.

A regular routine of back exercises can prevent low back pain and/or reduce the severity and duration of any “flare-ups.” Controlled, gradual, progressive back pain exercises can help the back retain its strength and flexibility. Also, back movement promotes the delivery of nutrients to spine, keeping discs, muscles, ligaments, and joints healthier. Prior to starting a new exercise program, it is always advisable for patients to first see a spine specialist who is trained in developing individualized back exercise programs and in instructing patients in using a correct form and technique for each exercise. Low back pain exercise regimens varies widely depending on the patient’s diagnosis and level of pain.
The best treatment regimen is a proper Spinal Stabilization exercise program

exercise-therapyProper Spinal stabilization exercises with knowledgeable teacher or physical therapist is recommended for treating disc degeneration and the sciatica pain. Alleviating sciatic pain caused by degenerative disc disease includes finding the most comfortable position for the lumbar spine and pelvis (neutral pelvic) and training the body to maintain this position during activities. In doing this correctly, one can improve the proprioception (sense of movement) of the lumbar spine and reduce the excess motion at the spinal segments. This will in turn reduce the amount of irritation at these segments, relieving pain and protecting the area from further damage.

These dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises often require specific hands-on instructions because they offer much less benefits if done incorrectly, and they tend to be much more difficult than they appear. This type of exercise program is progressive, starting with the easier exercises and advancing to the more difficult exercises once the lower level program is mastered. The most important aspect of using these sciatica exercises is sensing and controlling motion in the spine. Once learned, the body can eventually take over and do this without the level of concentration it takes early on.

Pilates is a good way to back rehab

Pilates training in one-on-one settings is also a good way to rehab and prevent back problems. Pilates is a low-impact whole body exercise regimen. Pilates foundation stabilizes your core by contracting deep abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles with proper breathing. If you are looking for Pilates to help your back pain caused by degenerative disc disease, as a physiotherapist I recommend you to work with a very experienced Pilates instructor. Doing Pilates by DVD’s, books or in group settings (mat and reformer classes) are not good ways to learn proper Pilates and may even cause more harm. You may need a instructor or physical therapist who has good hands-on skills and can correct you as needed. Once you find a good instructor you’ll be in your way to get rid of your pain – and that is PRICELESS!

For more about PilatesWise SpinePilates program for people with Degenerative Disc Disease, Sciatica and Lower Back pain in Carlsbad, California, Please visit our website and click HERE

Kinesiophobia – The hidden reason why the back pain becomes chronic

Kinesiophobia – The hidden reason why the back pain becomes chronic

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Kinesiophobia is a disorder where a person believes that movement can cause more injury and pain. A constant cycle of pain, fear, disuse and depression can be a result of kinesiophobia and it definitely slows down a normal recovering process from injury. This can also lead to a long-term problems and chronic pain.

Persons with kinesiophobia tend to believe that the pain what they are experiencing may worsen if they do exercises and certain movements. They start to decrease their physical activity which unfortunately causes even more problems like joint stiffness, unnecessary muscle tension, supporting muscles weakness, etc. People with kinesiophobia are in a pain cycle (picture below), and getting out of this circle is very hard to do on their own.

pain cycle

As a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor I have treated many chronic back pain clients who are terrified exercising but want to get better. Some of them have already had bad experiences on Physical Therapy and doctors care. Painkillers do definitely not help if the source of pain mostly comes from patient’s fear, compensations and guarding. In Physical Therapy the trend is to work on many clients at same time, so they probably don’t have any extra time to concentrate or realize your fear and compensations. It is not either a good idea to give home exercises to people who has a kinesiophopia because they find it hard to do them correctly. Fear of pain also effects negatively to neuro-muscle connection and muscle recruitment, so exercises may do more harm than good. However, the truth is that movement heals and it has a crucial role of chronic back pain treatment, but it really does matter what kind of exercises and instruction you get to actually help you.

exercise-therapyOne-on-one Pilates with skilled Physical Therapist or very experienced Pilates instructor can help those who have kinesiophobia and chronic back pain. Well designed, slow, graded and progressive Pilates program which aims on practicing control of movement, breathing and proper muscle work will definitely help reduce fear of movement and also gradually overcome kinesiophobia. In Pilates every movement has to be PAIN FREE! Pilates with a good teacher helps you get your confidence in your ability to move. Returning to normal movement is an important step in breaking the kinesiophobia pain cycle. Pilates exercises help you rebuild normal movement and function which in turn relieve pain and improve your overall quality of life. Staying active is a critical component of chronic pain and back pain treatment. Don’t let your fear ruin your full potential recovery and stop you to do the activities that you love.

More about PilatesWise program in Carlsbad California, please visit our website www.pilateswise.com, our SpinePilates program is now also available via SKYPE for people around US and world!!! MORE ABOUT SKYPE TRAINING, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Home exercises vs. Pilates training for Orthopedic Rehab (at Carlsbad Pilates studio)

Home Exercises vs Pilates for Orthopedic Rehabilitation

Therapeutic exercises are a part of traditional physical therapy and they are a very important way to get the client more involved in their own rehabilitation process. Unfortunately, the home exercises should be given only if clients can do them with proper form by recruiting correct muscles. Unfortunately, when they are injured or have pain, they may compensate, which makes it harder to learn a proper form. The matter of fact is, if they repeat these home exercises with poor form and control, the exercises may do more harm than good.

Many physical therapy practices seem to use their physical therapy aid to teach home exercises to clients and that is not ideal. Physical therapy aids usually have very little knowledge about body biomechanics and anatomy, even when PT aids are trained and supervised by a Physical Therapist. If those home exercises are not taught well, they are not going to help either. Furthermore, home exercises are usually isolated to strengthening and stretching the muscles around injury, and that may sometimes be too much to tolerate, especially when clients have pain or fear of pain. So, in home environment clients may not repeat their home exercises correctly which may lead them to compensate and add even more muscle imbalances than they have already.

If you were injured and think that you are fully recovered, you may still have 50% chance to get the same injury again or create a new one. Why? Because your brain may develop faulty movement patterns during your injury and pain. You start to compensate and your brain adapts to that faulty way of moving. Sometimes, even though you feel better and don’t have pain anymore, you may still have those compensatory faulty movement patterns. These faulty patterns can lead to new injury by placing abnormal stress and load on joints and soft tissues.

You need to re-program your neuro-muscle system to correct these faulty movement patterns. It may sound easy, but it is not. Unfortunately, your short visits to Physical Therapy and doing home exercises, is probably not helping to correct these faulty movement patterns and muscle imbalances, because they focus more on your injury, not on how you may compensate it. The ideal rehabilitation program should focus on your whole body alignment and how your body parts are working together.  Traditional Physical Therapy may still help at your acute stage but after initial physical therapy it would be very wise to continue your rehabilitation process with Rehab Pilates.

Pilates as a Rehabilitation is a missing link in your recovering process from injury and pain. Pilates Rehab works for many reasons. Great attention to detail and form is a perfect way for clients to gain strength in their weaker and injured muscles and joints as well as the whole body. Pilates develops a smaller muscle group that works to support joints and body structures. It is a great way to complete your Physical Therapy. It works also as an alternative rehabilitation method for people with orthopedic issues and dysfunctions. Pilates one-on-one training with experienced Pilates Instructor or Physical Therapist can help people with their real underlying problems such as correcting those muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns (which may have caused your injury in the first place). It is pretty much re-educating your body to work more optimally, economically and ergonomically with proper alignment, control and coordination. With Pilates you will get long-term solution about how to take care of your body as a whole – and the best part, being injury FREE! It’s all about PREVENTION!

For more about PilatesWise after Physical therapy program, please click HERE

IS YOUR BACK PAIN CAUSED BY MYOFASCIA? (by Pilates Wise Carlsbad, San Diego)

Fascia covers whole body and it provides structural support around our organs, muscles, joints, bones and nerve fibers. Fascia helps prevent and minimize localized stress in particular muscle, joint or bone. It is always under tension as long as gravity is present, and it also provides stabilizer components that helps our posture and allows us to perform movement automatically.

Fascia has been viewed clinically as a potential source of dysfunction. The research has found that chronic pain patients have some pathological changes in their thoracolumbar fascia. The thoracolumbar fascia is a tough fibrous sheet covering the back. It is tensioned by the muscles above, side and below. The fascia works as an attachment to several muscles and plays an important role of stabilization of the thoracolumbar and pelvic regions (as well sacroiliac joints). The thoracolumbar fascia attaches to the external obliques, internal obliques, transverse abdominals, latissumus dorsi and gluteus maximus. Because these muscles are connected through the same fascia, myofascia chains may contain restrictions and dysfunction in one area that influence another remote area. The thoracolumbar fascia also contains three nerve endings and may play a neuro-sensory role in lumbar spine pain mechanism.

Thoracolumbar fascia’s role as a cause of back pain is something that it is not shown by x-ray or MRI and is often underestimated by doctors. Chiropractors and spinal specialist treat spinal pain as a pain from vertebras or disc, but that is not always the underlying problem and may be a big reason why the back pain becomes, and continues, chronic. In most cases of back pain, especially in sub-acute or chronic back pain, the cause of the underlying problem may be more in muscle imbalances, poor posture or even myofascial dysfunction than spinal structure itself.

 

There are many specific stretching techniques about how you can release and mobilize the thoracolumbar fascia yourself, for example rolling with the foam roll. Besides releasing fascia, it is still very important to take care of your (deep stabilizer) muscles strength around your spine. Spinal stabilization training is specifically designed for people with back pain. It is scientifically proven to be very helpful exercise method for rehabilitating your back more safely and efficiently. For more information about Active Back Pain Rehabilitation, please click HERE

Is Pilates All That Clients Need to Get Rid Of Back Pain?

   

Is Pilates as good to relieve back pain as many instructors advertise? Back pain is very complicated issue and there is no only one way to get rid of it. Many treatments fail because they only treat symptoms of back pain – not the real underlying problems. For 80% of back pain sufferers the most typical underlying problems are poor posture and muscle imbalance. Pilates is a well-known exercise form which is claimed to improve posture, core stability and strength. It is true that Pilates works better for back pain sufferers than other exercise forms, but results are often as good as the Pilates instructor is.

Muscle Imbalance

Pilates is a wonderful tool to strengthen deep stabilizer muscles (transverse abdominus and multifidus muscles) which support your spine. Studies have found that weak spinal muscles are typically found from people with back pain. Unfortunately, improving back stabilizer muscles is not enough. The pelvic and hip region muscles are also important and when they are unbalanced, they tend to impact back and spine function as well. For example hamstring, piriformis and hip flexor muscles tightness put tremendous pressure to the lower back and changing the pelvic alignment. Many Pilates exercises involve hamstrings, hip flexor and piriformis muscles which may actually further add imbalances and tightness of those muscles. Pilates focuses stretching by lengthening extremities and aiming the joints full range of motion. Unfortunately, just Pilates “lengthening” is probably not enough for a person who has  back pain and extreme tightness of these muscles. So, it’s a good idea to add also some traditional stretching to help better reduce tightness and relieve back pain.

Better Posture

Body alignment is a Pilates foundation which is very important for people with back pain. It’s a big help for back pain sufferers to know what alignment they have to keep and carry themselves, because with the optimal posture the pressure of the lumbar spine is minimal. Neutral pelvic & spine position is important but also the rest of the body’s proper alignment – from head to toe. Pilates instructor who teaches the back pain clients only on the supine position (lying on back) can’t improve much the clients’ posture. It’s important to teach spine and pelvic alignment in both standing and sitting positions where the muscles are working as a daily basis. Pilates improves posture and muscle balance if the Pilates instructors have a good eye and good knowledge of anatomy & biomechanics. Unfortunately, many Pilates instructors lack the knowledge of these areas.

Compensation, Muscle Recruitment

Always when pain is persisting, the muscles work differently. The other muscles “shut down” when the other muscles have to overwork by taking care of the others job. Researches have shown that of the people who has back pain the muscle recruitment changed. Deep spine stabilizer muscles are not working correctly and efficiently and superficial muscles take over, unfortunately with poor outcome. This often makes the back very vulnerable for re-injury. Back pain clients lose the control of deep stabilizer muscles -transverse abdominus and multifidus muscles – and so it’s very important to re-educate these muscles working correctly to help support spine. Pilates is a great tool to re-educate those muscles working correctly because all the movements start by contracting transverse abdominal muscles. Also many back pain clients overuse piriformis, hamstrings & hip flexors muscles and superficial back muscles and under use glutealis muscles. To identify and correct faulty movement patterns as well as faulty muscle recruitment needs again a knowledgeable and experienced instructor who has more in-depth anatomy and body mechanics education than a basic comprehensive Pilates education program can offer.

Fear of Re-Injury

Biggest fear for people with back pain is a chance of re-injury. There are many movements in Pilates which are not suitable for people with back pain and are even contraindicated. Every back pain clients are different, and so are Pilates programs. The biggest mistake is to teach too difficult movements too soon, which can cause even more pain and client is definitely not coming back after that experience. One-on-one Pilates sessions with an experienced instructor are essential! Clients have to have full trust to instructors skills so that they can get over their fear and let the movements heal. As a Physiotherapist I do not recommend group mat Pilates class or reformer class for anyone who have back pain!.

Pilates repertoire has many good exercises for back pain sufferers and it’s a wonderful exercise regimen to improve postural muscles strength and stability by giving more support for spine. Unfortunately, even that Pilates is a good exercise method, it does not mean that it’s completely correct to all problems and issues the back pain sufferers might have and very often good results depend on how good, knowledgeable and skilled the Pilates Instructor actually is. Working with back pain clients needs a more carefully designed program and much more knowledge about suitability of movements, rehabilitation and healing process. And in addition to Pilates it is a good idea to add some classical stretching exercises to loosen tight muscles. The tight muscles (hamstrings, hip flexor, piriformis) might cause the back pain or caused by back pain and they might be the reason why some people’s back pain is continuing or returning later.

Our Active Back Pain Rehabilitation is combination of Pilates and Spinal Stabilization training. Spinal stabilization training and Pilates are both clinically proven to be effective and safe way to rehabilitate back pain and prevent future injuries. Our program is available for clients in San Diego North County. Our studio is located in Carlsbad, just short driving distance from Oceanside, Encinitas, Vista, San Marcos, Leucadia, Solana Beach. Please click HERE and read more about our programs.