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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Common Problems, Exercise Therapy and Rehab Pilates

 acordax616Healthline website wrote a very good description about Multiple Sclerosis: “Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases mistake normal, healthy parts of the body as foreign and attack them. In the case of MS, the body attacks and destroys the protective sheath that surrounds your nerves. This sheath is called myelin. The damage to and destruction of the myelin eventually affects the nerves. Nerve damage delays and disrupts communication between your brain and parts of the body”.

Common physical problems with Multiple Sclerosis clients:

1. Foot drop

Foot drop is usually caused by a combination of weakness of the muscles of ankle dorsi flexion and tightness in the muscles of ankle plantar flexion. The weakness can be secondary to a loss of central nervous system activation, to disuse, or to some combination of the two. The tightness can be a result of plantar flexor spasticity, prolonged positioning in plantar flexion leading to decreased range of motion, or both.
Regardless of the cause, foot drop leads to higher risk of falling. An exercise program should focus on active and passive plantar flexor stretching, dorsi flexion strengthening, and exercises that retrain the ankle to function more properly during gait and balance activities.

2. Gait and balance dysfunction
For Multiple Sclerosis the gait difficulties are common and complicated. Gait may be limited by foot drop, and/or by hip and knee weakness and stiffness, lower extremity sensory loss, visual and vestibular damage, and cognitive loss. Balance loss in MS is similarly complex and is usually caused by a combination of factors that include weakness, stiffness, sensory loss, visual and vestibular loss, motor control impairments, and cognitive issues.
To prevent potential complications from gait dysfunction and balance loss is recommended to start physical therapy or Rehab Pilates (w/physical therapist) very early on.

3. Weakness and stiffness
MS clients overall weakness and stiffness are caused by CNS dysfunction but also may be a result of disuse. Stiffness can cause weakness and vice-versa.
Although stretching and strengthening exercises are clearly indicated, they must be tailored to each client’s individual needs and state of disease. Stretching and strengthening exercises should be gentle, and that is why Pilates with apparatus is a good fit for people with MS.

4. Fatigue
One of the most common findings in MS is fatigue, a lack of physical and/or mental energy. It can be primary due to CNS dysfunction, or caused by disuse atrophy from an overly sedentary lifestyle that the MS patient has adopted. Movement becomes increasingly difficult and exhausting, leading to a cycle of further immobility and worsening fatigue.
Exercise has to be gentle and with rest breaks—proper exercise program makes possible greater fitness gains without excess fatigue. Many MS clients find that Pilates exercises works well, because of breathing, engaging your deep core muscles and slow pace movements. After a class with a good teacher you feel more relaxed and less tired even though you have been working hard.

5. Mobility
MS is a disease of mobility. The big factors like loss of strength, range of motion, endurance, and balance cause many problems for MS clients daily activities and quality of life. So, that’s why exercise is the number one treatment for people with multiple sclerosis. USE IT OR LOSE IT!

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Why Pilates for Multiple Sclerosis Rehab / Fitness?

Studies show that Pilates training develops balance, mobility and muscle strength of MS clients. For this reason, Pilates exercises, which are appropriate for the disability level of the clients, may be very beneficial and suggested. Pilates focuses on core muscles. Those are the muscles located around your center and spine. They are very important for your overall stability and balance. Pilates does not only build your core muscles, but also enhances your overall strength, body awareness, posture, flexibility and mobility. Muscle flexibility and Joint mobility are important to reduce stiffness and pain. Pilates training emphasizes proper breathing and smooth, flowing movements which are both natural stress relievers and causes less fatigue after session than normal exercise class. Pilates (with a good Pilates Instructor) facilitates proper movement patterns, so the muscles can learn to work more efficiently. Pilates exercises also re-educate the multiple sclerosis clients neuromuscular system. Pilates taught by Physical Therapist or very experienced Pilates Instructor is a safe workout and a good rehabilitation form for MS of any age and any other conditions because sessions can be modified for your needs and conditions.

Any Challenges?

Finding a good Pilates instructor experienced in working with people that have neurological issues and Multiple Sclerosis may be a big challenge. Our program NEUROPILATES is available for people who live around the San Diego, North County, CA.

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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.

Pilates – The best way rehab orthopedic injuries ( Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside)

Pilates – The best way to injury recovery and prevention

Knee-injury If you are injured and have pain, did you know that there is more to recovery than just getting rid of pain? If your rehab only focuses on pain it will always miss the root cause of the real problem. The fact is that pain and injury oftentimes change the way how you use and move your body. The neurological connection between brain and muscles is not working properly and body starts to compensate. The compensation patterns create altered alignment in the joint, leading instability (too much uncontrolled motion) and abnormal wear on the joint surfaces. It also puts excess stress and tension on ligaments, tendons and muscles. When the muscle imbalances and faulty compensatory movement patterns are left untreated, there is a chance that you will suffer from that same injury again or additional injuries somewhere else.

The key to orthopedic rehabilitation is not only to get rid of pain and injury, but also identify and treat muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns. Unfortunately, that is not often the case in a regular Physical Therapy. Therapists are often too busy and do not have time to look at the whole picture of how you are compensating or how to treat your muscle imbalances. If you really want to get rid of your injury and complete your rehabilitation after Physical Therapy, take private Pilates classes with an experienced hands-on-skilled Pilates instructor, or even better, with Physical Therapist who is trained in Pilates.

exercise-therapyPilates rehabilitation also works as an alternative for Physical Therapy, or together with Physical Therapy. I strongly feel that Pilates really is a missing part these days in orthopedic (musculoskeletal) rehabilitation. In Pilates, clients become more responsible for their own rehabilitation process. It is not just going to a therapist, lying down and receiving passive treatment by a Physical Therapist. Pilates is an active form of rehabilitation which can addresses a specific injury site while rehabilitating entire body. It can vary from specific isolated movements to more dynamic ones as necessary for that stage of rehab. A successful recovery includes regaining deep stabilizer muscles strength, joints’ controlled mobility and achieving muscles flexibility back to the normal level – that’s what Pilates exercises are all about. Pilates focuses also on the total body integration, working the whole body on proper alignments and posture, improving your joint stability and mobility – all those aspects that you need to recover safely and effectively.

However, it’s important to notice that there is big difference between teaching Pilates as a form of fitness and using it as a form of rehabilitation. If you are injured and consider Pilates, it’s important to make sure that your instructor has experience to work with injuries. An experienced Pilates Instructor or Physical Therapist trained in Pilates can provide an individualized rehabilitation program based on your special needs and conditions by identifying and correcting your muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns. By investing in your sessions, you will get an injury-fee, well-balanced and well-functioning body. Not that bad investment at all, or what do you think?

More about PilatesWise pilates training for orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation, please click HERE

Exercise is part of Arthritis Treatment ( Pilates Wise, Carlsbad, Encinitas )

Exercise is an important part of arthritis treatment

When you have pain, probably last thing what you want to do is exercise. But did you know that disuse and inactivity can lead a muscle loss and joint stiffness by causing even more pain and discomfort? Researches have shown that proper exercise is crucial in managing arthritis and pain. It reduces stiffness and pain, builds strong muscle around joints and increases flexibility, joint stability and control.

Most importantly, proper exercise can help lubricate joint surfaces, build and provide nutrition to cartilage and decreases inflammation. Motion is really a lotion!

One of the most suitable exercise forms for arthritis is Pilates. Pilates exercises strengthen deep stabilizer muscles which support your joints and provide joint protection. Pilates exercises taught by an experienced Pilates instructor can also help reduce your joint stiffness and maintain/improve joints range-of-motion and a proper joint alignment. Posture and proper spine and joints alignment are very important part of treating arthritis as well as preventing further joint degeneration. As you probably know, poor posture put excess pressure on your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons by causing more pain and joint wear and tear or even arthritis.

Very unique about Pilates are Pilates machines (reformer, trapeze table, wunda chair) which are designed to work your body in a safe and controlled alignment. Those machines are spring loaded which makes them very “joint friendly”. Pilates apparatus together with a knowledgeable instructor help you  work your supporting muscles around your painful and inflamed joints without aggravating them. And the facts that Pilates works your body as a whole and all exercises are low-impact, low resistance and should be performed in pain free range, make it even more suitable for people with arthritis.

If you consider Pilates a part of your arthritis treatment plan, it is important to work with experienced Pilates Instructor or Physical Therapist. An effective Pilates program has to always be customized for your specific needs and conditions.

 More about PilatesWise program in Carlsbad village, California, please click HERE 

Can Yoga Be Bad For You? ( by physiotherapist Carlsbad, CA)

 

Yoga is very well known about it’s healing side, but can yoga also harm you? People have more and more physical problems today and an increasing numbers of population is turning to Yoga for exercise and relaxation. Yoga is well known also about relieving tightness and pain in joints, bones and muscles. Even though Yoga has many health benefits, if practiced incorrectly it may lead to injury and pain. Typical Yoga injuries are muscle strains, torn ligaments, shoulder problems, neck and back aches & pains. One reason of injuries is that people are pushing themselves past their limits and not knowing how far they can go. Another reason is a teacher who is not well-trained and has very limited knowledge about healthy and safe joint alignment and human anatomy.

Did you know that many yoga gurus and yoga enthusiasts have experienced back or neck pain? Many yoga poses force your spine to go too far beyond its normal and healthy alignment. Ideal Yogis are flexible and limber, right? However, too much flexibility is not good for anyone. The joints hypermobility (too much movement) puts excess pressure for your joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Loose ligaments and muscles can not support your joint enough, thus increasing risk of injury, pain or even arthritis. Our body is not designed to be like “human pretzel” anyway.

Hot Yoga is worst type of yoga if you have problems with your joint hypermobility, previous orthpedic injuries or fibromyalgia. In the hot room temperature Yoga poses are more intense because warm muscles let you stretch even more and at same time increases risk of injuries tremendously. So, as a Physical Therapist I do not recommend hot yoga as a healing aid for anyone who has problems with inflammation, pain or joint & soft tissue.

In my studio I have two former Yogis with serous back and neck problems. One has fusion in her cervical vertebras as well lumbar vertebras (L4-L5). She has been hypermobile whole her life and her spine was extremely flexible because of spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebras). She used to go to chiropractor three times a week which isn’t definitely helpful for her spinal instability and joint hypermobility. The other Yogis has herniated disc in her cervical spine, I’m wondering what causes that condition for seemingly healthy person…how about head stand or shoulder stand? Normally our weight is shifted by ankle, knee, hip and SI-joint, not by cervical spine. Even though your neck is a correct position while head standing, repetitiions many times a week is not good for your cervical spine and when we are getting older it is not even recommended anyway. It is good to keep in mind that at over 50 years old almost all of us are getting arthritics changes in our spine, which is a normal aging process. My client is over 55 and in a very good shape, but besides herniated disc on her cervical spine, she has also chronic back pain with sciatica, caused by sponlylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. Yep, all of these in one person! She told me that she has been very active for whole her life and also practiced Yoga almost every day in a very advanced level (with head and shoulder stand). If I’m just looking at these two Yogis with all orthopedic problems what they have, my opinion is that Yoga can be sometimes bad for you. Especially if you really are extremely flexible like these two Too much is too much!

So, if you have too much movement (hypermobility) in your joints, you simply need more stability, not joint mobility or muscle flexibility. You need to strengthen supporting muscles around your joints which improve your joint stability and healthy, proper alignments. Pilates is a great form for improving your joints stabilization. Although many teachers typically have dancer background, they may also teach you to go too far. So, take the class from an experienced pilates instructor who has more knowledge about anatomy, proper biomechanics and orthopedic issues that you might have. If you find a good teacher you get definitely a long-term solution for your problems with pain, spine instability and joint hypermobility.

More about PIlatesWise Pilates & Rehabilitation program in Carlsbad California, please click HERE

KNEE PAIN WHILE RUNNING? ( by Pilates Wise in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside)

Got knee pain while running ? Pilates helps.

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Knee pain is very common overuse syndrome for runners. Pain is our body’s alarm system telling us that something is wrong. However, many runners ignore this natural alarm system and just keep running. Some runners even look for help from pain medications or knee brace.

But did you know that running with pain changes your strike? You probably start shifting weight more to your non-pain side and maybe start limping a little. This compensatory movement pattern put uneven pressure to your other joints, muscles and ligaments and leads to muscle imbalances, and over the time pain and injury elsewhere.

Two Imagemost common injuries for runners are Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome. Many runners think that just wearing knee brace or band help them to keep running. Unfortunately, these two common knee injuries develop over time from overuse and knee brace or band doesn’t appear to provide additional. Knee brace may even inhibit your normal joint function causing the pain continue or move to the other areas of the body. The best brace is your own muscle brace.

If you are experiencing knee pain from overuse, something is going on and need to be fixed. The essential components of treating your overuse injuries are stretching, strengthening and stability exercises. Muscle imbalance between quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, IT-band and glutealis muscles, are very common for people with knee pain. Tight muscles like hamstrings , quadriceps (Rectus femoris) or IT-band are pulling the knee joint and knee cap out of their proper alignment by causing abnormal stress into the knee joint. Gluteus medius and Quadriceps (Vastus lateralis, Vastus medialis) muscles weakness, which is very common for runners, causes problem with knee joint stabilization. Unstable knee joint is more vulnerable to injury and also put unnecessary stress to ligaments, muscles and tendons around the knee joint.

One-on-One Pilates with experienced Pilates instructor, who has a good knowledge about knee injuries, biomechanics and anatomy, can help with typical runners overuse injuries. Pilates equipment are perfect for knee rehabilitation. They are spring loaded, and very gentle for the joints by putting less pressure for knee joint while strengthen the supporting muscle around joint. In Pilates training improves hip-knee-ankle alignment and muscle balance which often causes your knee problem in the first place. In Pilates we have great attention to whole body alignment from head to toe and we focus on gaining strength, stability and mobility – not only your the injured & weaker side but also the whole body. Besides as knee rehabilitation, Pilates is also very good as overall cross-training form for runners to prevent also from other injuries.

More about PilatesWise program at Carlsbad Village Pilates studio, 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