Tag Archive | back pain relief carlsbad

Spinal muscles are an essential part of back pain relief and prevetion

Importance of spinal muscles rehab to relieve and prevent back pain

pilates_back rehab_carlsbadDid you know that muscles have a critical role of supporting your spine, preventing and reducing back pain? Very often medical professionals underestimate the importance of the deep stabilizer muscles helping your recovery process from the back injury.

Studies show that after first episode of back pain, the deep back and abs stabilizer muscles become impaired and stop working properly. Those muscles are not recovering themselves, even when your back pain is gone. After that initial recovery your back and spine are still unstable and vulnerable to re-injury. So the fact is that very often poor spinal stability and support are directly linked with acute as well as chronic back pain.

The deep stabilizer muscles have a big role in taking off the total load from your back and let your spine and back heal better itself. So, in order to getting a long term solution to relieve back pain and prevent future injuries, a proper exercise program is essential.

Achieving and maintaining spinal stability

ImageThe human spine is unstable without its musculature and muscle control. The deep muscles, which are close to the lumbar spine, function is protecting spine from injury and their dysfunction shows as low back pain. Researchers have found out that people with lower back pain lose their ability to properly contract deep stabilizer muscles (probably) through pain inhibition. Deep back muscles – Multifidus and deep abdominal muscles Trasverse abdominus – are vital in controlling the lumbar spine. If those stabilizer muscles fail to function, stability may temporarily be provided by mobilizer (external obliques, rectus abdominal) muscles instead. The precision of movement is lost, leading to an observable movement dysfunction. So, finding the right muscles to train is a crucial part of an effective back rehabilitation. Unfortunately, many “traditional” back exercises only engage superficial muscles and actually may even increase uncontrolled mobility (instability) and decrease stability in the lumbar spine thus increasing risk of re-injury.

Spinal Stabilization training with Physical Therapist, or Pilates with very experienced Pilates instructor or Physical Therapist, will help you find and train your deep stabilizer muscles. These both methods focus on improving mechanical support of the spinal joints through specific deep muscle contraction exercises and clients learn to dissociate the use of deeper muscles from the use of the more superficial muscles.

Pilates for back rehabilitation and prevention
Pilates develops spinal (core, back) stability. The exercises focus on developing the strength and flexibility through appropriate use of the spinal muscles, which act as stabilizers and create vital support for the spine. Training with an experienced Pilates instructor improves your body awareness and teaches you how the proper muscle functions support and protect the spine. The Pilates method is designed to condition the whole body and will also help your overall muscle control, coordination and proper movement patterns.

Spinal stabilization training for back rehabilitation
Spinal stabilization training (used often by Physical Therapists) refers to back rehabilitation exercises specifically designed to isolate stabilizing and strengthening weak muscles of the spine as well as pelvic hip region. The SST is gradually progressive and specifically designed based on your specific needs and conditions. Spinal Stabilization training helps ensure movement in a controlled pain free range with proper muscle activation.

Pilates as well as Spinal Stabilization training focus also on improving overall muscle balances and posture which often heavily contribute back pain or are even the cause of the back pain in the first place. Both training methods are safe and effective way to rehabilitate back pain as well as prevent back injuries. Investing in your back and spinal health is important and with pilates or spinal stabilization training you will get a long-term solution to get rid of your back pain, or least learn to manage it. You will get sooner back to your active lifestyle and sport what you love!

Our SpinePilates program, in Carlsbad California, is specifically designed for people with back pain caused by herniated disc, sciatica, bulging disc, SI-joint dysfunction, scoliosis, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis,spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease etc. The program is combination of Pilates exercises and Spinal Stabilization training and taught by Physical Therapist & certified Pilates Instructor.

Advertisements

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

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.