Tag Archive | back rehabilitation

Take Care Of Your Spinal Health After Spinal Fusion


Did you know that here in the US the volume of spinal fusion surgeries is the most increased among Orthopedic “procedures”? Since 1996 the number of spinal surgeries has increased as much as 116%. Spinal fusion surgery is not that simple and it’s not always successful either. Sometimes underlying problems which caused your back pain in the first place are still there; poor posture, sacroiliac joint instability, weak supporting muscles, hip and thoracic spine limited rotational movement and shoulder girdle hypo or hyper mobility. Without proper treatment of underlying problems the spinal fusion alone is not the final answer to get rid of your pain longer term.

It is very true that in many cases the lower back pain is caused by lumbar spine instability (and nerve irritation) which basically means that there is too much unnecessary movement between vertebrae. Spinal instability does not come overnight and it is more complicated than how it looks like. One reason to have lower back spinal instability is when your hip rotation is limited or you have limited rotation on your thoracic spine. Lumbar spine does not have rotation or lateral flexion, but if rotation is not happening naturally from the place where it should (hip, thoracic spine), the body starts to compensate with excess rotational movement from your lumbar spine. Lumbar spine has to change it’s functioning and force vertebras, discs and ligaments to work the way that they are not built for, causing nerve compression and PAIN. And if spinal supporting muscles are also weak they are adding unnecessary movement and pain. Research shows that deep stabilizer back muscles are “shut down” those who got chronic back pain.

What happened after spinal fusion then? Spinal fusion limits your spine movement at the place which caused the pain, and that is a good thing, right? Unfortunately, body starts to compensate again and looks for the next place to do those missing movements and guess what, that is above and below fusion point. Those vertebras are now in danger and maybe develop similar spinal instability and nerve irritation to those vertebras which were fused together. What now – new fusion?

However, there is an other way to deal with this and that is to find a Physical Therapist who will assess your posture, muscle balance and whole body functioning, not just isolate back problems alone. Heat/cold pack, massage and back exercises are not working. Main problem might be elsewhere than in your lumbar spine alone. PT will analyze your movement and concentrate on increasing your spine & joints mobility and normal range of motion (especially rotation) and decrease hyper mobility with proper strengthening exercises (spinal stabilization training). Our body is a kinetic chain and all parts have to work together, so instead of just isolating to treat back pain, you must understand and treat the whole body.

Getting lifelong results and better spinal and proper body function, I warmly recommend to try Pilates private training. Pilates is an incredible treatment for all people with or without spinal fusion. If you don’t find a Physical Therapist who can teach Pilates for you, just look for an experienced Pilates Instructor who has education and experience to working with people with back pain and after spinal fusion. Pilates does probably not include that much stretching that people with back pain might need (hamstrings, piriformis, hip flexors), but it is a good way to strengthen your spinal supporting muscles, improve your range of motion and working your whole body more efficiently and safely. And the best part – with good Pilates instructor you will learn BODY AWARENESS. Body awareness is going to be a big help taking care of your spinal health after spinal fusion and back pain – and that is PRICELESS!!

More about PilatesWise Pilates & Spinal Stabilization training for back problems, please check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDzsq7u199s or Visit our website click HERE.


Pilates for Rehabilitation- Does It Work?

Today the Pilates method is widely practiced for both rehabilitation and fitness. Physical Therapists are recognizing Pilates as one of the most successful methods to treat many injuries, spinal disorders and joint diseases. However, Pilates rehabilitation is not only limited to just orthopedics and spine health but it also benefits individuals with neurological problems (MS), chronic pain (fibromyalgia), women’s health needs (menopause, osteoporosis, pre/post natal), performance enhancement needs (athletes), arthritic impairments (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis) and other movement dysfunctions.

How does Pilates method work? Pilates therapeutic exercises focus on individual asymmetries in flexibility, strength and muscle recruitment patterns. Pilates trains several muscle groups at once through smooth, continuous movements. By developing a proper technique, clients can actually re-train their body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion. No other exercise form is so gentle to the body while giving it a challenging workout!

Professional Pilates instructors give great attention and facilitation to you to gain strength, coordination, control and function in your weaker or injured muscles and joints. Pilates exercise not only leads to improvement at the injury site, but also improves your overall strength and function.

However, it is important to note that most Pilates instructors are not trained to work with rehabilitation. Always ask your instructors’ qualifications and beware of those Pilates instructors who don’t have real clinical knowledge and skills about your injuries or diseases. Done improperly, some of the Pilates exercises can slow down the healing process or even be contraindicated.

A good Pilates instructor with rehab background can help you to balance your body both physically and mentally and successfully support your healing process. Pilates is a mind and body method and a great natural alternative treatment or those who are looking for a different rehabilitation way. And the best thing is – it’s works too!

For more about Pilateswise rehabilitation program, please visit our website and click HERE.

Pilates for SI-Joint Rehabilitation

The Sacroiliac joint (SI-joint) is located between your pelvic (ilium) and sacrum (sacral vertebrae).This joint does not move very much but it is critical to transferring the load of the upper body to the lower body and provides shock absorption for the spine. SI-joint dysfunction is common source of back pain. The pain is dull, deep pain on your back or buttock and it may refer to the groin, down to the leg. The pain can be similar sciatica-like pain to herniated disc.

SI-joint dysfunction and pain may be caused by sacroiliac joints hypermobility (too much movement) or hypomoblity (too little movement). Si-joint hypermobility (joint instability) is typical for young woman during and after pregnancy. Abnormal or asymmetric forces to the hip and lumbar area may also cause SI-joint hypermobility or even torn ligaments around the joint.

One of the best “treatment” to the SI-joint pain and hypermobility is specific pelvic and spinal muscles strengthening and stabilization program. Pilates and lumbar spinal stabilization training are both very efficient and safe exercises for people with SI-jointdysfunction.

The exercises should focus on strengthening the “inner unit”. The inner unit includes the deep back and abdominal stabilizers; transverse abdominus and multifidus muscles as well as pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm. These muscles are your Pilates powerhouse: roof, walls and floor around your spine and pelvic. The Pilates powerhouse muscles provide stability for the SI-Joint and lumbar-pelvic girdle.

The “outer unit” is also important to stabilize your pelvic and spine. The outer unit consist of the obliques (external & internal), latissimus dorsi, erector spinae and gluteus medius & maximus muscles with thoracolumbar fascia. These muscles and fascia contribute to load transfer through the pelvic region with rotational activities and during gait. Also muscles around your hips such as hip abductors, adductors and rotators are important because they are involved in a proper function of the pelvic girdle while walking and standing.

Many Si-joint dysfunction sufferers compensate their movement (due pain) thus resulting more pain and problems also to their spine and back. To avoid further pain and problems Pilates is a wonderful tool. Only challenge is finding a good Pilates instructor who has knowledge and hands-on-skills to work with SI-joint dysfunction.

People can often get rid of SI-joint pain when they start to practice Pilates with a good teacher. A professional Pilates instructor has an eye on correcting client’s compensation patterns and underlying problems. Individually customized Pilates program can also help increase body awareness which is important part of correcting many postural habits in daily life and activities. A proper posture is extremely important for healthy SI-joint and pelvic alignment. Private Pilates training may be pricey, but it provides big help for anyone to alleviate pain and keep strong. The results will be priceless!

For more about PhysioWise back pain therapy program for SI-joint dysfunction, please visit http://www.physio-wise.com

Pilates Improves Spinal Health for Scoliosis

The spine has an important role in our body. It supports the head and trunk and enables us maintain our upright posture. It also provides protection for the main pathway of the nervous system of the body, the spinal cord. Ideally the spine should be straight when it is viewed from behind. Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine has sideways curvature, typically curving in an “S” or a “C”-shape. The curve can appear in varying areas of the spine.

When spine is abnormally curved it causes an imbalance of the surrounding muscles, some are stretched and weakened and some are tight and shortened. Scoliosis causes also unusual weight to be carried on the spinal discs and vertebrae thereby causing back pain.Adult Scoliosis can occur with degeneration process of the spine like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. It weakens vertebrae’s bone and might develop nerve root compression when the vertebral bodies press on the nerves.

Although poor posture can’t cause scoliosis, maintaining proper posture is important to your back health. Pilates helps slow down the progress of the spinal curvature and gives some reduction in the angle of curvature by strengthening your core muscles and improving your posture. Improved function and strength of the trunk muscles take some of the stress off from the scoliotic spine and lessen pain.

The curves don’t go back to normal but with Pilates you will learn how your body is working more equally. Increased body awareness and strong core muscles help you avoid falling into the weaker side that your scoliosis curve wants to go. By knowing your body alignment and how you correct it help you avoid poor postural habits in your daily life, and that is a good self- treatment on your scoliosis and spine health.

Even when Pilates is good exercise for scoliosis, you might still need professional guidance. Good Pilates instructor tailors your Pilates exercises for your specific needs. “Pilates for Scoliosis” is currently a hot topic and there are many books and DVD’s available, but they are not enough – you will need professional help on your Pilates work and definitely some specific modification. There is no “one size fits all” for people with Scoliosis. So be skeptical of those materials and instead go to the well-educated Pilates instructor who has experience in scoliosis. She/he makes a real difference and you are worth it!

Please visit PilatesWise website and slideshow for back pain, click HERE.

Is Pilates Good for Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, also known as the “silent disease”, is characterized by low bone mass and decreased bone tissue. The bones become brittle, thin and prone to fractures, especially of the hip, spine and wrist. Risk factors for developing primary osteoporosis are being postmenopausal, Caucasian or Asian descent, family history, low body weight, little or no physical activity and smoking.

Physical activity has been shown to have a positive affect on bone remodeling. Many people who suffer from osteoporosis mistakenly assume they will fracture bones with exercise and do not realize that regular muscle use and exercise actually protects their bones. Research shows that regular exercise actually increases and maintains bone density at any age. The Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society states physical activity may lower the rate of bone loss, improve muscle strength, and fitness can help lower the risk of fractures and falls among the elderly.

Osteoporosis changes the shape of the vertebral bodies (they become wedge-shaped) leading to Kyphosis, which means that curve of your thoracic spine is increased. The Kyphosis decreases postural support on your upper back and leads pains and spinal pressure.

Pilates is all about body alignment and its specific, corrective exercises help to relieve postural strain on the spine and to prevent further wedging and compression fractures. Pilates repertoire uses your muscles and joints evenly and safely move your joints through their full range of motion by improving flexibility, strength and overall posture. Pilates is a whole-body experience and promotes symmetry of the musculature along with proper body mechanics and that is big benefits for clients with osteoporosis.

Most important exercises for osteoporosis are the exercises that strengthen the back muscles. Back strengthening exercises overall constitute a powerful intervention for reducing pain and increasing functional capacity.

Avoid any exercise that causes pain. Avoid also exercises where you have to lift up your head and chest off the floor and exercises where you have to flex (bend) and rotate (twist) your trunk in the sitting or standing position. All of those exercises put a lot of pressure to vertebrae and discs. Stress into spinal flexion also increases the risk of a vertebral compression fracture.

However, while Pilates is good for osteoporosis, it’s not recommend to start with Mat Pilates. Many Mat Pilates instructors have only very little training and don’t know how to modify exercises for osteoporosis clients. Private Pilates sessions with Pilates instructor, who has knowledge about your disease and condition can really make a difference and help your fight against spinal and bone changing process and enhancing your quality of life.

And it’s never too late to start Pilates program, especially after menopause, when the pace of bone loss really picks up. Even then, starting a Pilates program will increase your muscle strength, improve your balance and it may keep your bones from getting weaker. Please visit our website HERE and learn more our Pilates for back pain program.

Pilates Prevents Golfers Back Pain by Pilates Wise, Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Diego


Did you know that trunk rotation of the golf swing puts enormous pressure on your lower back? That’s why the back problems are the most common type of golf-related injuries.

Weekend golfers who have poor swing mechanics, lack of flexibility and core strength are more likely to get lower back pain. Golfers with poor swing mechanics tend to swing harder, causing larger spinal loads and increased muscle activity, resulting in more stress to the lumbar spine. Pro golfers who are physically fit and have good swing techniques are not immune to lower back problems either. Pro golfers tend to develop lower back pain from overuse due to repetitive one-sided movement.

Golfers who have degenerative disc disease or arthritis in the lumbar spine are more susceptible to overloading their spines. The discs lose their shock-absorbing capabilities, and loads are transferred to other structures within the spine that are unable to withstand these forces. A poor golf swing causes more shearing, compression and rotational forces on the low back. Can you believe that your body weight is forced through your spine eight times as you make contact with the ball? So, if poor mechanics are combined with a weak back, you are more likely to cause yourself a significant injury.

osteoporosisPoor posture is the most significant contributor to golfers’ lower back pain. Poor posture is caused often by muscle imbalances or visa versa. Poor posture and any amount of muscle imbalances cause biomechanical fault to your swing thus increasing risk of lower back injury. Golf swing requires that all elements of the posture have to be properly maintained throughout the swing. Golfers with a good posture swing better – and without back pain! Believe it or not, a proper posture has a positive influence on power production to your swing, too!

Many players with lower back pain are looking for an easy fix to treat their back pain. Some players are taking extra amount of painkillers before game while others try to get quick-fix with chiropractors. It’s true that these “treatment” might help reduce pain temporarily, but they rarely solve the underlying problem(s). If you lack flexibility on your shoulders, spine and hips, weak core muscles, poor posture and muscle imbalances, your back pain is not going anyway. Pain will persist until you decide to concentrate more in caring the cause of the pain, not only symptoms.

Pilates is a good exercise program for people with lower back pain, especially for golfers. Several studies have shown that golfers with low back pain have decreased trunk and hip strength, decreased hamstring flexibility, as well as trunk rotation to the right is also limited. Those are the main problem areas that we are focusing in Pilates – and much more. Pilates is all about body alignment, deep back and abdominal muscles strength, joint and spine mobility and stability, as well as soft tissue flexibility. A well-trained Pilates instructor can identify your musculoskeletal imbalances and provide personalized golf-specific Pilates exercises to improve your posture and overall conditioning specific to golf. Correct posture and good muscle balance will help you to get into proper positions which are required in effective golf swing. And the best part – they will lessen your lower back pain or even help you play pain-free!

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