Tag Archive | corrective exercise

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.

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Knee Injury – Torn Meniscus and Rehabilitation

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The knee is the largest joint in the body. The knee joint has two crescent-shaped cartilage menisci, one inside (medial) and another on the outside (lateral) of the knee. The menisci stabilize the joint, absorbs shock, and disperse lubrication known as a synovial fluid. They are essential for an efficient functioning of the knee. A meniscus injury can lead to critical impairment and overall biomechanics of the knee joint.

Meniscus tear is the most common knee joint injury. The motions that require pivoting, twisting, over-flexing the knee and sports with sudden stops (tennis, basketball) may cause meniscus damage. The most commonly injured meniscus is the one on the inner side of the knee, the medial meniscus.

Meniscus tear onset of symptoms are gradual. The pain is in the inner side of knee and you may hear or feel a pop sound when the injury happened. The knee joint may also click and lock and feel that it is giving away. It may also be swollen and is hard to straighten up.

A blood supply on the meniscus in very poor, and that’s why the meniscus injury heals slowly. If you are an athlete and want to continue your sport, you may need an arthroscopic surgery. If you are middle aged and not that active anymore, the rehabilitation with physical therapy or even pilates with a physical therapist are good ways to rehabilitate your knee injury.

Knee rehabilitation with or without arthroscopic surgery should focus on re-gaining knee’s normal range of motion, enhancing strength of quadriceps (especially vastus lateralis and medialis) and hamstrings muscles and decreasing unnecessary muscle tightness of IT-band and hamstrings muscles. Close attention should also be paid to the overall muscle control, coordination, balance and proprioception.

Pilates for knee rehabilitation with a skilled Pilates Instructor and Physical Therapist is good, safe and efficient way to rehabilitate your
meniscus tear and knee injury. While traditional physical therapy helps you with your knee injury and pain, with Pilates you are going to rehabilitate and strengthen your whole body and prevent efficiently re-injuries by correcting your faulty movement and compensation patterns and improving your overall alignment and posture. We in Pilates rehabilitate the root of pain and injury, not only injury itself and that is what makes the difference resulting a pain and injury free body. Therapeutic / Clinical Pilates rehabilitate and prevent at same time. Pilates is something you should seriously consider when you need a rehabilitation or post-op rehabilitation on your knee injury.

More about PilatesWise knee injury rehabilitation and prevention program, please visit our website and click HERE