Tag Archive | corrective exercises

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


Muscle Imbalances Cause Injury and Chronic Pain ( Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside )

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Did you know that one reason for your ongoing pain might be caused by muscle imbalances? Did you know that having a muscle imbalance might be even the root of injury and chronic muscle and joint pain? Muscle imbalances affect the alignment of musculoskeletal system causing poor alignment. Poor alignment put a lot of pressure on your body’s tendons and ligaments leading to impingements and inefficient biomechanics. The muscle imbalance can be the cause of any muscle, fascia, metabolic or mechanical postural dysfunction and syndromes.

Some injuries cause muscle imbalance, while others may result from a muscle imbalance. Studies show that many common pain and injuries are caused by muscle imbalances on surrounding muscles:

  • Shoulder impingement and shoulder instability – muscle imbalances of the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers
  • Knee IT-band syndrome – the weakness of hip abductors and tightness of IT-band
  • Anterior Knee pain – poor hip strength (extension, abduction, external rotation)
  • Knee Patello-femoral pain syndrome – hip abductor weakness, soleus (calf) tightness
  • SI-Joint dysfunction – hamstring and gluteal weakness and spinal stabilizer weakness
  • Lower back pain – decreased range of motion in hip extension and internal rotation, hip extensor weakness for female, weak deep back & abdominal stabilizer muscles, hamstring & hip flexors tightness.

Injury and pain also causes problems for your neurological connection between brain and muscles, and body start to compensate. Faulty & habitual compensation patterns leads to even more pain and risk of re-injury by creating more altered alignment in the joint, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Over compensation and muscle imbalance do not show on the X-ray or MRI but they might still be the real root reason of your pain and re-injury.

Do not overlook your muscle balance, it is a vital component to injury prevention and rehabilitation from injury. It is very true that by restoring your muscle balance you can tremendously decrease your pain and risk of re-injury!

We identify and treat muscle imbalances, rehabilitate chronic pain, chronic disease and orthopedic injury. Our program is perfect fit after Physical therapy and it’s available at Oceanside and Encinitas Pilates studios. For more information, please visit our website and click HERE

Hypermobile joints may cause risk of injury, joint pain and arthritis


Joint hypermobility means that some or all joints have an abnormal range of motion (movement). This causes joints to be more mobile and less stabile. Many people with hypermobile joints do not have problems, but some might have unpleasant symptoms such as joint & back pain (lower back and SI-joint pain). People with joint hypermobility are also more prone to injuries such as joint dislocation, ligament sprains because they have less joint support around surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments. Abnormal joint wear and tear may cause  joint arthritis (knee, hip & shoulder) and spine osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) earlier than normal aging process does.

There is no health benefit in having a hyperflexible body or being able to twist yourself into a pretzel or able to do split. In fact, pushing your body into extreme stretches can cause injuries. This is something that especially Yoga & Pilates people should know. Yoga is not the best choice for people with hypermobility, for some people it is even contraindicated. Hot Yoga can potentially harm you because heat makes your joints more flexible and you may push even more and way over your joints normal range of motion.

Pilates is good for people with hypermobility because it strengthens all stabilizing muscles in your body, not only core muscles. Unfortunately, Pilates is nowadays more about group exercises, mat and reformer classes, where the teachers don’t pay enough attention to each student’s proper form and individual needs. If you have a problem with your joints and got pain, it’s advisable to take private lessons from a certified Pilates instructor, who also has extended knowledge about body biomechanics and anatomy ( regular Pilates education lacks the knowledge of these two important areas). Some Pilates Instructors have no idea what a normal range of motion of joints is and might force their clients to do too wide range of motion without any joint stabilization, correct alignment or muscles support. However, overall Pilates is a great way to prevent injuries for those who are hyper mobile, as well as for those who are hypo mobile – both of them need a proper amount of muscle stability, strength and control as well as NORMAL muscle flexibility and joint mobility.

It’s very important for Pilates and Yoga instructors to know the joints normal range of motion. It’s unnecessary, and many times unhealthy, to go over normal joints range of motion at any circumstances.

These are the degrees of normal joints range of motion:

  • Spine Thoracic & Lumbar: Flexion: 80, Extension: 20-30, Lateral bending: 35, Rotation 45
  • Hip:  Flexion: 120 , Extension: 30 , Abduction: 45-50 , Adduction: 20-30
  • Knee: Flexion: 135, Extension: 0
  • Shoulder: Flexion: 180, Extension 60, Horizontal flexion: 135, Abduction 180, Adduction 75
  • Elbow: Flexion: 150, Extension: 0-5

For more about PilatesWise program in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe, please click HERE


Stabilizer Muscles Prevent Injuries and Improve Sport Performence


Many gym goers are focusing on flatten stomach, tone arms and legs or maybe trying to improve their sports performance with strength training. Unfortunately, most fitness enthusiasts and athletes pay too little attention to the structure, stability and alignment of their body. It’s not cool to have six-pack abs with back pain or other injuries that are causes by muscle imbalances. Many people are training mirror muscles but don’t understand importance of stabilizing muscles and injury prevention. They will wake up only when injuries happen.

Your body has two types of muscles – movers and stabilizers. The primary role of movers is to produce the movement while the role of stabilizers is to stabilize the joints and the spine during a movement. So, stabilizing muscles give support to the trunk and joints’ function by controlling and limiting extra movement. The movers are most prominent muscles in your body, but they cannot function well if the stabilizing muscles are weak. Too much movement (called instability) in the spine or joints (such as hips or shoulders) can cause pain, degeneration and poor biomechanics. When you move with good muscle recruitment, and stabilizing muscles are working well, there will be minimal wear and tear in your joints. However, stabilizer muscles are more than just injury prevention. They are reducing the waste of energy and muscles are working together more efficiently and more ergonomically. In the athlete’s world that means better balance, co-ordination, power and speed – they all need a good stabilizer muscles to produce superior performance.

Core Stabilization

Core stability means an ability to contract the deep abdominal and back muscles – transverse abdominus and multifidus muscles. These muscles are responsible for stabilizing your spinal segments to help support your trunk in dynamic and static positions. The core is your “powerhouse”, the center of power. Core muscles’ strength and stability are important components to prevent injuries and back pain. Good core stability corrects posture and ensure more efficient and functional movement patterns of your other muscles and joints.

Hip & Knee Joints Stabilization

The gluteus medius and maximus muscles stabilize your hip joint and pelvic. By strengthening gluteus medius muscles will also help prevent knee injuries. When weak hip stabilizers exists, the iliotibial band gets overworked which can lead knee pain, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) or trochanteric bursitis.

Knee joint stabilizers are more ligaments than muscles, but there are still quadriceps and hamstrings muscles that help stabilize the knee joint. Quadriceps include four muscles and two of them are more important to stabilize the knee joint – vatsus lateralis and vastus medialis. The iliotibial band also affects knee stability.

Shoulder And Shoulder Girdle Stabilization

The shoulder joint is most mobile joint in your body and needs a lot of stability to function correctly and prevent injuries. Prime stabilizer in your shoulder joint are the rotator cuff muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. These muscles are holding the ball of your shoulder joint tightly against the socket when shoulder is moving. Weak or fatigued rotator cuff muscles can lead to soft tissue injuries, like shoulder tendonitis and bursitis.

The muscles that move the shoulder blade also play a role in stabilizing the shoulder joint. The muscles that attach on the inside of your shoulder blade (scapula) are the key muscles for scapular stabilization. These include the middle and lower trapezius, rhomboid major and minor, and serratus anterior. The scapular stabilization is essential in preventing shoulder injuries.

Pilates Trains Your Stabilizer Muscles

Pilates is a good lumbar spine and joints stabilization exercise method, its’ foundation is strengthening stabilizer muscles. The main focus is on keeping your pelvic and spine stable while other parts of body are moving. You are contracting the deep stabilizing muscles, transverses abdominis and multifidus so that  superficial muscles (movers) of the extremities have optimal coordination and motion. The core stabilizers are present in all Pilates movements but it also strengthens your shoulders, shoulder blade and hip and knee stabilizers. Pilates help achieve and increase quality of movements and functions of all joints and muscles, from head to toe, by creating body awareness, co-ordination and endurance. Pilates is a good exercise for injury prevention as well as to improve your optimal sport performance.

For more about PilatesWise program for Athlete please check out our youtube video and click HERE.

All Pilates sessions are taught by a Physical Therapist, she is also specialized in sport injury rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation after surgery and physical therapy. PilatesWise “Pilates training &  exercise therapy” program is bringing the gap between injuries and fitness.