Tag Archive | orthopedic rehab carlsbad

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


Home exercises vs. Pilates training for Orthopedic Rehab (at Carlsbad Pilates studio)

Home Exercises vs Pilates for Orthopedic Rehabilitation

Therapeutic exercises are a part of traditional physical therapy and they are a very important way to get the client more involved in their own rehabilitation process. Unfortunately, the home exercises should be given only if clients can do them with proper form by recruiting correct muscles. Unfortunately, when they are injured or have pain, they may compensate, which makes it harder to learn a proper form. The matter of fact is, if they repeat these home exercises with poor form and control, the exercises may do more harm than good.

Many physical therapy practices seem to use their physical therapy aid to teach home exercises to clients and that is not ideal. Physical therapy aids usually have very little knowledge about body biomechanics and anatomy, even when PT aids are trained and supervised by a Physical Therapist. If those home exercises are not taught well, they are not going to help either. Furthermore, home exercises are usually isolated to strengthening and stretching the muscles around injury, and that may sometimes be too much to tolerate, especially when clients have pain or fear of pain. So, in home environment clients may not repeat their home exercises correctly which may lead them to compensate and add even more muscle imbalances than they have already.

If you were injured and think that you are fully recovered, you may still have 50% chance to get the same injury again or create a new one. Why? Because your brain may develop faulty movement patterns during your injury and pain. You start to compensate and your brain adapts to that faulty way of moving. Sometimes, even though you feel better and don’t have pain anymore, you may still have those compensatory faulty movement patterns. These faulty patterns can lead to new injury by placing abnormal stress and load on joints and soft tissues.

You need to re-program your neuro-muscle system to correct these faulty movement patterns. It may sound easy, but it is not. Unfortunately, your short visits to Physical Therapy and doing home exercises, is probably not helping to correct these faulty movement patterns and muscle imbalances, because they focus more on your injury, not on how you may compensate it. The ideal rehabilitation program should focus on your whole body alignment and how your body parts are working together.  Traditional Physical Therapy may still help at your acute stage but after initial physical therapy it would be very wise to continue your rehabilitation process with Rehab Pilates.

Pilates as a Rehabilitation is a missing link in your recovering process from injury and pain. Pilates Rehab works for many reasons. Great attention to detail and form is a perfect way for clients to gain strength in their weaker and injured muscles and joints as well as the whole body. Pilates develops a smaller muscle group that works to support joints and body structures. It is a great way to complete your Physical Therapy. It works also as an alternative rehabilitation method for people with orthopedic issues and dysfunctions. Pilates one-on-one training with experienced Pilates Instructor or Physical Therapist can help people with their real underlying problems such as correcting those muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns (which may have caused your injury in the first place). It is pretty much re-educating your body to work more optimally, economically and ergonomically with proper alignment, control and coordination. With Pilates you will get long-term solution about how to take care of your body as a whole – and the best part, being injury FREE! It’s all about PREVENTION!

For more about PilatesWise after Physical therapy program, please click HERE

Barefoot Running good or bad for your feet

Living in Coastal California allows people to enjoy a year around great weather and barefoot running. There are many opinions about barefoot running, some blame that barefoot running decreases running injuries and some that it increases. However, the fact is that barefoot running technique is totally different from shoe runners. Barefoot runners land on the ball of the foot or middle of the foot when shoe runners land on the heels. Some foot experts say that barefoot running is good for some people because there is really less impact on the heels.

Foot and ankle anatomies are extremely complicated. Foot has 28 bones and 32 joints and two very important arches which are running lengthwise (longitudinal arch) and crosswise (transverse arch).The both archers are important part of proper foot & ankle function. The arches enhance the foot’s flexibility, stability and ability to adapt to uneven surfaces, and also working as a shock absorbance.

If those arches are collapsed, like people with flat feet or over pronated feet, the chance to get overuse injuries increases gradually, especially when running without shoes. Barefoot runners, who run long distances with ball of the foot, tend to have tightness on the Achilles tendon and calf muscles, and prone to have injuries like Achilles tendonitis or calf muscle strain. Barefoot running might also increase risk of other overuse injuries like Plantar fasciitis and Shin splints. On the other hand, barefoot running activates foot and ankle muscles which are usually too supported with shoes. As shoe technologies advance the less people are using their supporting muscles around ankle and foot.

Because the running technique is very different by barefoot runners than shoe runners, I recommend to start carefully and increase running distance gradually. Also barefoot runners have to focus more on ankle & foot stability and proper technique (alignment) while landing to the ball of the foot. People who have problem with their feet and ankles and resent overuse injuries or correction in their shoes, it is probably not a good idea to try barefoot running.

Anyway, whether you are shoe or barefoot runner it is always very important to stretch. Stretching is a better way avoid typical runners’ injuries. The barefoot runners should especially stretch their Achilles tendon and calf muscles after every running. And remember, enjoy the summer and running – with or without shoes!