Tag Archive | physical therapist

Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis and Pilates Exercise Program


What is common between Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? They all are autoimmune diseases, where your own cells start to attack your healthy tissues and organs. There are over eighty autoimmune diseases, each with it’s own unique symptoms. Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are similar; painful and inflamed joints, extreme fatigue, anxiety and depression. People with Multiple sclerosis have a little different problems like loss of muscle strength, sensation, coordination and balance. All these three diseases consist of pain which make life more complicated and can make everyday life more challenging both physically and psychologically.

When your muscles and joints hurts, it’s definitely not the first thing on your mind to get up and move. However, a proper exercise program is one of the treatments for all those three diseases. Inactivity and disuse cause more pain and discomfort in your body. Disused muscles become weak by supporting less your joints and making your joints more instable which causes even more pain. Disused joints (while they are stiff and painful), reduce joints’ range of motion which also increases pain. Lack of exercise has also found to be related to fatigue and overall stress of your body which makes it harder to cope with your symptoms. Regular exercise program has many benefits by improving your body function and mood while reducing stress, fatigue and pain.

Pilates is a great exercise form for clients with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis. Pilates is low-impact, gentle and gradually progressive. Unfortunately, Pilates exercises should be taught preferably by a Physical Therapist. Pilates Instructors in general do not usually have enough experience in these three conditions and how they affect your joints, muscles and neuro-muscle control. Pilates Instructors who have dancers or fitness background find often difficult to understand Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis special needs and conditions. You simply can’t teach client who has pain and inflamed joints (Lupus, RA) or who has coordination and balance problems (MS) the same way as regular fitness clients. Pilates Instructors are not therapists and oftentimes a too confident Pilates Instructor without experience can make the client overdo the exercises and cause flare-up because it’s too much too soon. Pilates program should be specifically designed based on every client’s individual condition, limitation and needs. Without a proper education and experience that is obviously pretty hard to do.

If the Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis client has painful and inflamed joints, it’s important to maintain proper range of motion of joints and not put too much pressure on inflamed joints. Sometimes it is enough to do just isometric exercises which means muscle contraction without joint movements. Multiple Sclerosis client needs carefully assisted movements due to muscle weakness and co-ordination difficulties. There are many Pilates movements in Pilates repertoire which is very beneficial but maybe sometimes not enough. That’s why I warmly recommended to find a Pilates program where trained Physical Therapist is teaching and makes safely modifications based on each client’s current needs and also uses therapeutic exercise techniques as needed. A well designed Pilates and exercise program will definitely promote your physical and emotional well-being and quality of life.

More abour PilatesWise program for Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis Please visit our website http://www.pilateswise.com


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.

Is Pilates Instructor Capable Rehabilitate your Back Pain


Pilates is generally a good exercise method for those who suffer from back pain. Pilates focuses on core strength, stability and spine range of motion, all those areas which need the most improvements by back pain sufferers. However, all those improvements are up to the particular Pilates Instructor. When rehabilitating back pain clients the most important thing is to have an experienced and knowledgeable instructor. Pilates instructor needs to know much more than just Pilates specific exercises. And while Physical Therapists and Physicians recommend Pilates for back pain, the problem is that they don’t often know what kind of exercise Pilates really is, what kind of education Pilates instructors go through and how ready and knowledgeable they are teaching Pilates for those who has fragile spine and chronic back pain.

Many, even comprehensive, Pilates programs do not give enough tools and knowledge for the instructor to teach people with back pain. As both a Physical Therapist and certified Pilates instructor myself, I’m puzzled how openly and confidently many Pilates instructors market their services and teach people with back pain without any anatomy or back pain education in addition to their basic Pilates Instructor certification program. Many comprehensive Pilates teaching programs are just “certification businesses”, and there is a lot of competition in the marketplace where those certification programs don’t have any real, verifiable requirements to people who want to start Pilates education, so basically anybody can become a Pilates instructor. Most programs also lack any knowledge about anatomy, musculoskeletal disorders and body’s, especially spine’s, biomechanics. A basic Pilates instructor is not meant to be a therapist, but  it’s definitely not enough to know just how many vertebras there are on the spine or knowing wide Pilates repertoire and how to cue them verbally. In my professional opinion, a skilled Pilates instructor has to understand in details how the spine is moving and how exactly it should move, what muscles the client should contract or not contract, and most importantly know all contraindicated exercises and how to properly modify Pilates movements individually based on the need and condition of back pain of the client.

Every back pain is different, so should the Pilates program be. There are no “one size fits all” Pilates exercises for back pain. Designing the Pilates exercise regimen should always aim at underlying problems. These problems are usually a poor posture, weak deep abdominal and back muscles, tight low back, hamstrings or hip flexor muscles, and limited spine range of motion. Pilates gives a wonderful toolset to improve all of those elements – but only if the Pilates instructor knows how to use those tools safely, correctly and efficiently. It’s important to notice that if Pilates exercises are taught unprofessionally, they may cause more problems or even re-injuries. Pilates instructor should never teach fitness and back pain clients similarly. Instructors have to be very cautious, especially when teaching clients who have osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, herniated disc or bulging disc.

In Pilates market the competition is hard these days and it’s getting even harder. Many studios have financial problems and some studios even have more instructors than clients. Consequently, there are many Pilates instructors who claim to be specialized in post-rehab and rehab without any education (except certified Pilates instructor), so be cautious when choosing a studio or instructor to rehabilitate your back pain – always ask for instructor‘s education, credentials and real experience. Also, never go overcrowded mat class or your fitness centers mat class with back pain. Many mat Pilates instructors get their certifications through a short, one weekend course or, even worse, by internet. Pilates for back pain should always be individual, one-on-one private session. Check always instructor’s background and previous client referrals too. Many instructors might have a story about their own back pain and injury and how the Pilates “saved their lives”. Good for them, but while not only being subjective, own experience does not necessary mean that they are capable of rehabilitating others back pain. In my opinion, much more education is needed in this area anyway.

I’m very positive that Pilates is a wonderful movement therapy and treatment to rehabilitate back pain. However, quality and education are the key to choosing the right Pilates instructor and studio. Try to find a well educated instructor who understands your specific needs and conditions. When you find a good one to work with, you will be surprised about the results – and that will be priceless!

Pilates is the Best exercise form for PreNatal


Keeping up with an exercise program can be difficult when you’re pregnant, especially during the first trimester when you might feel nausea and tired. Pregnancy is not the time to get into shape, however it’s the time to optimize health habits and that includes a safe exercise program.

One of the safest and most effective way to stay active is with pilates. This mind&body method of exercise strengthens the most important muscles that you’ll use during pregnancy and labor: your abdominals, pelvic floor muscles and back. Pilates also helps women to stay connected to their changing body, improve posture and reduce pregnancy aches and pains.

”Pilates for Pregnancy” videos and books are not a good way to learn proper movements for a beginner and can easily cause back pain or even Diastasis Recti (=the Rectus Abdominus will begin to separate more than usually). It is not recommended that you begin doing Pilates on your own if you haven’t already worked with the fundamentals. However, Pilates is a great choice during pregnancy if you have an instructor who is skilled to modify your program and knowledgeable about safe movement choices for pregnancy period.

The nature of movement in Pilates exercise is low impact and allows pregnant women to exercise effectively without experiencing any undue stress on the now lax joints, or an increased heart rate. All Pilates movements are very controlled and instructor should pay attention to your posture, alignment and working with the right muscles. Most exercise modifications happen during the second and third trimester period due to the increasing belly size. All Pilates movements at this point are best done seated up right or side lying. In the studio settings there are many apparatus where you can get really good workout without lying on your back – like Wunda-chair, spine corrector, trapeze table and stability ball.

With Pilates you can stay strong and fit throughout your pregnancy. Pilates improves breathing technique, concentration and body awareness, which even help your labor. In a good pregnancy shape you can recover faster back to pre pregnancy figure and shape while enjoying your new life with the baby.

For more about PilatesWise prenatal and postpartum program please click HERE  and youtube presentation prenatal pilates sessions and postpartum training

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.