Tag Archive | pilates classes carlsbad

Spinal muscles are an essential part of back pain relief and prevetion

Importance of spinal muscles rehab to relieve and prevent back pain

pilates_back rehab_carlsbadDid you know that muscles have a critical role of supporting your spine, preventing and reducing back pain? Very often medical professionals underestimate the importance of the deep stabilizer muscles helping your recovery process from the back injury.

Studies show that after first episode of back pain, the deep back and abs stabilizer muscles become impaired and stop working properly. Those muscles are not recovering themselves, even when your back pain is gone. After that initial recovery your back and spine are still unstable and vulnerable to re-injury. So the fact is that very often poor spinal stability and support are directly linked with acute as well as chronic back pain.

The deep stabilizer muscles have a big role in taking off the total load from your back and let your spine and back heal better itself. So, in order to getting a long term solution to relieve back pain and prevent future injuries, a proper exercise program is essential.

Achieving and maintaining spinal stability

ImageThe human spine is unstable without its musculature and muscle control. The deep muscles, which are close to the lumbar spine, function is protecting spine from injury and their dysfunction shows as low back pain. Researchers have found out that people with lower back pain lose their ability to properly contract deep stabilizer muscles (probably) through pain inhibition. Deep back muscles – Multifidus and deep abdominal muscles Trasverse abdominus – are vital in controlling the lumbar spine. If those stabilizer muscles fail to function, stability may temporarily be provided by mobilizer (external obliques, rectus abdominal) muscles instead. The precision of movement is lost, leading to an observable movement dysfunction. So, finding the right muscles to train is a crucial part of an effective back rehabilitation. Unfortunately, many “traditional” back exercises only engage superficial muscles and actually may even increase uncontrolled mobility (instability) and decrease stability in the lumbar spine thus increasing risk of re-injury.

Spinal Stabilization training with Physical Therapist, or Pilates with very experienced Pilates instructor or Physical Therapist, will help you find and train your deep stabilizer muscles. These both methods focus on improving mechanical support of the spinal joints through specific deep muscle contraction exercises and clients learn to dissociate the use of deeper muscles from the use of the more superficial muscles.

Pilates for back rehabilitation and prevention
Pilates develops spinal (core, back) stability. The exercises focus on developing the strength and flexibility through appropriate use of the spinal muscles, which act as stabilizers and create vital support for the spine. Training with an experienced Pilates instructor improves your body awareness and teaches you how the proper muscle functions support and protect the spine. The Pilates method is designed to condition the whole body and will also help your overall muscle control, coordination and proper movement patterns.

Spinal stabilization training for back rehabilitation
Spinal stabilization training (used often by Physical Therapists) refers to back rehabilitation exercises specifically designed to isolate stabilizing and strengthening weak muscles of the spine as well as pelvic hip region. The SST is gradually progressive and specifically designed based on your specific needs and conditions. Spinal Stabilization training helps ensure movement in a controlled pain free range with proper muscle activation.

Pilates as well as Spinal Stabilization training focus also on improving overall muscle balances and posture which often heavily contribute back pain or are even the cause of the back pain in the first place. Both training methods are safe and effective way to rehabilitate back pain as well as prevent back injuries. Investing in your back and spinal health is important and with pilates or spinal stabilization training you will get a long-term solution to get rid of your back pain, or least learn to manage it. You will get sooner back to your active lifestyle and sport what you love!

Our SpinePilates program, in Carlsbad California, is specifically designed for people with back pain caused by herniated disc, sciatica, bulging disc, SI-joint dysfunction, scoliosis, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis,spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease etc. The program is combination of Pilates exercises and Spinal Stabilization training and taught by Physical Therapist & certified Pilates Instructor.

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5 Common Misconceptions About Sciatica ( By PilatesWise Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside )

5 Common Misconceptions about Sciatica

Sciatica is a medical condition
Sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, not a medical condition on it’s own. Sciatica is generally caused by compression of lumbar nerves L3-L5 or sacral nerves (S1-S3) or by compression of the sciatic nerve itself. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body, the pain extends from lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg.

Sciatica is always caused by herniated disc or Spinal Stenosis
It is true that sciatica is often a symptom of herniated disc or spinal stenosis, but also piriformis syndrome, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, osteoarthritis, facet joint syndrome and Si-joint dysfunction can cause sciatica.

Best treatment for sciatica is bed rest
Bed rest is not recommended. Inactivity will usually make the pain worse. Without exercise and movement the back muscles and spinal structures become impaired and less able to support your spine and back. Proper exercise and slight activity help exchange nutrients and fluids within discs to keep them healthy and prevent pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Chiropractor is the only who can help me to relieve my sciatic pain
In most cases people recover from sciatica (depends diagnosis) without any specific treatment. In some cases chiropractor’s care can give you a short-term pain relief but in some cases it will even aggravate the pain. Active forms of back rehab are more effective in the long term and almost always necessary to get rid off the pain. When you engage in a proper exercise program you can recover more quickly from flare up of sciatica and are less likely to experience future episodes of pain.

Pilates is a good exercise form for sciatica
Pilates is generally a good exercise form and rehabilitation for sciatica, but only when taught by a highly experienced pilates instructor or physical therapist trained in Pilates. Pilates is a whole body exercise form which strengthens the deep spine stabilizer muscles that support your spine. It also correct your muscle balance posture and muscle recruitment patterns. It is not recommended to do Pilates based on your own by books, DVDs or Youtube even when they are aimed for people with sciatica. Pilates group classes (mat & reformer) are not recommended either. Investing in a proper one-on-one training with an experienced pilates instructor / physical therapist is the best way to relieve pain and get your active life back.

Our Pilates studio in Carlsbad, California specializes in Pilates Back Rehab program (SpinePilates) which is specifically designed for people with back pain and sciatica caused by spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, osteoarthritis, herniated disc, bulging disc, SI-joint pain & dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis and osteoporosis. Our program is a unique combination of Pilates and Spinal Stabilization training which is scientifically proven to be safe and effective way to rehabilitate & relieve back pain. For more detailed information about our programs please visit our website pilateswise.com.

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.

Pilates is very beneficial for Asthma

 

Breathing is something that everybody does, it’s automatic and we don’t need to think about it.  However, breathing is actually a pretty complex process that involves many joints and muscles and is responsive to both voluntary and involuntary control. For people with asthma, however, breathing has a total different meaning. Asthma causes airways to become blocked or constricted and that causes wheezing, coughing and dyspnea (shortness of breath).

Pilates exercises, with specific Pilates breathing technique, is a good and efficient way to control the breathing and get more awareness of it. Joseph Pilates himself had asthma as a child and he obviously got his own interest to create his exercise method around a proper, controlled breathing and mind-and-body connection.

The Pilates breathing, also called lateral breathing, encourages optimal movement of rib cage and increases its mobility, and helps also correctly contract and expand core muscles, which all are very important for people with asthma.

In essence, Pilates breathing technique helps asthma clients to

  • improve ventilation
  •  increase the effectiveness of cough mechanism and promote airway clearance
  • improve the strength, endurance and coordination of the muscles of ventilation
  • maintain or improve chest and thoracic spine mobility
  • correct inefficient or abnormal breathing patterns and decrease the work of breathing
  • promote relaxation and relieve stress
  • enhance better posture

A proper, effective lateral breathing is fundamental for all Pilates exercises. Unfortunately, some instructors don’t understand the importance of proper breathing technique while teaching Pilates. A correct Pilates breathing is a key to proper muscle contraction as these two functions go hand in hand. Pilates private sessions with experienced Pilates instructor are very beneficial for Asthma clients to improve not only controlled breathing and better ventilation but the overall functional capacity for daily life, occupational & recreational activities and sport.

For more about PilatesWise program for Asthma clients, please click HERE

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!

High Heels Cause Back Pain

Wearing high heel shoes can be sexy and feminine but is not the best thing for your body.

The body is a long chain from head to toe, and when the chain is working optimally your body parts such as bones and spine are on a proper alignment and muscles are working without extra fatigue or tightness. Wearing high heels creates faulty biomechanics and body alignment and put unnecessary stress on your ankles, knees, pelvic and throughout your spine.

High heels force your body weight to be thrown forward and make your legs, feet, hip and spine work against the way they were designed to work. The natural balance is thrown off and your muscles have to make constant adjustments to keep your body somehow balanced. Since high heels cause the body to lean forward, it is compensating that by tilting pelvis forward and changing your spine curvature- increasing lordosis on your lower back. This all creates more stress for the nerves of the lumbar spine and tighten your lower back muscles – causing back pain.

Back pain is not the only problem what you can get by wearing those sexy high heels. You can develop trouble walking, and high heels change also the way the muscles of pelvis, legs and ankle contract. Many of your body muscles have to work more than normally. The hip flexor muscles have to work harder and longer by helping move your leg forward because the toes are pointed downwards and can’t do they normal work. Hip flexor muscles become overused and hip flexor shortness might cause more back pain by changing spine curvature in unwanted direction. High heels also add shortness of hamstrings and calf muscles.

The legs and feet are the foundation of your musculoskeletal system and shoes support your entire body as the only contact between you and the ground. A shoe has everything to do with your posture and how your back, and whole body, feels. The shoes should provide comfort, stability and proper posture for you. Wearing high heels can be fashionable and sexy but think about the total price when you are wearing them! Podiatrists , Chiropractics and Physical Therapists get nice business from those who suffer back, hip, knees or foot pain by wearing high heels. Well, there’s nothing wrong about it but the actual problem will not be solved as long as you continue to wear high heels on a daily basis. Think which one is more important your spinal health or your sexy look.