Tag Archive | pilates sessions encinitas

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy as Good as Advertised for Relief Back Pain?


Spinal Decompression therapy is a non-surgical treatment for people with back pain caused by herniated disc, bulging disc, degenerative disc disease or sciatica. Spinal Depression therapy provides gentle decompression / traction of the disc and let the disc heal itself by helping to get more space between vertebras.

Now, is this magic treatment / therapy as good as advertised for relieve back pain? Well, like every treatments, some people may get help from it but some may feel even more pain after the treatments. Why? Using traction for treatment of bulging and herniated disc may also aggravate the condition. So do your research before starting this treatment.

The advertisement says “Spinal Decompression therapy is the latest non-surgical breakthrough technology”. Really? Believe or not, this “latest” back pain relief therapy / treatment is not new at all! When I was studying Physical Therapy in Finland in mid 80’s, we used to work with very similar spinal decompression table as used today and that treatment was called “spinal traction”. The traction table was exactly like this amazing new technology table. When I graduated at the beginning of 1990, this wonderful spinal decompression therapy method suddenly disappeared. Why? Because the treatment showed to be ineffective and too expensive. One Physical Therapist made some research to see what this “spinal decompression” was all about and found out that since II Word War Physical Therapists have been offering “Spinal Compression” = “Spinal Traction”. Recent studies also found that traction is ineffective for the relief of pain in the lumbar spine – just like Finnish PTs already realized 25 years ago. Seems that old treatment is coming back again but unfortunately this does not make this treatment any better.

Spinal Decompression treatment is also really expensive, about $100-$150 /visit. And if you get some pain relief that might be very short-term because the very underlying problems of your back pain are still there: poor posture, improper body mechanics, weak spinal supporting muscles, and repetitive stress can cause vertebrae to compress the disc or to slip out of their alignment which adds pressure to the discs, thus causing pain. These are really the underlying problems which need to be fixed too. Any spinal decompression therapy or manual therapy is not going to help improve your posture or muscle imbalance.

Almost all of my Pilates clients have back problems and some of them came to me after nothing else was not working. Very often doctors and chiropractors underestimate how important it is that patients take more active role of their own back rehabilitation. Active back rehabilitation with carefully designed exercise program is proven to be much better long-term back pain relief than just handing out home exercises, manual therapy or spinal decompression therapy. Our active back rehabilitation program in PilatesWise is designed and performed by a Physical Therapist. It includes comprehensive assessment, spinal stabilization training, McKenzie method and Pilates training, which does not only help relieve back pain but also keeps your back healthy and strong and prevents from future injuries. You have only one spine and back, so start taking care of it.

For more info, please visit our website http://www.pilateswise.com


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. 

Pilates rehabilitates shoulder rotator cuff injuries

Shoulder joint has wider and more varied range of motion than any other joint in the human body. It’s also most unstable joint which means high risk of injury. Everyone has heard something about rotator cuff and related problems, but how many knows that rotator cuff muscles have very important role in a proper the shoulder function and injury prevention?

The rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis) attach around to the shoulder ball and help rotate shoulder as well lift the arm overhead. Rotator cuff muscles also stabilize the shoulder’s head in the shoulder socket and keep it in the proper position for a proper use of the arm. Rotator cuff muscle fatigue from excessive use, weakness or lack of endurance as the ball of the shoulder joint becomes more mobile and less stable (called instability). This causes the rotator cuff tendons to touch with the bone, which can lead to irritation of the tendon, inflammation and pain (impingement syndrome). Common causes of rotator cuff injury are repetitive overhead arm movements (volleyball, tennis, baseball and swimming), improper weight training, poor posture and aging process of the joints.

In rehabilitation in sub-acute stage of Rotator Cuff you will start to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles which typically means shoulder internal and external rotation exercises with band. It’s also very important to make sure that shoulder joint have full range of motion and flexibility. Comprehensive shoulder rehabilitation program also includes shoulder blade stabilization exercises. If the shoulder blade is not stable, undue pressure may be placed on the rotator cuff. So, strengthening the muscles that support the scapula (rhomboids, trapezius, and serratus anterior) are important too.

Even when you are pain-free and your shoulder has full range of motion, it’s important to still keep your rehabilitation going and build you strength and flexibility by preventing further injuries. Pilates is a method which works very well for rotator cuff post-rehabilitation and injury prevention. Pilates exercises focus on strengthening stabilizer muscles for your core but also other stabilizer muscles around your joints. This very unique exercise method helps you re-educate your injured shoulder to work together with rest of the body and avoid unwanted movement patters, muscle work and extra tension.

Very often poor posture – forwarded head, rounded shoulder, abducted shoulder blades – can cause shoulder problems and shoulder girdle dysfunction. Pilates improves posture by balancing muscle imbalances. Training with a qualified Pilates instructor, who has good knowledge about proper posture, shoulder biomechanics and injuries, helps you use your whole body more safely, efficiently and economically. If you are lucky enough to find a truly experienced Pilates instructor, you will get big benefits from your Pilates training. Pilates does not only rehabilitate your shoulder and muscles, it also gives you invaluable information how you hold, use and work your body from head to toe by preventing injuries – and that information is priceless!

Please check also PilatesWise youtube video info clip about rotator cuff syndrome, click HERE