Tag Archive | pilates training carlsbad

Pelvic and Hip muscles imbalance and misalignment cause pain

Pelvicore-muscles-300x228s is your body’s center. Pelvic area problems are caused and contributed by pelvis and SI joint misalignment, improper loading and muscle imbalances. Usually a muscle imbalance shows the weakness of glutealis, deep back stabilizing muscles (transverse abdominus and multifidus), tightness of hip flexors, and hip internal and external rotators.

The neutral position of the pelvis is in the middle position – not twisted or tilted forward or backward. In the neutral pelvis alignment your spine gets its natural curves. When the pelvis alignment and center of gravity change, it can cause uneven loading and pain. When one part of your body doesn’t work correctly, other parts have to compensate for the weak point. Weakness of supporting muscles causes superficial muscles to be overworked, which may result in pain, excess muscle tension, and spasms.

Because your body works as a kinetic chain from head to toe, the upper body’s and foot’s function and alignments affect also your pelvis function. In walking and running, your rib cage and thoracic spine should be moving (rotating) naturally. If that movement is restricted then your lumbar spine will compensate with overloading and pain. If your foot elasticity and strength are missing, the kinetic chain from foot to pelvis can’t activate your muscles correctly during gait, which causes muscle imbalances and a risk of injury. As you see every body part is connected.

Incorrect pelvic alignment should be corrected as soon as possible because over time it may cause degenerative changes on your spinal structures, or even herniated disc and sciatica. Besides spinal structures, the SI-joint can be affected from pelvic misalignment. SI-joints are small joints between your Ilium and Sacrum which have very small but important motion. However, too much or too little motion can change your pelvis and SI-joint alignment and affects your gait. Si-joint pain is very local on one or both sides of the buttocks. SI-joint problems can be caused by weakness of supporting muscles ( muscles surrounding spine, pelvis and hip), which allow your pelvis girdle to tilt forward and causes excess pelvic motion while walking or running.

By correcting your muscle imbalances and misalignment are better treatment for your pain and dysfunction than passive manual therapy alone. Physiotherapist are educated to understanding your body’s bio mechanics, and help get you back in “balance”. Unfortunately here in the US, physical therapists rarely look and treat your body as a whole because usually they treat just a specific injury and pain. The reason for this is clear, physical therapist’s time is expensive and insurance companies are paying only for treatment towards injury and pain, not for prevention. However, the truth is that the source of pain and injury can be somewhere else than where the patient gets treatment, so it is important to take care of the body as a whole.

exercise-therapyPilates one-on-one training with a skilled physiotherapist or a very experienced Pilates Instructor helps tremendously for those who is suffering pelvic girdle dysfunction, low back, hip or SI-joint pain. Modified Pilates and Exercise therapy’s training goal is correcting your muscle imbalances and improving your muscles recruitment patterns. The Pilates approach is to work on your body as a whole and with “no pain is all gain regimen!” Be sure that your Pilates Instructor has the knowledge and education to help you. Even if they have 500 hours of training, it usually doesn’t include much training and modification for people with pain. Also the training usually has very little education on anatomy and physiology. But if you find a good one that is going to be PRICELESS!

For more about PilatesWise program in Carlsbad HERE

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Benefits of Pilates for before and after knee and hip replacement surgery

 

Knee and hip joints replacements are becoming more and more common. These procedures improve the quality of life for those people who suffered from constant joint pain and loss of function. Pilates is a great training method before and after knee and hip replacement surgery. By getting into better shape before surgery with Pilates, it also helps you to recover faster. By adding Pilates to your post rehabilitation stages, it helps correct your faulty movement patterns and muscles imbalances.

One of the best part of Pilates in one-on-one training is that it addresses the body as a whole. It doesn’t only strengthen the particular muscles or muscle groups or increase range of motion just in the one joint, it also trains the whole body as it was designed. Due to the low impact form of Pilates and assistance of Pilates equipment, joint can exercise very gently and pain free while strengthening surrounding muscles.

Pilates is ideal before knee & hip replacement surgery

Pilates before surgery is a safe and effective way to prepare your body for operation. Pilates exercises maintain the joint range of motion and strengthen the surrounding muscles of affected joints, even when range of motion is limited and lack of cartilage of the knee or hip makes your movement more difficult. Pilates exercises address your deep spinal stabilizer muscles – your core – which is very helpful for your overall balance and body control. Better balance makes you more confident on moving and less afraid of falling. Strong core muscles as well as shoulder girdle strength and stability are also a big help after surgery to get around and being independent while you are using walker, crutches or a cane. The stronger and more well-balanced the muscles before surgery, the faster the recovery period. In some cases the Pilates training can even postpone your need for joint replacement surgery.

 

Pilates is even more ideal after knee & hip replacement surgery

There is more rehabilitation after joint replacement than a short initial physical therapy which concentrates to regain the function of your brand new hip or knee joint. The previous years of pain have created faulty compensation patterns in your body, and unfortunately, that won’t get fixed only by replacing your joint. Even when your pain is gone or mostly gone, the body is still used to moving as if you are protecting your painful joint. This moving pattern puts a lot of pressure on other joints and tissues by creating muscle imbalances and poor habits to walk and move. With Pilates, and with a skilled Pilates Instructor or Pilates trained Physical Therapist, you can identify and properly treat your faulty movement patterns and muscle imbalances. Pilates program also focuses on lumbar-pelvic stability and strengthening of hip abductors to improve the symmetrical gait and standing balance. In Pilates, the quality of movement is more important than quantity as well as integrating the whole body to working and functioning symmetrically as it is designed. This is the best and most effective way to rehabilitate your body.

Pilates is a viable alternative method of rehabilitation and very good continuation after physical therapy when your goal is achieving optimal recovery and overall well-being.

As a Physical Therapist I warmly recommend to start Pilates if you have hip or knee osteoarthritis or you are heading to knee or hip replacement. Before you begin Pilates you will want to make sure that the Pilates instructor has proper experience and knows your limitation and can modify the movements for you. After knee or hip replacement surgery, Pilates can be extremely beneficial but only if taught by a Physical Therapist or truly experienced Pilates instructor.

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.

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

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!

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

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!