Tag Archive | pilates training

Sciatica Pain Caused by Piriformis syndrome and Treatment

Piriformis syndrome, Sciatic Pain and treatment

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The piriformis muscle is a small muscle located deep in the buttock under the gluteus maximus. The muscle runs very close to sciatic nerve and some people the nerve even can run through the muscle. Piriformis muscle function is assisting to rotate the hip, turn the leg and foot outward (hip external rotation).


Piriformis syndrome may caused by muscle spasm or excess tightness in the piriformis muscle, either because of irritation in the piriformis muscle itself, or irritation of a nearby structure such as sacroiliac joint ( SI joint) or hip. Most commonly, clients describe acute tenderness in the buttock and sciatica-like pain down the back of the thigh, calf and foot. Pain Increases after prolonged sitting, walking or running and it also may limit range of motion of the hip joint, especially hip internal rotation. Piriformius syndrome is very common in long-distant runners and those who’s sport requires repetitive external rotation of hip (ice hockey).

Many of my client who got a Piriformis syndrome, have also problem with their SI (sacroiliac) joint and visa versa. By saying that, SI-joint dysfunction may be sometimes root of pain, not piriformis muscles itself. Piriformis syndrome, SI-joint dysfunction and hip pain have very similar symptoms and they are hard to diagnose. Sciatica pain may also be caused by piriformis syndrome as well as SI joint dysfunction.

Almost every treatment approach for piriformis syndrome will include a focus on carefully and progressively stretching the piriformis muscle.
However, stretching only piriformis muscles may not be enough to treat piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome may cause or caused by muscle imbalances in lumbo-pelvic-hip region. Stabilization of the pelvic may be affected by tight and short muscles hip flexors, hamstrings, piriformis and SI- joint dysfunction, resulting in overuse and spasm of the piriformis. So, muscle balance around your hip, pelvic and SI-joint are also important to treat. Faulty movement patterns are common for people who is suffering from piriformis syndrome. Piriformis spasms limit pelvic movement and in turn leads to gait deviations and compensations. If the muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns left untreated, piriformis syndrome may return.

If you go to Physical therapy and did not get help, try Pilates with experienced Teacher. Pilates one-on-one training treats your whole body, not just a pain. So, you get help also your overall possible muscle imbalances and compensations – That is priceless.

For More about PhysioWise program in Carlsbad, CA, please visit http://www.physio-wise.com


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

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.

Why Should Cyclists Do Pilates

Cycling is a great exercise and here in Southern California it is a year around sport. It is generally believed that cycling is one of the best exercises to improve your overall fitness. Unfortunately, riding for long periods of time with the spine bent forward easily causes back pain and leads many types of muscle imbalances. Cycling is lower body dominant and cyclists usually develop strong leg muscles but don’t always have the core strength to support spine and proper riding position. The core muscles are also responsible for producing power to your legs and maintain control with your pedal work. Having a weak back and abdominal muscles with decreased flexibility with your leg muscles can quickly cause muscle strain, fatigue and pain on your lower back.
The pelvis has a very important role in affecting cyclist’s posture and movement in the spine and extremities. Many cyclists who experience chronic back, hip and/or knee pain suffer from pelvic asymmetry due to muscle imbalance. Tight hip flexors (quadriceps and psoas muscles) and weak core muscles (transverse abdominus and multifidus muscles) tend to tilt the pelvis too much forward thus increasing the curvature (lordosis) of the lower back. This excess curvature of the back can create many problems for cyclists, including muscle spasms, pinched nerves (sciatica) and possible damage to the lumbar disc. Tight hamstring muscles tilt the pelvic backwards and will round the back by putting extra stress to your spine thus causing lower back pain too.

Pilates is a good cross-training exercise and conditioning program for cyclist by preventing muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. Pilates exercises help cyclists to decrease their muscle tightness and improve core strength and stability. Transverse abdominus (TA) is the most important muscle to stabilize your pelvic and spine (called lumbar-pelvic stability). It is your deepest abdominal muscle and acts like a corset around your trunk. TA is also the most important muscle in Pilates and it is present in all Pilates movements. This muscle, with deep back muscles (multifidus), gives an optimal spinal support to your lower back. Pilates improves your overall body awareness, too. Good body awareness helps you to find a proper riding position without putting extra stress to your spine and extremities. With strong core muscles and balanced leg muscles you are pedaling more efficiently without unnecessary fatigue and pain. So we can say that Pilates help you improve your overall sports performance. A good Pilates program for cyclist, please click here.

Poor Posture Leads Back Pain- Improve your Posture with Pilates

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The most common causes of poor posture are poor postural habits, poor ergonomics, joint stiffness, muscle imbalance/weakness, excessive weight in certain areas of the body, and prior injury. Poor posture may increase pain, discomfort, stiffness, reduced motion, and improper biomechanics. Poor posture is a major factor in back problems. It strains muscles, puts too much stress on the spine, and over time can change the anatomical structure of the spine leading to degeneration to the bone, joint and discs; spinal nerves may also be affected. All these factors have the potential to contribute a lower back pain, which is why establishing correct posture is so important. Many researches have shown that people can alleviate their lower back pain by taking effort to improve their posture. The foundation for good back care starts with posture.

Muscles support the spine. A weakness in any of the muscles that support the spine makes it difficult to maintain a proper posture. Strong muscles help keep the spine in proper alignment and prevent back pain. An appropriate posture lends stability and strength to the spine. And you can get it with Pilates.

If you have neck or back pain or muscle stiffness by causing poor postural habits, do favor yourself and start to do Pilates with qualified Pilates instructor. Pilates Instructor teachs you how to move and use your body equally and efficiently without any extra stress to your muscles, joints and tendons. You learn body awareness which is very important in helping you change your poor postural habits to good ones in your daily life. With Pilates you will also strengthen the deep muscles of the back and abdomen which support your spine and proper posture alignment.

Not many Pilates studios offer a postural assessment to their clients. I do, I really  believe that postural assessment helps my clients to understand better what’s going on their bodies. Very often the cause of pain, aches and stiffness are result of  poor body’s alignment and muscle imbalances. Many Pilates studios are marketing their business’ that Pilates improves posture, they are very right. Unfortunately, postural improvement is not going to happen that Pilates instructor teach you only a great workout with reformer. In the order Postural assessment and designed Pilates program based on your posture can help most the people with poor posture.  Pilates is a great tool but  the instructors have to know how we use that tool. Sometimes I feel that Pilates exercises are not enough to balancing poor posture which causes by muscles tightness. Very tight muscles might need more than just Pilates “lengthening” exercises. Those muscles need more just a regular stretching too. Also twice a week Pilates is a good frequency but not enough to improve your posture, if you keep slumping behind your desk. The truth is that your daily body posture habits directly relate to your overall health and ability to move your body without pain or risk of injury. Good Posture equals Helathy Back!