Tag Archive | post physical therapy

Take Care Of Your Spinal Health After Spinal Fusion

  

Did you know that here in the US the volume of spinal fusion surgeries is the most increased among Orthopedic “procedures”? Since 1996 the number of spinal surgeries has increased as much as 116%. Spinal fusion surgery is not that simple and it’s not always successful either. Sometimes underlying problems which caused your back pain in the first place are still there; poor posture, sacroiliac joint instability, weak supporting muscles, hip and thoracic spine limited rotational movement and shoulder girdle hypo or hyper mobility. Without proper treatment of underlying problems the spinal fusion alone is not the final answer to get rid of your pain longer term.

It is very true that in many cases the lower back pain is caused by lumbar spine instability (and nerve irritation) which basically means that there is too much unnecessary movement between vertebrae. Spinal instability does not come overnight and it is more complicated than how it looks like. One reason to have lower back spinal instability is when your hip rotation is limited or you have limited rotation on your thoracic spine. Lumbar spine does not have rotation or lateral flexion, but if rotation is not happening naturally from the place where it should (hip, thoracic spine), the body starts to compensate with excess rotational movement from your lumbar spine. Lumbar spine has to change it’s functioning and force vertebras, discs and ligaments to work the way that they are not built for, causing nerve compression and PAIN. And if spinal supporting muscles are also weak they are adding unnecessary movement and pain. Research shows that deep stabilizer back muscles are “shut down” those who got chronic back pain.

What happened after spinal fusion then? Spinal fusion limits your spine movement at the place which caused the pain, and that is a good thing, right? Unfortunately, body starts to compensate again and looks for the next place to do those missing movements and guess what, that is above and below fusion point. Those vertebras are now in danger and maybe develop similar spinal instability and nerve irritation to those vertebras which were fused together. What now – new fusion?

However, there is an other way to deal with this and that is to find a Physical Therapist who will assess your posture, muscle balance and whole body functioning, not just isolate back problems alone. Heat/cold pack, massage and back exercises are not working. Main problem might be elsewhere than in your lumbar spine alone. PT will analyze your movement and concentrate on increasing your spine & joints mobility and normal range of motion (especially rotation) and decrease hyper mobility with proper strengthening exercises (spinal stabilization training). Our body is a kinetic chain and all parts have to work together, so instead of just isolating to treat back pain, you must understand and treat the whole body.

Getting lifelong results and better spinal and proper body function, I warmly recommend to try Pilates private training. Pilates is an incredible treatment for all people with or without spinal fusion. If you don’t find a Physical Therapist who can teach Pilates for you, just look for an experienced Pilates Instructor who has education and experience to working with people with back pain and after spinal fusion. Pilates does probably not include that much stretching that people with back pain might need (hamstrings, piriformis, hip flexors), but it is a good way to strengthen your spinal supporting muscles, improve your range of motion and working your whole body more efficiently and safely. And the best part – with good Pilates instructor you will learn BODY AWARENESS. Body awareness is going to be a big help taking care of your spinal health after spinal fusion and back pain – and that is PRICELESS!!

More about PilatesWise Pilates & Spinal Stabilization training for back problems, please check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDzsq7u199s or Visit our website click HERE.

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Pilates often referred by Physical Therapists and Chiropractors

Pilates private sessions are a wonderful tool to rehabilitate your body after injury or Physical Therapy. It’s gentle and low-impact exercise form where your body can heal without putting too much pressure on your injury side but still working out your whole body. After injury your muscles learn to work different, inefficient way and sometimes you will need professional eyes to correct your faulty muscle recruitment and faulty compensation patterns. These two issues make your healing process much more complicated and risk of other injuries increases if you don’t notice how you are actually using your body.

Already about 70 years ago during the second world war Mr. Pilates developed his method to treat soldiers who were injured at the war. He created a specific hospital bed where he used resistance of springs and bands. He was very clever guy and really ahead of his time.  Pilates is today a great and practical tool for rehabilitation and many Physical Therapist as well as Chiropractors have noticed that. However, many Pilates studios are owned by certified Pilates Instructors who unfortunately have very limited knowledgeable about orthopedic rehabilitation or post-rehabilitation. Pilates Instructors might want to grow their businesses so badly that they are willing to take clients who have many health problems, but don’t exactly know how to deal with those problems. I see a big risk of injury or re-injury here! Pilates is a really good rehabilitation tool but Pilates instructors would need much more education about anatomy, biomechanics and orthopedic injuries & rehab than the standard comprehensive Pilates education offers today. For example, all back pain is not the same, and Pilates instructor who has had back pain herself and recovered from it by doing Pilates, is not necessary a good teacher to teach other people with back problems. Pilates is a good tool, but the teacher has to know exactly how to use that tool properly, efficiently and safely for each client. People with back pain have usually more problems and issues than just weak core muscles.

Very often Physical Therapists and Chiropractors don’t know about how long the Pilates instructors education is and how little they actually know about anatomy, injuries and rehabilitation. As a Physical Therapist myself, I was very surprised when I heard that one chiropractor referred his client of age 88, has osteoporosis and two lumbar vertebrae fractures, to a Pilates Instructor. I know that this Pilates instructor was very experienced, but not educated as a Physical Therapist, and I don’t think that this client was general ‘Pilates material‘. Pilates is a great and versatile exercise tool but in this case only taught by a skilled Physical Therapist. Pilates Instructors are expected to know what their skill level is and where their limits are. Unfortunately, today’s economy puts a lot of pressure on Pilates business owners, and even though they don’t have enough education they will take and treat rehab clients as any other normal clients. If you are looking for a Pilates studio to rehabilitate your injury or post-rehab after Physical Therapy, do your homework first and ask questions from studio’s instructors to find out how skilled and experienced they really are for your case. I definitely recommend Pilates for everyone who is looking for rehabilitation or post-rehabilitation after Physical Therapy – just be sure that your instructor is really experienced and educated in that field.

For more about PilatesWise  active back rehabilitation, orthopedic injury rehabilitation and sport injury recover and prevention, please visti our website http://www.pilateswise.com .

Check out also this pilateswise video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R40kIPla2Dc