Tag Archive | therapeutic pilates

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

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Hypermobile joints may cause risk of injury, joint pain and arthritis

  

Joint hypermobility means that some or all joints have an abnormal range of motion (movement). This causes joints to be more mobile and less stabile. Many people with hypermobile joints do not have problems, but some might have unpleasant symptoms such as joint & back pain (lower back and SI-joint pain). People with joint hypermobility are also more prone to injuries such as joint dislocation, ligament sprains because they have less joint support around surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments. Abnormal joint wear and tear may cause  joint arthritis (knee, hip & shoulder) and spine osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) earlier than normal aging process does.

There is no health benefit in having a hyperflexible body or being able to twist yourself into a pretzel or able to do split. In fact, pushing your body into extreme stretches can cause injuries. This is something that especially Yoga & Pilates people should know. Yoga is not the best choice for people with hypermobility, for some people it is even contraindicated. Hot Yoga can potentially harm you because heat makes your joints more flexible and you may push even more and way over your joints normal range of motion.

Pilates is good for people with hypermobility because it strengthens all stabilizing muscles in your body, not only core muscles. Unfortunately, Pilates is nowadays more about group exercises, mat and reformer classes, where the teachers don’t pay enough attention to each student’s proper form and individual needs. If you have a problem with your joints and got pain, it’s advisable to take private lessons from a certified Pilates instructor, who also has extended knowledge about body biomechanics and anatomy ( regular Pilates education lacks the knowledge of these two important areas). Some Pilates Instructors have no idea what a normal range of motion of joints is and might force their clients to do too wide range of motion without any joint stabilization, correct alignment or muscles support. However, overall Pilates is a great way to prevent injuries for those who are hyper mobile, as well as for those who are hypo mobile – both of them need a proper amount of muscle stability, strength and control as well as NORMAL muscle flexibility and joint mobility.

It’s very important for Pilates and Yoga instructors to know the joints normal range of motion. It’s unnecessary, and many times unhealthy, to go over normal joints range of motion at any circumstances.

These are the degrees of normal joints range of motion:

  • Spine Thoracic & Lumbar: Flexion: 80, Extension: 20-30, Lateral bending: 35, Rotation 45
  • Hip:  Flexion: 120 , Extension: 30 , Abduction: 45-50 , Adduction: 20-30
  • Knee: Flexion: 135, Extension: 0
  • Shoulder: Flexion: 180, Extension 60, Horizontal flexion: 135, Abduction 180, Adduction 75
  • Elbow: Flexion: 150, Extension: 0-5

For more about PilatesWise program in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe, please click HERE

 

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

Stretching and Pilates are a good treatments for Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

The fascia is a thick elastic connective tissue in and around the muscles, bones, blood vessels and nerves of your body. The fascia spreads throughout the body like web which travels head-to-toe uninterrupted and acts as a shock absorber in the body. In healthy condition, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration with the ability to stretch and move without any problems.

Physical trauma, scarring, stress, repetitive micro trauma, poor posture, inflammation or disease such as arthritis cause the fascia to lose its ability and this causes restriction and tension to the rest of the body. This Myofascial restriction or tension is the underlying cause of most chronic pain problems that have not responded to traditional medical or surgical intervention.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is essentially defined as a painful musculoskeletal condition, characterized by the development of Myofascial trigger points (TrPs). These points are locally tender when active and refer pain through specific patterns to other areas of the body.

The Myofascial tissue appears to tighten and thicken in those with Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). So often fibromyalgia sufferers might have also Myoafascial Pain syndrome (MPS). FMS and MPS are very different symptoms and makes life very complicated with pain.

Exercise is considered to be one of the most significant treatment methods for relief from the symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome as well as Fibromyalgia. Research indicates that apart from medications and minimally invasive techniques, a set of planned exercises and a regular exercise regimen can be of great help for relief from the symptoms of Myofascial Pain Syndrome.

As a Physical Therapist, I recommend Pilates and specific stretching program for people with MPS and FMS. However, both exercises have to be tailored just for you needs and must be taught by a Physical Therapist or experienced Pilates Instructor.  Pilates helps improve your joint range of motion and increase muscle strength, endurance and stretch. Unfortunately, Pilates is not enough to stretching tight myofascia and releasing muscle tension. Specific stretching program with a foam roll and ball is a good myofascial trigger point release as well as muscle tension release. So, professional Pilates with a specific stretching program complete each other by relieving your pain and will improve your quality of life.

Please Check out also our info video clip about Fibromyalgia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpG24NEL6qQ

PilatesWise offers Pilates and therapeutic exercise program for rehabilitation, post-rehabilitation and chronic pain & disease, all sessions are taught by a Physical Therapist.

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!