PILATES FOR INJURY AND RECOVERY
PILATES FOR BACK INJURIES:
Individuals with significant back problems may benefit from several one-on-one Pilates sessions with a qualified Pilates instructor. While more expensive than a group class or mat class, the time, money, and effort devoted to learning the exercises correctly can be well worth the investment, as exercises performed incorrectly can make a back problem worse. Initially, twice-a-week sessions tend to be helpful to learn the program more quickly. After that, weekly Pilates exercise sessions may be enough if the individual practices between sessions.
One cannot underestimate the benefit of simple exercises that support the deep postural muscles of the trunk, awareness of neutral alignment, and supple use of the shoulders and hips. Having said that, given its roots in ballet and dance, some of the movements in the Pilates system are very difficult and challenging. Many of the exercises should be avoided for individuals with significant back pain or degenerative disc disease. Only certain movements and/or apparatus can be used for back pain/injuries.
As a general rule, back patients should avoid exercises that push the spine into extremes of flexion or extension, or combine flexion with side bending or twisting the spine. These motions place excessive stress on the inter-vertebral discs. Also, it is important to avoid fatigue - either mental or physical - which is when proper form is lost and injuries more likely to occur.
Remember, it is always advisable to first see a physician prior to starting any exercise program.
If a patient starts Pilates after physical therapy, the physical therapist should outline the exercise principles identified as particularly important for his or her rehabilitation.
Always remember whilst Pilates is an exceptional way to help back problems/injuries .. ensure you find a Professional Instructor and start off with one on one sessions for individual attention to detail on your back injury. Joining a Pilates group class or Pilates Gym Class is an absolute no, as a Pilates Instructor with experience in rehabilitation, I believe that it could worsen the injury in the long run, if the repertoire is incorrectly executed . Therefore, ensure you are in the right hands.
PILATES FOR OTHER INJURIES:
If you have had or have an injury, you know just how frustrating and painful they can be, even after the injury itself. Pilates can help rehabilitate existing injuries and can get you back to your normal life quicker than you think. Pilates is not just an exercise but also a therapy, extremely useful in helping people especially with soft tissue injuries, back and neck problems, sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, muscle strains, and much more. Pilates as a form of rehabilitation uses very controlled and specific exercises to target the injury.
It can also improve the patient’s posture and muscle symmetry. Pilates is surprisingly gentle and it has no impact on the joints as compared to other types of exercises, which is so important when recovering from an injury. If you are using Pilates for an injury, always make sure you get a clearance letter from your GP before starting with the regime. A Pilates program will be drawn up for each individual, and will focus on injury rehabilitation and include exercises most beneficial to the injury.
PILATES FOR MOMS:
Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits: it increases one’s stamina, one can sleep better, experience mood elevation, decreased weight gain and back pain, much easier labor, a faster return to your pre-pregnancy physique and fitness level.
Often asked, how can Pilates improve my Frozen Shoulder? Tricky question...
When you hear the words “frozen shoulder”, it’s tempting to think of a shoulder that doesn’t move at all. But the more usual picture is a shoulder with restricted range of motion associated with pain and stiffness. This condition is extremely disabling. In most cases, it is difficult to reach the hand to the head, lift the arm above the shoulder or reach behind the back. Imagine the frustration in trying to perform all the common activities of daily living that require these movements.
Typically, frozen shoulder syndrome occurs in individuals over the age of 40 years. Women are affected more frequently than men. The exact mechanism is not known, and it isn’t clear why some people get this problem and others don’t. The risk is much higher in individuals experiencing prolonged immobility of the shoulder.
For instance, immobility may occur due to a broken arm that requires the person to keep their arm in a sling for several months. Or it can happen in an individual that physically cannot move the arm due to stroke or other systemic causes. Or it can happen without obvious etiology and is called idiopathic frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.
Adhesive capsulitis is often associated with postural imbalances and poor shoulder function. Individuals with kyphosis in the thoracic spine are at risk. Rounding in the shoulders and upper back make it difficult for the arm to move efficiently in the shoulder joint and predisposes to injury. Individuals with a long history of impingement syndromes (rotator cuff or glenohumeral soft tissue injuries) are also at risk. Chronic pain from repeated impingement injury can result over time in diminished range of motion and strength.
The incidence of frozen shoulder is much higher in individuals with diabetes suggesting a possible autoimmune component. It is estimated that 10-20% of individuals with diabetes will experience frozen shoulder sometime during their life and recovery may be slower than expected. Other associated risk factors include thyroid problems, cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Pain is almost always part of the inciting presentation. Pain is often worse at night and in cold weather. Sleep is frequently interrupted. Accidentally banging or bumping a frozen shoulder can cause sharp shooting pains that last several minutes.
Because of the pain, the shoulder is not used as frequently which in turn leads to restricted movement and, ultimately, moderate to severe limitations in range of motion. Not all movements are equally compromised. External rotation and abduction tend to be hit the worst, and flexion and medial rotation are relatively spared. Although frozen shoulder usually resolves without treatment, it may take 2-3 years to do so.
Pilates can help you speed up recovery and get back to the things you enjoy doing. Always get permission from your Dr before starting a Pilates program. Your Instructor should design a program that focuses on:
1. Gentle range of motion exercises to improve flexibility and mobility.
2. Strength training as permitted to improve shoulder function.
3. Overall Core strengthening to improve posture and balance.
If you feel you are at risk or have symptoms of a frozen shoulder, Pilates will help you restore posture, strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and help keep your shoulders moving freely through full range of motion.