POSTURAL BACK AND NECK PAIN
The postures you adopt during our day can impact on whether you experience back or neck pain. Sitting all day at the computer at work and even the posture you laying in during sleeping can all be influenced by the flexibility of your joints and the strength of the muscles that stabilise them.
Pilates has been shown to improve posture in everyday activity by improving spinal and joint flexibility while strengthening the muscles of the lower and upper back, shoulders and abdominals. It’s the perfect combination of lengthening and strengthening typically associated with Pilates that helps you to achieve the posture you desire, while alleviating pain.
Many shoulder injuries occur due to instability and poor muscle control around the shoulder and shoulder blade. Through specific exercises Pilates can teach you how to correctly recruit the muscles around your shoulder like the rotator cuff and help reduce conditions like impingement and rotator cuff tendinopathy.
Because the shoulders are closely linked with the neck via the shoulder blades or scapula, you will also find Pilates for the shoulder can help to ease muscular tension and headaches around the neck as well.
HIP AND GROIN INJURIES
Muscle control is a vital component of rehabilitation of hip and groin pain. Your deep abdominal or core muscles, hip rotators, gluteals and spinal muscles along with your pelvic floor all work together to form a strong base of support for all weight bearing activities include walking, running and jumping.
When an imbalance or lack of coordination between these muscles occur pain can result in the hip or groin region. As a terrible consequence pain in the hip joint, like that from osteoarthritis can itself cause these muscles to fire incorrectly and lead to a downward spiral of poor control and more pain.
Pilates exercises place a lot of emphasis on the gluteals and dip hip rotators, as well as the core (of course) and are an excellent way to improve hip and groin pain.
KNEE AND LOWER LIMB INJURIES
We already know that muscle of the base of support for weight bearing activities such as walking, running and jumping comes from having a strong core, gluteal and hip rotator muscles. Optimal knee, foot and ankle function can all result from Pilates training for these areas. Additionally because Pilates is low impact it is a perfect early intervention strengthening exercise regime for people who are unable to weight bear due to fracture, sprains, strains and osteoarthritis.
SPORTS AND FATIGUE RELATED INJURIES SUCH AS ITB FRICTION SYNDROME OR PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN IN RUNNERS OR SHOULDER PAIN IN SWIMMERS
Yep, its true. Even athletes experience pain from fatigue of muscles and overtraining. Whether you are an elite athlete or just starting to get into an exercise program, there is nothing worse than suffering an injury due to fatigue or poor coordination or control.
Pilates uses endurance based strength training concepts, meaning you work under a relatively low load but perform a high number of repetitions of each exercise. The aim is not only to make your muscles stronger but also make them more coordinated and able to work for a longer time without fatigue. This can assist with your training program for other sports and events, or can be a great way to reduce postural fatigue from work and other deadly activities.
PREGNANCY AND POST NATAL
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are being increasingly recognised. As well as helping to maintain your strength during pregnancy, it is believed women who exercise during pregnancy experience an easier labour and recover faster.
Pilates is a low load and low impact strengthening program that can be performed safely during most pregnancies. During pregnancy or post-natally the presence of the hormone relaxin which causes the ligaments and soft tissues to stretch, can also cause joint instability. This instability particularly around the pelvis and lower back is one of the main reasons pregnant women experience pain. Pilates will help to strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles which can help counteract some of this instability and may help to decrease pain.
Pregnant and post-natal women are also at higher risk of weakened pelvic floor muscles. Pilates can be used to strengthen these muscles while also allowing mum to perform a range of other strengthening exercises that may otherwise lead to downward pressure causing incontinence and prolapse.
After your baby has been born, Pilates can assist with recovery of conditions like diastasic rectified (DRAM) or abdominal separation as well as improving your overall fitness and wellbeing.
POST SURGICAL REHABILITATION
Pilates can be a useful post-surgical strengthening program for a lot of conditions. Post surgical rehabilitation should always be performed with a Clinical Pilates instructor who has additional understanding of injuries and post surgical rehabilitation protocols.
Post surgical rehabilitation should be guided by the opinion of your surgeon. When you are ready for strengthening programs, Pilates can be a suitable option due to the use of low resistance, high endurance exercises. You may be able to get back to doing Pilates exercises much sooner than you would a gym or other strengthening program.