Tag Archives: Pilates

Are Pilates Instructors Capable Of Rehabilitating 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, and 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!

Tuula Niskanen has college degrees of Physical Therapy and Physical Education. She holds advanced certifications in Spinal Stabilization Training, Golf Conditioning and Comprehensive Pilates Teaching. She offers private and semi-private Pilates classes with reformer and other equipment at California Pilates Center studio in Carlsbad, CA. More about Tuula’s Pilates services at PilatesWise website http://www.pilateswise.com .





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How Pilates and Stretching Are the Most Affordable Back Pain Treatment Options

Have you ever injured or done certain damage to your back? If you have, then you know what real pain is. Sadly, a back that is not taken care of through exercise and good posture is easy to injure. However, it seems unavoidable that our backs experience some form of injury over the course of a lifetime. For women, there is childbirth, spending long hours sitting at the desk, or spending long hours standing. For men, there is heavy lifting, prolonged sitting if he works behind a desk, or prolonged standing. All of these things can yank the muscles out of shape, put too much pressure on the lower back, strain the muscles, rip ligaments, and force disks out of place. It is imperative that we treat our backs with care so that we do not end up in a wheelchair before our time.

Once our backs have been injured, many of us will rush to the emergency room. Several do not have insurance, so this can get quite costly – we’re talking thousands. Once a visit to a doctor or emergency room has been accomplished, we are usually referred to a specialist where we will receive either an option for physical therapy or medication for pain. Either way, both are going to cost money. In some of the worst cases, surgery is recommended to repair damage done to the back, and that can cost a whole lot more than a trip to the emergency room! Furthermore, surgeries, medications, and frequent trips to the doctor really do not even work in the long run. What if your back pain could be prevented, treated, and gotten rid of?

If you knew and understood the cause of why your back is in pain, you would understand exactly how to treat it. However, you are going to find that no matter how your back got the way that it is, it all boils down to proper spinal alignment and a strong core. What is a core, you ask? The core of your body is where everything comes together. It is consistent of five parts: the buttocks, abdominal muscles, hips, and lower back muscles. Once those muscles are repaired, toned, and tightened, there can be no more tearing, weakness, or straining that pulls everything out of place. Your core controls the way that you walk, and the way that you use your extremities. If the core is out of shape, the whole body flows out of rhythm, with each move contributing more toward the further misalignment of your spine.

What exercise can you do to fix all of this? Pilates and stretch. These exercises were formulated to help tighten and strengthen the core of your body to it’s maximum potential within a very short amount of time. The exercises are relatively simple to do, as the movements involved are very slow and controlled. They also help to give you your natural range of motion back due to the alignment of the spine. You can usually find Pilates instructions located on DVDs and in other instruction manuals, which usually cost only a couple of dollars at best. But, it sure beats the heck out of spending thousands on doctor bills! Focus on doing the workouts in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Your back is going to feel much better, and you will feel much stronger from the inside out.

There are a range of DVD’s on sale at http://www.pilatesorstretchforbackpain.com which have been recommended by a leading British Osteopath/Physiotherapist.





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Lower Back Pain and How the Cat Position of Pilates Can Help

There are days when your back will simply not cooperate with you. Blame it on the weather, or the freezing air-conditioning system at the office. Lets face it. Your back has a mind of its own and it’s hurting today. What can you do? For starters you must not panic.

The breathing technique is always the first aid solution to your problem. Deep breaths will allow proper circulation to your back. You could try it sitting at first.

Slowly inhale and expand your ribcage. Fill the lungs to its full capacity but do it slowly and deliberately. As you exhale engage the abdominals and let out the air through you mouth. Almost like a sigh. Repeat ten times.

If the back feels stuck or immobile lets try a different exercise. The Cat.

The Cat will help release and mobilize your spine. This exercise should not cause you any pain. So like any other exercise proceed with caution. If you feel a pinch or a sharp pain stop immediately and seek medical assistance.

Kneel on all fours with hands placed directly beneath your shoulders. Knees should be in line with your hips and the lower part should be straight. Keep head parallel to the floor. Maintain the neutral spine while keeping your shoulders away from your ears.

Elbows soft and weight must be equally distributed between your hands and knees. Now focus on the base of your spine. Curl tailbone under. Breathe out as you curl. Rounding the spine as you proceed. Once the spine can no longer curl focus now on the top of the head and slowly extend the spine from head, to neck, to the mid back section, and finally releasing the lower back. Breathe in or inhale as you uncurl the spine.

There are a few things you must keep in mind. Whether curling or uncurling the back – the neck should feel long and strong. No jotting out of the chin. And stay balanced. So lets go for ten!

You should be able to release tension from the lower back. The Cat is also used for neck injuries and shoulder concerns.

Pilates Philippines specialist Plinky Recto works with orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists and conducts seminars and demonstrations for corporate executives, housewives, athletes and the physically impaired. More lower back pain exercises can be found at her site http://www.plinkyrecto.net

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The Healing Powers of Pilates For Back Pain

If you are a sufferer of back pain, then you are probably no stranger to prescription medications, doctor’s visits, and bills, bills, bills. What if there was a way to eliminate the need for every single bit of that? With the economy being the way that it is, we cannot afford another thing. Period. We shouldn’t have to let the stress of our back pain actually add to our already existing pain.

When stress mounts up, one of the first places that we feel it is around in our back area. Why is this, you ask? It is because our bodies become tense and they do not have a release. The muscles consistently tighten causing ligament tears and misalignment. Your back can throw your whole body out of balance. That is why it is important that you do all that is necessary to take care of it. Pilates and stretching can help to get rid of your back pain, and improve it’s existing condition.

Pilates and stretching techniques help to release tense muscles and prevent future injury and stress by strengthening the back. The stretches help to lengthen the spine as well. You can minimize your need for back surgeries and expensive chiropractic visits when you use Pilates and stretching as a means of pain relief. When you stretch, you improve your range of motion while giving your back more flexibility. You can help to put your body back into it’s natural alignment and maintain it when you use stretching to relieve your back pain. This should be done at least three times per week for maximum benefit.

You can find various types of stretching techniques for your back online, in Pilates DVDs, and in books at the library. Do not be afraid to perform these movements. They are not meant to hurt you. If you experience more pain when performing your exercises, then you are doing something wrong. Take your time and remember to try to complete the full movement. The most important thing to remember is that you need to be in the correct form before performing a stretch or exercise.

Relax and practice some deep breathing before you begin your regimen. Make sure that your mind and body are both equally into what you are doing in order to prevent further injury. Pilates exercises strengthen your body from the inside out. When you combine Pilates and stretching, you are giving your body the maximum benefit. By increasing your blood flow, you will be helping your body to deliver the nutrients that it needs to your back so that it can reach it’s top healing potential.

Our bodies are natural healers on their own, there are just some parts that need a little extra help. Our back is a perfect example of that truth. There is no limit to the amount of stress and strain that we can put our back through. Knowing that we do not have to suffer is a stress reliever within itself. Not everyone knows that Pilates and stretching can help to alleviate their back pain. Start by practicing today, you will be a great example of how it really does help.

There are a range of DVD’s on sale at http://www.pilatesorstretchforbackpain.com which have been recommended by a leading British Osteopath/Physiotherapist.
Please visit my blog at http://www.stretchorpilatesforbackpain.com

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Eliminate Your Back Pain With Pilates and Stretching

We all know that people who are more active and careful have less problems when it comes to pain. When we exercise, we strengthen not only our bodies, but our minds. Pilates and stretching exercises can help you to relax those tight and tense back muscles while lengthening your spine and strengthening your core.

It is not as difficult as it sounds, however. It is true that Pilates has a powerful effect on our bodies, but the reality is that the movements are anything but exhausting like regular exercise. There is a lot of deep breathing, focus, and relaxation involved in this type of exercise. For best results, it is best to perform your Pilates movements at least three times per week. The core strengthening exercises will do wonders for your back, along with making your body strong all over. You will find that with the use of Pilates that your pain tolerance will be higher. You are not going to hurt as much as before, and if any at all when you begin using Pilates and stretching to help your back pain.

With each passing day, we all seem to be so busy. It is easy for stress and tension to build up all over our bodies, especially our backs. It seems that most anything that we do can add to our back pain. Sitting too long behind your desk at work can contribute, as well as standing too long while working. Back pain can be completely unavoidable. Without the correct release of tension, it is definitely unavoidable. The thing to understand is that we must get rid of the tension and stress that has been added to our backs. The strain that we put on our backs can only be released by stretching and strengthening. Lifting weights and aerobic exercises are not enough. In most cases, those types of activities just lead to more stress and strain. You have got to strengthen your body from the core.

Pilates and stretching movements are also going to help strengthen the abdominal muscles, which is an essential part of your core. Did you know that without strong abdominal muscles that your back is going to suffer? A strong back can also add to you abdominal muscles. The combination goes hand-in-hand. Just think about those parts of your body being your core and your center. Our center is actually the part of our body that we should be the most concerned with. We need maximum blood flow to these areas as well to reduce any type of pain and other complications that might occur.

Pilates in combination with special stretching techniques are going to help you realize that you can take back power over your life. Having an aching back is way worse than it sounds. Some people cannot even walk because their backs put them in so much pain. With the use of Pilates, your pain will literally disappear.

There are a range of DVD’s on sale at http://www.pilatesorstretchforbackpain.com which have been recommended by a leading British Osteopath/Physiotherapist. Please visit my blog at http://www.stretchorpilatesforbackpain.com

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Pilates and Stretching Proven to Rid You of Your Back Pain

Back pain can be caused by various things. Some of those things include straining, too much standing, pulled muscles, prolonged sitting, not getting enough exercise, and lack of muscle. There are several other things that can cause back pain that are all too numerous to mention here, but what we are going to be talking about is getting rid of your back pain by using Pilates and stretching techniques.

Pilates is a system of physical conditioning that involves low-impact stretches and exercises. Pilates also involves core strengthening movements which are great for the back. Since all of the exercises are extremely low-impact, anyone can do them. They can be done from your home or at the gym. All you need is a mat and the knowledge of how to perform the exercises and stretches and you are all set to go. There are several DVD’s and books available on how to perform Pilates exercises and stretches that can be found most anywhere from libraries to online.

Back pain can inhibit us from living our lives. It can keep us from work, cause us to lose sleep, and prevent us from doing the things that we have always enjoyed. A strong and relaxed back is one that is unlikely to feel pain. When you build up the strength of your back slowly and carefully, you are doing one of the best things that you can do for your body. People often do not realize how important their backs are until they give out on them. I am sure that those of you reading this that have back problems agree completely.

A lot of times back pain is related to poor posture. Did you know that proper stretching combined with the use of Pilates can actually lengthen your spine and improve your posture? You might even find that your height changes in length a bit after performing a series of Pilates exercises. The types of stretches that you do are not at all painful. An example of an effective Pilates stretch would be to lie down face up on a mat on a flat surface while pulling your knees to your chest. While you are doing that, you will slowly lift your head forward until you are in a balled-up position. These are the simple movements that you will be working with when performing Pilates. These types of movements help to strengthen the ligaments and joints in the back that might be weak and are causing your pain.

When our backs are in pain, they let us know it in a big way. We need to care for our backs in the same fashion that we care for the rest of our bodies. If we do not keep it strong, it is going to breakdown and become useless. Pilates and stretching techniques will help you to maintain your back so that you can be strong and continue to take on life’s most demanding responsibilities without giving out.

There are a range of DVD’s on sale at http://www.pilatesorstretchforbackpain.com which have been recommended by a leading British Osteopath/Physiotherapist. Please visit my blog at http://www.stretchorpilatesforbackpain.com





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Ease Your Back Pain with Stretching and Pilates

There is no reason to suffer from back pain when there is a way to defeat it. Back pain can be a result of old age a car accident having children working or an athletic injury. By using Pilates in combination with a few stretching techniques your back pain will become a thing of the past. Anyone can do Pilates because it is that safe. The movements may be small and easy to do but the results are everlasting. Never underestimate the stress relieving and pain relieving effects that Pilates and stretching can have on your body. Young children teenagers adults and seniors can enjoy the benefits of Pilates and stretching.


There is nothing difficult about Pilates. The only thing that you need to watch out for is your form. Make sure that you do exactly as the instructions say when performing your movements. When you stretch you need to make sure that you are stretching both sides so that there is no injury. In case you haven’t noticed most athletes will perform a series of simple stretches before physical activities in order to avoid injuries. How much more do you think that they can be used to prevent pain? You can bet on a lot.


Tense ligaments and stiff joints can cause a pain that is unbearable especially in your back. The popping cracking and strains need an outlet. You back needs a gentle release of it’s stress and tension. If you do not release what has built up then the pain will just continue to persist creating more crippling effects. When performing your stretches try to hold them for at least 20 to 30 seconds each. Holding your stretches will help your muscles and joints to become more flexible and release the tension which will in turn ease the pain.


Never bounce or tense up when performing your exercises and stretches. Always make sure that you breathe. Breathing is quite possibly one of the most important things to remember to do when it comes to any type of physical activity. Not remembering to breathe can lead to high blood pressure dizziness and other dangerous things that are just too serious to tamper with. Breathing correctly while performing your stretches and Pilates techniques will help to increase blood flow to your back and speed up the amount of nutrients that travel to it thus helping to further relieve the pain and enhance natural healing effects.


An ideal Pilates regimen might include doing a set of exercises for a short period in the morning and then again at night before you go to bed. It does not take very long to start experiencing the pain relieving benefits that Pilates and stretching have to offer. The best part about it is that it is free. Once you learn the stretches and the movements you are all set to go. You can find literally thousands of pages of information on how to perform Pilates and stretching techniques over the web. With a little time and practice you will be a pain relieving pro!


There are a range of DVD’s on sale at http://www.pilatesorstretchforbackpain.com which have been recommended by a leading British Osteopath/Physiotherapist.

Please visit my blog at http://stretchorpilatesforbackpain.com/wordpress/?feed=rss2

The author, Steven Giles is a 55 year old former accountant who has been suffering from back pain for several years and has found that Pilates provides relief from this. He lives in Greater Manchester in the North-West of England.

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Your Everyday Activities are Contributing to Your Back Pain Pilates Can Help

Hunching, bending, and slouching are just a couple of the bad habits that we have all acquired over the years. They usually begin during childhood and follow us into adulthood, where the problems tend to arise. Unfortunately, many of us are unconscious of these bad habits, which makes most of us likely candidates for back pain. You do not have to have an existing health condition to have chronic back pain. You do not even have to be older in age. Back pain can strike at anytime, and at any age. 


People who work behind a desk for a living may not realize it, but they are doing a lot of damage to their backs by slouching. As stated above, people tend to do this unconsciously. Over time, an accumulation of stress and strain is applied, and the damage is done. Other instances in which everyday activities harm the back are when we stand. Slouching when standing without holding the shoulders down and back in a relaxed fashion can put a lot of stress on the back and neck. Another activity in which damage to the back is possible is when we sleep. A bad mattress can damage the spine’s natural alignment, which can result in back pain. You might also feel the pain in your neck and shoulders when sleeping on a bad mattress.


When the back has been damaged, we may not feel it in the beginning, so we continue to practice the same activities as we always have, without correction. Pilates and stretching exercises were meant to correct the spine’s alignment. This type of exercise consists of a series of small, effective, and powerful movements that will strengthen those muscles that have come undone during the ebb and flow of everyday activities. You will be able to tighten and tone the buttocks, abdominal muscles, and back muscles, increasing your body’s overall strength.


At some time in the majority of all people’s lives, they will experience some type of back discomfort. It is inevitable. We get used to slouching and poor postural habits, and they catch up with us. In the most serious cases, disks become herniated and sometimes, arthritis can develop. The alignment becomes crooked, and all functions of the body are put off. Talk about pain! Stiffness, numbing, tingling, and burning are just a few of the very real sensations that people live with who suffer from back pain. Frequent doctor’s visits are an all too common reality for a lot of folks as well. Getting rushed to the emergency room also is something that is very common in the horrible world of back pain. 


Pilates and stretching techniques can help to correct even the worst of back problems. Once the strength and alignment is restored, everything else follows. Ultimately, you will become more conscious and aware of your posture, and more in the know on how to relieve an onset of back pain. Thanks to Pilates, there will be no more medications, doctor’s visits, or pesky bouts of pain. Just a stress-free back in healthy, natural alignment.

There are a range of DVD’s on sale at http://www.pilatesorstretchforbackpain.com which have been recommended by a leading British Osteopath/Physiotherapist. Please visit my blog at http://stretchorpilatesforbackpain.com/wordpress/?feed=rss2

The author, Steven Giles is a 55 year old former accountant who has been suffering from back pain for several years and has found that Pilates provides relief from this. He lives in Greater Manchester in the North-West of England.

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