What if I have an injury, can I still do Pilates?
Pilates can challenge the most athletic person and care for the most injured.
It doesn’t matter the degree of injury Pilates can pretty much cater to everything. That’s why it is so great. It is the probably one of the most versatile forms of exercise that can get anyone back to full health.
But what types of injuries does it help?
We see a lot of different types of injuries come through our doors. When i said it helps with any injury i meant it. But I am sure you are still asking how. Am i right?
Here is a list of the most common injuries we get through our doors and how Pilates can help.
Lower Back Pain
One of the most common injuries we see is lower back pain. I think at some point in a person’s life they have most probably suffered from it. A lot of people are4 made to believe it can not be fixed by doctors, but it is probably one of the easiest injuries we can fix here.
Pilates was developed to target the areas in the body that we tend to not train. It focuses on those deep layers of muscles in and around the lower back and torso that are needed to support our frame.
By creating a good connection between all of the muscles associated with the lower back we gain a stronger and more stable structure to support our lower back.
Neck pain is normally associated with the position of our head while we are on the computer or looking at our phones.
A new trend has started with the use of mobile phones referred to as text neck.
Our heads are now constantly in an unnatural position and all of the muscles at the front of the neck are working overtime, while the muscles in the back of the neck are being stretched to their limits.
Whenever we try to lift the head for an extended period of time all we are using are the muscles in the front of the neck.
Pilates helps you to understand what is called a neutral neck position and gets you to start using the deep neck flexors to help support your head and neck better.
Rotator Cuff Strain/Tear/Impingement
The shoulders unfortunately get a lot of niggles and injuries mainly because we don’t put enough emphasis on our posture.
We are becoming a society of sitters. Always glued to our desks and slouched over staring into our screens.
The majority of any shoulder ‘injuries’ are down to poor posture. Due to this our shoulders end up being rounded and the rotator cuffs in the front of the shoulders had no room to move. This then causes an impingement. That horrible aching nagging feeling.
Pilates will train the muscles that are needed to support your shoulder girdle and hopefully keep it in the best position possible. Therefore alleviating any pain.
A slipped or bulging disc sounds a lot worse than it actually is. There are very few cases where it is severe enough to warrant surgery.
The majority of the time it can be fixed with corrective exercises. And guess what Pilates can help with it.
A disc issue can be related to a sciatic problem. If it is head down the page and check out the exercises for sciatic pain.
If you have a bulging disc in your lower back (lumbar spine) then it could be that you have a lordotic posture. This means your butt is sticking out and you have a deep curve in the lower back.
Fear not this can also be fixed.
Working on your pelvic position is crucial here. Making sure your pelvis is in a neutral position will only help take that pressure off the lower back.
There are some great simple exercises you can do. Check them out below.
🎶My hip bones connected to my leg bone, my leg bones connected to my knee bone🎶
We all remember the skeleton song don’t we? Well it proves to be a pivotal part of our learning as children. It is basically telling us what area is affecting another.
If knee pain is an issue then it will most likely be that you are unstable in your hips. Instability in the hips causes the lower limbs to then have to work even harder to try and keep your frame stable.
This one is an easy one. All you need to do is strengthen around the hips, that’s the glutes, and I can guarantee that over time your knee pain will start to ease.
One thing that is great about Pilates, among a million others, is that it is by far one of the few exercises that makes balance a priority. There’s not many exercises that you will be standing on one leg for an extended period of time.
Any ankle injuries can most probably be down to an instability. There’s that instability again!
The ankle and foot have a lot of ligaments, tendons and muscles running through it. If you have even only slightly gone over on your ankle it can make it weak.
So like i said, a lot of balance work is needed here to start and strengthen around the ankle.
Sciatica is that sharp stabbing pain you can feel in the depths of your butt that sometimes like to make its way down your leg. Along with this you can sometimes and most likely will suffer from hip pain.
As much as it feels like the pain will never go away, doing everything that comes with what Pilates is based around will help to start reducing the pain. Don’t get me wrong this may take a little longer than the other injuries you may sustain, but will be worth the wait.
With sciatica it is important to address the elephant in the room. When i say elephant i mean pelvis. If you look at the shape of the pelvis it reminds me of elephant ears.
Keeping that in mind, imagine one of those ears is sitting a bit lower on the head of the elephant. It would be wonky right?
Well imagine if one of your ‘elephant ears’ was a bit lower than the other. Do you think that could cause you more pain?
I would go for a definite YES.
So what to do you need to do?
Here we are working on pelvic stability, core stability and glute activation. All those juicy areas that need your attention.
Here are some of the exercises that you can start using to help start reducing that pain.
Why the reformer was designed to help rehabilitate injuries
The Reformer machines originated from hospital beds with springs attached to help rehabilitate the injured and ill.
During World War I, the British used Pilates as a German enemy alien. During this time he developed a new approach to help the injured soldiers exercise and condition the body.
He experimented with these bed ridden soldiers by attaching springs to their beds, so the patients could start strengthening their muscles even if they could not get out of bed.
From there the reformer was born. The first reformer was shaped like a sliding bed and used springs as resistance.
Even back in the early 1900’s they were using Pilates to rehabilitate injuries.
If they can do it, then why can’t you?