Are Pilates Exercises Really Effective for Injury Rehabilitation?
While these may not be as heart pumping as other fitness regimens out there today, Pilates exercises are still able to make a believer out of many. It is one of the fastest growing exercises in the world with a lot to offer individuals who not only seek physical vitality but mental wellness too. But on top of its long list of benefits, are Pilates exercises able to rehabilitate injured areas of the body too?
This is one of the common questions that a lot of potential clients ask, and now we are serving you the dish!
The Culprit Behind Common Body Injuries
Injuries are commonly caused by muscular imbalances. It could be through the way we bend, hold our posture, sit, lie down, or even how we assume certain positions when working out. Most of us are unaware of the fact that we often move incorrectly, and this is called poor body mechanics. When done repeatedly, it can result in muscle fatigue and injury.
Whether you are sitting at home, turning and positioning patients at the hospital, or carrying heavy boxes during the day, poor body mechanics will eventually take a toll on your body. One study, which was done on workers in the car production industry, presented varying complaints of low back pain which is linked to their body mechanics behaviour.
Low back pain occurs when we put too much pressure on the spine while the pelvic muscles at the front of the body, or vice-versa, are weakened. In this case for instance, low back pain can be worsen when you bend over to pick up a heavy object instead of squatting down to avoid straining the back muscles. Wrong positioning and weight distribution makes the body more vulnerable to serious strains, tears, pulls, or something much worse.
How Can Pilates Help Rehabilitate Body Injuries
Pilates strengthens the core which consequently creates an even musculature throughout the body. The core muscles consists of deep abdominal muscles which includes those that are closest to the spine. This means that Pilates helps promote spinal and pelvic alignment which are essential for us to move the way we are supposed to without injury.
Aside from core strength, Pilates also provides a greater degree of flexibility than other conventional types of physical therapy. While many are daunted by the fact that it is closely similar to Yoga, they think that it might be too challenging for them especially if they go into it with an injury. But the truth is that Pilates can be modified for each person and still be effective. A class can go from basic movements to something more advanced, depending on how badly they are injured or how they progress.
Furthermore, Pilates is also gentle on the joints where fatigue is often a concern. It improves arm and leg movements. Proper motion, which is ensured through this exercise, helps stimulate the production of synovial fluid. This enhances lubrication at the joints and prevents their wear and tear, eventually reducing pain and provides better motion. This makes you come out of the program like a well-oiled machine.
What to Expect
Most Pilates exercises are performed on the mat or a Reformer (a Pilates equipment that has a sliding carriage in a long frame connected to ropes, pulleys, and springs). Mat and equipment exercises can be combined to create an optimized approach when trying to rehabilitate certain areas of the body.
Conventional physical rehabilitation exercises usually involves patients being given a set of exercise that may be too hard for them to tolerate. Either this causes too much pain, or they are not aware how they can position their body for maximum results – which is a basic principle that you can learn with Pilates. With it you will undergo a posture and movement assessment which may involve certain Pilates equipments. This step will help determine specific areas to target through a programme. This will result in the development of a detailed and individualised program which incorporates Pilates-based movement exercises.
You start the program with the introduction of the principles and key elements of Pilates. Once you have learned the fundamental principles, you will then progress to mat exercises and on to equipment exercises. Depending on your progress, more advanced exercises will be introduced later on.
A Positive Experience While You Rehabilitate
Pilates allows an individual to be in command of their own rehabilitation, instead of just coming in and have professionals manipulate the problem areas. You will be taught basic mat exercises that you can do at home, in between supervised Pilates sessions.
Pilates allows you to be more in tuned with your body as you identify the best movement sequence. All these create a positive movement experience which encourages better recovery. It also promotes a positive experience because it is a low-impact exercise. This means that it is safe for all age groups. Pilates helps recruit important muscles while preventing fatigue all over the body.
While it is true that Pilates offers a range of benefits in rehabilitation, it is important that you go into it under medical advice. If you plan to include this in your therapeutic regimen, you have to be sure that you will be in the hands of a certified Pilates instructor who is also trained to incorporate rehabilitation into the program.
There is a difference between just teaching Pilates as a form of exercise from being a form of therapy. The principles behind Pilates may be very helpful for rehabilitation but if they are not used with the proper techniques for therapy, it could worsen the injury. Alongside trusted interventions for your particular injury, Pilates can help decrease discomfort and even improve recovery.
Pilates is even found by most clinical trials in the past few years to be an effective rehabilitation tool particularly in reducing pain and disability. However, these studies also claim that further research may still be needed especially in determining its compatibility in rehabilitating specific conditions, which is why medical advice is needed.
Instead of pitting the benefits of Pilates against conventional therapy, look at it as a way to complement the advantages of the latter. Pilates can help retrain your body to assume correct movement, restore function, and reduce pain.
If you are interested in the rehabilitative benefit of Pilates, ask our instructors today. We hold private sessions especially for individuals who need close attention.