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Join in with Pilates at Optimal Spine

Pilates is a dynamic conditioning exercise, which specifically targets our deep, core postural muscles.

By improving and enhancing our central stability (our ’core’), we can positively improve our posture, balance, flexibility and tone. Ultimately, when taught and performed correctly, Pilates can significantly improve our overall function and sporting performance.

Optimal Spine’s approach prioritises the individual needs of the client and seeks to provide a top quality service to enable every client to achieve and maintain long lasting benefits.

The History

Pilates was initially developed by Joseph Pilates, a German born in 1880. As a child he suffered many physical ailments and was determined to become physically healthy, so he studied and practised many different forms of exercise. Eventually the work of Joseph Pilates became synonymous with health, fitness and injury prevention.

Traditional and Modified Pilates

Traditional Pilates was originally used for elite athletes and ballet dancers, therefore it is highly physical, very challenging and uses a lot of exercises that produce large forces and strains on the spine. Traditional Pilates also uses a lot of ‘shoulder / head’ stands which is not generally appropriate for a large proportion of people. Commonly it is this form of Pilates that is taught in gyms and health clubs and without the right instruction and high level of fitness from the client, it is not always safe or appropriate for the general public to perform Traditional Pilates.

Modified Pilates

In response to this, ‘Modified Pilates’ has been developed to make the benefits of Pilates more accessible to the general public. ‘Modified Pilates’ has therefore been embraced by the Physiotherapy and increasingly the chiropractic profession across the world, as they recognise the huge benefits that can be gained from this form of exercise. Often ‘Modified Pilates’ will be used to supplement and enhance the rehabilitation of many physiotherapy and chiropractic patients, hence many Chartered Physiotherapists and Doctors of Chiropractic may recommend this form of Pilates especially.

‘Modified Pilates’ is generally safe for most people. In fact ‘Modified Pilates’ can be adapted to benefit most groups including people with back pain, people who have previously had surgery, the older and younger populations and then the highly physical population, who may require sports specific conditioning or higher-end challenging exercises.

‘Modified Pilates’, as taught by our experienced Pilates Instructors, suits all ages and fitness levels and is particularly beneficially for:

  • Back pain
  • Pre- and post-natal care
  • Corporate / staff wellbeing and fitness
  • Sports injuries
  • Pelvic floor rehab
  • General fitness and conditioning
  • Injury prevention
  • Acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Post operative spinal and joint surgery
  • Poor posture
  • Stress related illness

How does it work?

‘Modified Pilates’ focuses on retraining and improving ‘core’ control muscles that play a vital part in stabilising the spine. Specific exercises work to actively recruit deep abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles, which have been shown to work together as a cylindrical unit, providing the essential stability for the spine and pelvis (Hodges et al, 1999; Hides et al., 1994).

Modified Pilates for Low Back Pain

After an episode of low back pain for example, the activation of these ‘core’ muscles becomes delayed or totally absent. This leaves the spine especially vulnerable and unprotected and can account for why low back pain often reoccurs.

Importantly, specific exercises can re-activate these deep core muscles (Hides et al, 2001), thereby reducing the incidence of recurrent pain. Such exercise programmes have become part of the common treatment for low back pain; they are also being increasingly used by athletes to improve performance and by the general public for health and the prevention of injury (Barr, 2008).

Modified Pilates for Pregnancy

In relation to pregnancy also, there is more and more evidence to support the need for such specific exercises (Stuge, 2004). Pelvic floor muscle training taught to women in their first pregnancy, can be an effective preventive strategy for urinary incontinence (N.I.C.E Guidelines, 2006). Further more, the use of such individualised stabilising exercises is considered to be an effective part of the management of pelvic girdle pain after pregnancy (N.I.C.E Guidelines, 2006). In such cases, our skills and expertise as a holistic clinic offering integrated physiotherapy, chiropractic, and massage care enable the practitioners at Optimal Spines to deliver these specific exercises and techniques in a safe, controlled and supervised manner.

Modified Pilates for Office Workers

Office workers with desk-bound jobs are contributing to increasing numbers of people attending clinics with back and neck problems. People sit slumped at desks with poor posture. They stop using their abdominal muscles and overload their spine.

Whether you have office-related aches and pains or want to help prevent its high incidence affecting you, Pilates will help enable you to improve your posture and strengthen your deep ‘core’ and back muscles.

If Pilates is something that you would like to try, call your local Optimal Spine for more information.

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