Pilates for Injuries and Rehabilitation
While the human body has an amazing ability for dynamic movement, it is also highly susceptible to injury and dysfunction. Injury most often occurs due to accidental trauma, overuse of the body in sports, or poor work habits. Whether you are suffering from lower back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, or knee pain, injuries can disrupt your life and lead to chronic conditions if they are not properly cared for.
The physical stress placed upon the body through extended work hours in unnatural postures and a sedentary lifestyle is creating all new forms of repetitive stress injuries. Increased psychological stress is causing additional tension in the mind manifesting as contracted muscles in the body. Prevention and rehabilitation of these unbalanced states are important for overall health and wellness.
Why is Rehabilitation Important?
Rehabilitation is an important aspect of maintaining your body. When chronic injuries are ignored, they can lead to more serious problems over time. Your body is designed to maintain a proper alignment and structure to facilitate its optimal functioning. Eventually, structural problems develop altering movement and posture and leading to muscular imbalances. The resulting over compensation by stronger muscles further weakens these injured muscles, pushing the body further out of balance.
When the body functions below an optimum level, it is more susceptible to injury in everyday activities. As you carry the groceries, pick up your child, or even walking across town running errands, imbalances in your strength and flexibility can lead to injuries and chronic pain. Weak core muscles and muscle imbalances are often the primary causes of these common injuries.
Pilates for rehabilitation of the body can be an important component in recovering from injury and maintaining your health. It can speed recovery from surgery, strokes and other neurological problems, and even help you avoid serious injury from accidents.
How Can Pilates Help Rehabilitate Injuries
Pilates is a form of exercise that has its origins in rehabilitation. During the 1920s, Joseph Pilates began developing the Pilates Methods in order to help rehabilitate individuals in a British Internment Hospital. Unique exercise machines were constructed out of springs and bed frames to assist individuals in strengthening their bodies in a controlled manner and to speed their recovery. When Joseph Pilates moved the US, his teaching became increasingly focused on the training of athletes and the prevention and management of physical injuries.
Avoiding Injuries with Pilates
The methods taught in Pilates focus on developing a stronger mind-body connection as the body is moved through specific controlled exercises. The development of greater neuromuscular control allows you to move through a proper range of motion, protecting your muscles and joints from overstrain, which is especially important for athletes. If you are new to working out, these controlled Pilates exercises can help enhance your health with low impact movements, correcting muscle imbalances and increasing flexibility in your spine. Pilates training can be preventative medicine for the body, helping you lose weight, decrease stress, and enhance your mind-body awareness.
Rapid Recovery with Pilates
If you are recovering from an injury, Pilates exercises can help stabilize your body through core muscle development. Many injuries are directly related to the spinal posture. Pilates can help balance the muscles of the back, realigning the spinal structure and decompressing the intervertebral discs. Pilates machines can guide the body through the exercises in a supported manner allowing muscle strength to build over time, preventing a reoccurrence of injury.
After receiving proper guidance by a Pilates instructor on how to support the healing of your injury, you may be able to perform many of the exercises at home. In cases of more serious injuries, a properly trained Pilates instructor can guide you through exercises and the use of Pilates machines to rebuild your body. Pilates can be an important tool in retraining the body, helping you to learn how to undo the stress of the injury and balance your body for life.
Tips for Treating Injuries with Pilates
The following Pilates tips are useful to accelerate your rehabilitation and avoid further injury.
One-on-One Training is Best
When you are injured, getting individualized instruction in the Pilates Method will provide a safer environment for supporting your healing. Proper guidance on the Pilates movements will support your effort, and also provide awareness of any movements to avoid that may further aggravate your condition. This will allow the intensity of your Pilates training to be increased gradually over time until full health is restored to your body.
Find a Certified Pilates Instructor
Often a Physical Therapist or Osteopathic Physician’s office will employ a qualified Pilates instructor to provide these services. It is important to have a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose your condition, and follow the prescribed Pilates exercises from your instructor.
Make a Change
It is important to incorporate some lifestyle changes to support your healing and help avoid future injuries. As your body awareness increases from Pilates training, you will learn to focus more on your muscular movements, maintain a neutral spine, avoid over training an opposing muscle, and over-stressing your joints. Use these abilities in your everyday activities to avoid creating new muscular imbalances.
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