Latest "Back Pain" Posts
Top 5 Pilates Training Tips to Stay Healthy and Help Avoid Knee, Hip and Back Pain While Having Fun Working in the Yard and Gardening
It’s that time of year again; Mother Nature is calling us outside to play in the garden. It’s time to pull weeds, plant and clean things up so that we can enjoy a lovely yard and watch things bloom and grow.
I know that even with my small city lot, it usually takes me two or three full weekends of solid effort for Spring clean-up, just to get the weeds pulled, shrubs trimmed and everything ready for the planting and growing season. I wish I had more space for fruit trees and a big vegetable garden, but right now my yard is filled with perennial flowers and herbs – things that don’t require too much time and effort for me to maintain and enjoy.
But even so, after a day in the yard, my feet, hands, legs and back always seem to remind me that I’ve done something out of the ordinary and found and used a few muscle groups that don’t get worked in my normal everyday Pilates and weight room workouts. So how do we stay healthy and avoid knee, hip and back pain while having fun working in the yard and gardening?
Continue Reading ‘Pilates Exercise Tips for Gardening without Back Pain
Articulating the Ankle:
Improving Mobility To Point & Flex Your Feet
Are you searching for the right exercises for healthy feet? Are your calf muscles tight? Do you ever have heel pain? Do you hop around with toe cramps? or arch cramps? Are you plagued with Plantar Fasciitis problems? Are you still searching for foot care solutions that work well for your tired, achy feet?
Healthy Feet and ankles are not just for ballerinas!
Whether you walk, run, dance or just sit behind a desk all day, how much we use, or misuse, our feet can contribute to challenging foot problems and more. Of course if you’re dealing with an acute injury consultation with your doctor or podiatrist should be your first stop. But if you’re trying to find the strategies and solutions that can help get you back to health and keep you poor feet out of trouble, it may be time to pay a little more attention to your ankles, arches and toes on a very regular basis.
Continue Reading ‘Exercises for Healthy Feet: Stretch Your Calves & Strengthen Your Arches
Use Spine Twisting To Improve Your Walking & Running Technique
There are lots of things you can pay attention to when you walk and run that can improve your pace, stride, form and function. A great arm swing is one of the key factors in not only freeing the arms and shoulders, but also strengthening your core support and reducing stress and tension in through your whole spine.
If your back hurts after a long walk or run or you notice more tension in your neck and shoulders before, during or after getting your miles in, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on the important “spiral effect” of the spine while you’re swinging your arms.
It’s interesting to observe bodies in motion. And sometimes, seeing what to look for, can make it easier to feel in your own body exactly what your movement habits are.
Continue Reading ‘The Spiral Effect of the Spine to Swing your Arms for a Healthy Stride
Discover Ways to Creatively “Work Out” Around Your Limitations to Stay On Track for a Healthy, Active Life
It’s much nicer when we are able to stay healthy, active and fit. But sometimes whether it’s a medical health issue, surgery, accident or over-training injury we find ourselves hurt… Out of commission, unable to do even simple daily chores much less a vigorous heart-pounding workout. The pain and frustration of NOT being able to do what we want can send your training program into a tailspin. When we are young it seems easy to just grin and bear it, pretend like the pain isn’t really there and keep on keeping on. But with age comes wisdom (well, sometimes…) and, if we are smart, we figure out better strategies to rest, recover and get back in action.
Continue Reading ‘Injury and Exercise: How to Bounce Back and Be Stronger than Ever
Are your current breathing habits helping you stay healthy, or potentially causing back pain, shoulder pain or neck pain? Is your current breath pattern helping improve your posture with every breath you take?
Breathing is something we take for granted. It happens automatically to keep us alive. Inhaling is the first thing we do when we’re born, and exhaling is the last things we do when we die. Every minute, of every day for our entire life, our heart beats to pump life nourishing blood through our system, and our lungs and diaphragm work to provide oxygen to our blood & cells.
It’s nice to know that we don’t have to think really hard to keep breathing and stay alive, but better breathing habits definitely have added benefits to improve our health.
Today’s foot fitness tip is especially important for runners, walkers. It also can benefit people with lower back issues. I’m going to share my “secrets for success” in improving leg, ankle, and foot flexibility with an easy and effective calf stretch. Whether you’re fit with no injuries, or are experiencing back pain, or just have tight lower back muscles from lifestyle habits or vigorous workouts taking the time to stretch your ankles and calf muscles can help keep both your legs and lower back in great shape! Check out this video clip to discover how to get the most from your calf stretch.
Continue Reading ‘Foot Fitness Exercise: Flexing the Ankle for an Effective Calf Stretch
There is controversy over the use of braces to correct excessive curvature of the spine (scoliosis) in teenagers because research has failed to prove that they work. “Bracing is regarded as effective by some and as useless by others.” According to Stefano Negrini, MD the scientific director of the ISICO (Italian Scientific Spine Institute) in Milan.
The cause of most adolescent scoliosis is unknown. It affects 3-5 out of every 1,000 children, and is more common and more severe in girls.
Scoliosis can be:
- Idiopathic – Of unknown cause.
- Functional – From poor posture and body alignment habits.
- Structural – Caused by disease, or birth defects.
So why is bracing used if the experts aren’t positive it’s actually working?
Based on the severity some sort of treatment is required, because if left untreated damage to the spine, heart, and lungs can occur as an adult. Bracing is less evasive and still allows the option to strengthen the body through exercise and movement to balance and support the spine. The alternative option of surgery and spine fusion is a permanent and last-resort option to protect the health of internal organs and quality of life.
What else can you do to treat Scoliosis?
While studies so far show that none of these can prevent the progression of scoliosis, they may offer some relief of symptoms.
- Manipulation by a Chiropractor, Kinesiologist, or Osteopathic Doctor
- Electrical Stimulation
- Diet & Nutrition
The benefits of Pilates for clients with scoliosis
Over the years, I’ve had many clients with varying degrees of curvature of the spine participate in Pilates programs. And while there might not be documented research to the benefits of Pilates exercises for scoliosis…From my experience, I have seen amazing gains in strength, and mobility. The curves don’t go back to normal, but it is possible to learn how to strengthen the body and retrain some of the weaker muscles to better support the spine and achieve more optimal muscle balance. Plus increased body awareness of good and bad posture habits is vital to learn how to avoid falling into the poor alignment that the scoliosis curve would prefer. Spend more time using your own muscles to strive for good posture through Pilates and other fitness exercises, and you’re retraining the body for better health.
Looking at the Difference in Support Options
A brace is an external support for the spine. If the brace is doing the work, our muscles don’t have to work as hard (and in my opinion….may become weaker over time.) But if you don’t have the muscle awareness or strength to properly support the body all day long…bracing may be required to assist.
Spine fusion surgery creates permanent internal support for the spine. (While this might solve one problem, it has the potential to create others) And generally speaking fusion surgery is a last resort option.
Exercise strengthens the core and back muscles so your body can provide it’s own muscular support for the spine. Pilates exercises with the focus on core stabilization, and functional mobility of the spine in all directions – flexion, extension, side bending, and rotation, and should be considered as a primary care option to assist in improving health and supporting the spine.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases continues to research and learn more about treatments for scoliosis to determine the best modalities for improved health. I hope in time, that more documented research into the benefits of Pilates for scoliosis will be conducted.
Back Pain is something that affects way too many people these days! According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits in the US, and the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years old.
In fact according to the AMA, 70 to 85 percent of all people have back pain at some time in their life. Yikes, what a staggeringly high number of people, and I suspect that unfortunately, these numbers are probably going up rather than down!
As one of those in this majority, who suffers with congenital back issues, I have spent most of my life actively doing things to help keep my body strong, fit, and flexible. I have discovered over the years, that there are some things my body loves to do, and other things that are guaranteed to cause me grief. And what I have learned is that the more I exercise and stay active, generally, the better my back feels, and the happier and healthier my whole-body is.
Let’s face it, when your body hurts, it’s under stress. While some muscle tension is good and appropriate to maintain posture and help us move around, overly tight muscles create unnecessary stress and too much tension which unfortunately can lead to back pain. When any of the bones in our body are held too tightly together by muscle contraction, or misalignment, freedom of movement will be restricted and over time, with the inability to enjoy free and easy movement, poor posture and pain can be the result. It’s no secret that stress causes tension…
Discover how to reduce neck pain, and back pain with Pilates breathing techniques.
Continue Reading ‘Reduce Back Pain: The Benefits of Breathing as Taught in Pilates
Considering the large number of clients I’ve seen with chronic back and neck pain, and the great results they’ve had from participating in Pilates programs with me, I strongly agree with the findings from this recent research article I read in SOAP notes from PT Products.
Continue Reading ‘Pilates Exercise Programs for Chronic Back and Neck Pain