22nd March, 2013

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How can Pilates help you?

Clinical Pilates is an incredibly popular form of stability and control-focused exercise. The origins of Pilates date back to World War I where one Joseph Pilates, who the exercise form is named after, was placed in an enemy camp on the Isle of Man. Here, his background in gymnastics and study of anatomy and exercise gave him the ability to heal others through exercise. Joseph’s reputation as a healer quickly grew and in the early 1920’s he moved to New York where he was sought out by many dance studios to help with injuries in a population of highly flexible performers. It was through the discovery of injuries related to reduced control in highly flexible performers that he developed exercises for stability rather than gross strength.

In the last 20 years, physiotherapy has embraced Pilates and used it as a way to treat pain and movement dysfunction. It has taken the fundamental concepts of muscular control rather than gross strength and applied this to a current injury understanding – hence Clinical Pilates. This has been shown to assist in alleviating back and neck pain and dysfunction by strengthening key muscles that provide support to the spine.

The term ‘core’ muscle activation is banded around when talking about lower back pain and is often misleading. There are many muscles that surround the spine but only a few positioned to properly support each single segment of the spine. This means general ‘core’ exercises that you may think are helping support your spine like the plank and bridge may in fact be teaching you bad habits. The activation, timing and endurance of specific musculature is imperative for maximal segmental spinal stability and this is the root of Clinical Pilates.

Clinical Pilates provides exercise intricacy that ensures fundamental stability muscles are correctly activated and is tailored to your level of function and your particular sport or hobby.

Clinical Pilates can be beneficial not only following back injury but also help strengthen shoulders, hips, knees and ankles following injury or surgery. The spring-loaded equipment enables individual body parts to be strengthened whilst also providing general muscle conditioning. This can then provide a platform to build into sport or more demanding types of exercise.

In the early stages following injury, Clinical Pilates can assist to alleviate pain and help regain fundamental muscles control. It will also provide a stable platform to progress exercises into more difficult and complex patterns of movement. The guidance you will get with Clinical Pilates will also improve your posture and body awareness to reduce the incidence of pain inducing movements. As your strength, endurance and control develop, we will give you exercises that mimic your chosen sport or activity helping your body to function optimally.

The dynamic control elements in Clinical Pilates as well as its flexibility to adapt to individual levels of function makes it a fantastic mode of exercise for both injury prevention and rehabilitation. We encourage you to explore the challenge and benefits that Clinical Pilates can provide.