Pilates for physical therapy

jennApril 2, 2002

I'm going to start physical therapy very soon to strengthen and rehabilitate my back. I have not been to a physical therapist before, and I was told over the phone that (at this facility) they use Pilates machines and exercises to do small, precise movements which have a very big impact.

This is the first I've ever heard of Pilates so I did some research. I just left a chiropractor who just wanted to crack my back and keep me coming back for extensive treatments for way too long, so I am feeling burned and leary of anything else I've never heard of.

What can you tell me about Pilates exercises as a form of physical therapy for the back? I have scoliosis, an old low-back severe sprain, and a painful, stiff neck. I want to strengthen and improve flexibility in my back to relieve pain and, hopefully, reverse or stop some of the degenerative process in my back. I think what the PT offers is exactly what I want and need but I thought that same thing at first about the chiropractor too (and I got NO relief from him except my wallet is much lighter now!).

I will appreciate any comments or personal experiences you have to share.


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I just started taking Pilates classes (no machines, all mat work).

The exercises concentrate on strengethening what they call the "core" - your abs and spine. Basically, if your abs and back muscles are healthy and strong, and if you work on general flexibility and stretching, your back will be in better shape, for the long term. I can already tell a difference.

You leave at the end of class, totally wiped out and you think you will wake up sore the next day. But oddly enough, I think due to the stretching combined with the strengthening, there is no soreness. If your problem is lower back-spine-related, I highly recommend it.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2002 at 10:05AM
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Thanks Karen,

I'm happy to report that after only 2 sessions (beginner, stretching/strengthening exercises on a mat), I already notice a HUGE difference. Thirteen visits to a chiropractor for 2 minutes of back "adjustments" did nothing... but just two 1-hour appointments of physical therapy including deep neck massage (I have literal knots in my neck), exercises and stretching, I can already see a difference. It's amazing. This morning when I awoke, my neck was more flexible and less painful than it has been in months.

Plus, the physical therapist is great -- she gets right to the core of the problem: many, many years of bottled up emotions and constant, every-day tension!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2002 at 8:15PM
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Jenn,glad to see physio is working out also. This way you can learn how to take care of your own body instead of repeat payments for ajustments.

Even if I don't have a lot of time to exercise the mat work of simple stretches makes me feel better mentally and physically..


    Bookmark   April 7, 2002 at 2:52PM
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Elizabeth, you are so right. The chiropractor kept saying "we'll talk about that later" when I asked about exercises (he has a notebook in the waiting room filled with exercise pamphlets, so I know he has them). His "adjustments" gave me NO relief whatsoever. And when he cracked my back he'd say "this is going to help your lungs work better" or "this will make your stomach work better"... and I kept thinking "how about making my back work better???".

Yesterday I did some intensive gardening all day. Last night I was very sore, but I needed to do the exercises as prescribed by my PT. I have 5 exercises (so far, after only 2 visits) and I was leary because I was so sore, but I did them all as recommended. When I was done, my body felt MUCH better, much less pain.

Part of my treatment involves nightly writing of my feelings, then shredding the paper. It's about dealing with the issues that are causing my chronic back pain. The chiropractor made a big deal out of the slight degeneration in my spine and the curvature and neck stiffness.... the orthopedic doctor and the PT don't think it's such a big deal... they are teaching me how to relieve it on my own and to get to the ISSUES that are causing it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2002 at 3:34PM
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Pros and cons of the Chiropractor.
I watched W5 TV show which was airing about the people in Canada that are suing the doctors for not being warned about the dangers of a stroke following neck manipulation.
They showed two cases of people who are disabled ..they feel because of their stroke shortly after the neck manipulation.
One of the cases is on going in court at this time.
The report mentioned that younger people are at greater risk.
There was a 28 year old girl who also suffered a stroke shortly after.The problem seems to be in the lower arteries at the base of the neck tear and create blood clots.

One women who was in her twenties said she enjoys yoga and has been going to chriopractors for years with no ill effects.
At the ending of the report they said how they are encouraging the chiropractors to skip the neck manipulations.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2002 at 10:11PM
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Month two for me of Pilates. I still highly recommend it. I have had severe tendonitis in my abdomen since I had my DD. She's 4 now, and I was still unable to do any kind of ab work without cramping up badly.

The Pilates is so focused on isolation strengthening and on flexibility that the combination has done the trick! I am now almost caught up with the rest of the class on ab work. AND I did the Seal move for the first time this week, and actually got back up! I was so excited because that move utilizes the ab muscles and I was able to do it!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2002 at 7:54AM
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My girlfriend has the tape .
I will have to check it out and see what it's all about .
I do enjoy the yoga .

    Bookmark   May 2, 2002 at 9:57AM
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Some more information on pilates

Here is a link that might be useful: stretch it

    Bookmark   May 3, 2002 at 5:48PM
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I need some advice on which video to purchase.
I am not that flexable but do some yoga.
Was thinking about ordering one of the above for a beginner what do you think of the 3 dimensional toning?
Or would the core essentials be a better bet?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2002 at 9:19PM
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Which tapes did you purchase? Did anyone get Winsors?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2002 at 5:07PM
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My DD has the Windsor Pilates and loves it when she has the time to put towards it. I am hoping when she comes to visit this coming weekend she will bring it with her so I can check it out. I'll post my opinion of it next week.....Linda/NJ

    Bookmark   October 16, 2002 at 9:40AM
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Our instructor has informed us that we are ready to advance to intermediate. She kicked our butts Monday! I am going to HAVE to at least do the 100s every single day if I have any prayer of keeping up! Me and my weak abs!

Linda, it was amazing. We got thru the basic 12 in around 30 minutes! Bam bam bam, move from one move to the next. And let me tell you, we were sweating!

I have advanced some, to be able to do the Seal and the open rocker with only a little trouble. But my abs need the stretch in between so it's tough to not stop for a sec in between each move! Well, I'll be looking like Daisy Fuentes before you can say Winsor! LOL

    Bookmark   October 16, 2002 at 9:43AM
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