spine

Are your discs affecting your Pilates practice?

Current studies show that at least half of herniated discs spontaneously de-herniate! In fact 66% of people in this study experienced disc reabsorption without surgery. This is a huge number and shows that in general, we get a little precious about our spinal discs. As a Pilates instructor, I meet people who have some sort of disc injury (past or present) nearly every day.

Our intervertebral discs are our spines shock absorbing system, cushioning between vertibra. The outer layer of the disc is annulus fibrosis which is a firm but flexible coating over the nucleus pulposis which is a softer jelly like substance. When the disc is herniated, the nucleus pulposis pushes through the annulus fibrosis causing irritation to nerves and potentially pain.

In my experience, most clients who have experienced disc injury tend to overprotect their spines, causing rigidity and tight muscles. Working with clients to move well, safely is so achievable! Pilates is a wonderful method of movement to create balance, strength and flexibility throughout the body as a whole, setting good postural habits for life. If you are experiencing any discomfort due to disc injury, contact a qualified clinical Pilates instructor near you or contact us for a clinical Pilates appointment – info@pilatesandco.com.au.

Belinda Survilla.

source: https://www.painscience.com/biblio/at-least-half-of-herniated-discs-spontaneously-de-herniate.html

Pilates and Posture 101

Do You Know Your Postural Type?

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The spine…it’s a beautiful structure, designed to support our bodies throughout life is segmented in to 3 sections –

  1. Cervical with 7 smaller, finer vertibra with a slight concave shape
  2. Thoracic with 12 vertibra with a slight convex shape
  3. Lumbar with 5 larger, more robust vertebra with a slight concave shape

Attached to the lumbar spine is the pelvic girdle, consisting of the sacrum, coccyx (tailbone) and the pelvic bones. Your posture type is based on a group of muscle imbalances which change the shape of the spine and pelvis.

A normal or ‘ideal’ posture is desirable however our curves are all a little different based on our movement patterns, lifestyle, hereditary factors, stress levels and personality. Pilates is amazing at addressing postural imbalance in the body which in turn can release pain and improve quality of life. Knowing what postural type you are can help you to work more effectively in your Pilates sessions to help improve your posture.

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SWAY BACK POSTURE

Sway Backs generally need to strengthen

  • lower external obliques
  • hip flexors
  • mid and low trapezius

Sway Backs generally need to lengthen

  • pectorals (especially pec minor)
  • glutes
  • upper abdominals
  • hamstrings
  • SCM (sternocleidomastoid)

Pilates exercises perfect for you are – 

Roll Over, Breast Stroke Prep, Swan dive, salute, open elbows, toe taps, front splits

FLAT BACK POSTURE

Flat Backs generally need to strengthen

  • upper abdominals
  • hip flexors
  • lower back extensors

Flat Backs generally need to lengthen

  • lower abdominals
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • upper back

Pilates exercises perfect for you are –

front splits, ab prep, short spine, cat stretch, supine psoas pull

MILITARY POSTURE

Militaries generally need to strengthen

  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • upper and lower abs

Militaries generally need to lengthen

  • upper back
  • lower back
  • hip flexors

Pilates exercises perfect for you are –

front splits, side leg work, supine psoas pull, ab prep

KYPHOSIS LORDOSIS POSTURE

K/L’s generally need to strengthen

  • lower abs
  • upper back
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • mid and low trapezius

K/L’s generally need to lengthen

  • lower back
  • upper back
  • hip flexors

Pilates exercises perfect for you are –

side leg work, toe taps, back rowing, front splits

It can be tricky to assess yourself! If you’d like to get a little more in depth on your posture type and how to improve it, book a one on one appointment for an individual assessment.

 

Bender, R. (2013) Breathe Pilates Mat and Reformer Applications Vol 1 & 2. Melbourne, VIC.

Kendall, H. (2005) Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain. Philadelphia, PA.