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Clinical Pilates and Physiotherapy
What is Pilates?
To understand clinical Pilates, we first need to understand what is Pilates.
is a very specific and unique body conditioning exercise method that is
created specifically to re-balance our body and to bring our body into
alignment by targeting deep postural muscles (such as the transverse
and muscles of the pelvis).
At its core, what Pilates does
is that focuses specificly on our core muscles and core muscles
strength, focusing to build straight and stamina right at our core
first, then with additional benefits of:
- reshaping our bodies and core
- adding "long and strong" muscles
- adding tone to our muscles
Pilates balances strength and flexibility components very well.
Today, Pilates is definitely a growing practice amongst the everyday people, celebrities and athletes, and is rapidly onboaded specificly for the management and treatment of orthopedic, sports and musculoskeletal rehab.
What is Clinical Pilates?
Clinical Pilates refers to the modification of Pilates by physiotherapists by combining the fundamentals of Pilates (as well as Pilates treatments) with physiotherapy research and education with particular emphasis of activating, strengthening and improving the flexibility of our core muscles.
This is done for post-injury physiotherapy (rehabilitation), preventative to prevent injuries (prehabilitation) as well as improve performance (strong core = stable/strong movements).
Clinical Pilates is a perfect complement to physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
CLINICAl pilates Background
Pilates was created and discovered in Germany in early 20th century by Joseph Pilates.
He was a very active sportsman, and participates in sports including:
...but interestingly, Joseph spent most of his young/childhood struggling against asthma, rickets and even rheumatic fever.
It was struggling against these health problems and wanting to improve that led him to study different health pursuits and disciplines such as yoga, which he then used collective to create a combined movement and exercise called Pilates.
During the war, he practiced his exercise method, even became actively involved with physical therapy and rehabilitation of war-related injuries patients.
Once the war ended, the moved to New York and opened the first Pilates studio then, treating athletes, actors, dancers and more.
Clinical Pilates vs Pilates
Pilates is used primarily to treat people with musculoskeletal, orthopedic or
sports injuries (basically, injuries to the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments etc),
and is done by an experienced physiotherapist who is certified with a Clinical Pilates
gets injured from a physical trauma or from repetitive strain, what usually happens is that they
- joint stiffness
- muscle tightness
- postural problems or
- abnormal movement patterns
Those are the items that needs to be treated FIRST before embarking on Pilates (this is the reason why physiotherapy and pilates
complements each other so well).
You see, sometimes, some Pilates movement/exercises may cause or even aggravate one's pains.
A specifc example is a person who presents low back strain and pain. Low back pain is usually caused by
over-extension in the lower back.
Such patients may have more pronounced
lordosis and hence shouldn't be prescribed with extension pilates exercises.
This is something is
will not be picked up if a person attends a standard routine Pilates class,
which combines both flexion and extension exercises.
not only vital to select the right type of Pilates exercise that right
for your injury and health, it is also important to ensure that the
correct and appropriate level of Pilates is prescribed.
Standardised and routine pilates is more often than not, likely too difficult for a person with
an existing back pain – back pain will cause weakness and pains that will likely cause the client to compensate and use
their stronger unaffected muscles as opposed to their core muscles, effectively
distilling the benefits of Pilates (and even cause MORE pain).
On top of
that, the patient may experience muscle spasm in the more-used
unaffected muscles due to the increased exertion.
What our senior physiotherapists
will do is that they will first test your muscle strength and range of movement, understand your pain history, injuries, goals, and more BEFORE starting you on any Pilates to ensure
that the exercises are appropriate and just-right the challenge that is helpful
benefit of Clinical Pilates over the standard routine Pilates is is
more customized to individuals and their specific conditions, and at the same time, it is also more
An example if the client is unable to participate in their favorite
sport or activity such as playing soccer, dancing or even boxing, the
physiotherapist can then modify Clinical Pilates exercises prescribed to strengthen
the core muscles as they execute the movement in the particular sports/activities that aggravates the problem.
means that the core muscles of a football player is challenged as he kicks and
dribbles the football, and not just in static postures; the dancer as he/she dances/changes positions and postures; and the boxer as he/she moves in/out whilst taking or giving hits.
Peripheral injuries refer to non-spine/non-back/non-neck injuries, and they include, shoulders, upper limbs, hips, knees, ankle, feet etc.
When our senior physiotherapists manage and treats peripheral joints and/or muscular injuries such as wrist or
ankle instabilities, we will almost always focus on the injured joint/body part.
This makes sound and direct clinical sense and is a good place to start for
physiotherapy and gradually progressing to works/exercises designed to improve strength and stability.
That being said,
clinical research is beginning to show that physiotherapy and rehab also needs to take a macro/large-view of the injury; that improving a client’s dynamic control of their
movements will likely lead to less injuries in the mid to long term.
There is a
growing movement to rehabilitate athletes and clients coupling complementary
pilates-based exercises to teach them how to move more efficiently.
commonly used to also treat injuries to the
Spinal Injuries and Back / Neck Pain
An effective way to manage and treat back pain is to combine:
shows that back pain often causes a decrease mobility and function of
the multifidus which is a deep deep spine muscle, at the location/level
of the injury.
What happens is then these muscles become
inconsistent/unable to "activate" themselves as and when it's required
to be used.
That's why if the pain and problem was unresolved OR
resolved with superficial management (ie didn't treat the main problem),
the multifidus muscle will continue to shrink due to prolonged non-use,
and this just leads to more recurring back pain as our back tries to
compensate for the weakened muscle by using other muscles...
hence other muscles get overworked and over-tight and you get secondary
spasms, and yet the multifidus problem just worsens.
multifidus muscle will need very specific and very trained senior
physiotherapists with background in clinical pilates to trigger,
activate and strengthen it again, and as we work on it, it will increase
the strength, stamina and stability of our back.
Back injuries unfortunately not only cause pain, weaknesses, fear of movement...but worse, they tend to recur again and again...especially when we do things with bad postures, sudden movements or just out of the blue.
Clinical pilates strengthens the deep back and neck muscles to prevent back pain from recurring BUT we must treat the back and neck problems FIRST.
As our senior physiotherapists work on the back and neck tissues, apply clinical pilates treatment techniques and educate patients on spine neutrality, patient will gradually feel, know and use their stronger backs, as they become increasingly aware of what good posture is.
For mid to long term, with ongoing clinical pilates for rehab and fitness, our patients will also develop a combination of
- muscle strength
- muscle stamina
- muscle and joint stability
If the patient is new to Pilates, no issues because we ONLY do 1-to-1, never a generalized pilates class that doesn't cater to the individual patient or client.
The benefits of this includes
- if you have a pain, we can then customize the session just for you (harder with more people)
- then you can also learn the correct techniques of breathing, neck position, rib position, pelvis position as well as work on stabilization
Pilates can get challenging and it is so easy to make mistakes, that's why it's important for close management and supervision to ensure the correct movement patterns is learnt (and to prevent learning the wrong ones or cause injuries from doing the wrong moves).
Pilates teacher using verbal and tactile feedback to ensure proper form
Benefits of Clinical Pilates
- Increases strength, fitness, body awareness, and muscle tone
- Improves "long yet strong" flexibility
- A toner and flatter stomach
- Increases your respiratory, lymphatic and
circulation systems efficiency and effectiveness
- Improves your posture and awareness of your body and joint posture
- Decrease incidences and recurrences of back and neck pain
- Improves joint mobility and strength
- Helps you de-stress and feel confident/good of your own strength and movement
Which clients would benefit from Clinical Pilates?
- Both males and females
- Pregnant: pre-delivery and post-delivery natal is
safe (check our women's health physiotherapy article here)
- Athletes, sports and active people
- Dancers and performing artists
- Elderly patients
- Patients who has had amputation(s)
- Patients who had suffered from
- Patients who are age 12 years and above
is very specific to target:
- Orthopedic injuries
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Sports injuries
senior physiotherapists will
- perform an indepth assessment which may include pain and injury history, perform clinical and movement tests
- understand and identify your posture, understand your injury
causes, as well as find out your specific motivation and reasons what you're aiming to
return to (e.g. wanting to return to a specific sport or activity) and then we will plan and implement customized-to-you specific exercises that are more functional and beneficial to you
That also means
that clinical pilates treats will not manage and treat the cause of the injury but we will also
be able prescribe very customized-to-you exercises to strengthen the injured/weakened structures, on top of a “general”
perspective of management for injury prevention in the long run.
If you know
someone who has been suffering from back pain, neck pain or
peripheral injuries such as pain in their shoulder, knees and ankles, and these injuries seem to be recurring - then they may
just need clinical pilates with our senior physiotherapists.
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book an appointment today
(or check your pains / injuries)
Phoenix Rehab Physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
See all the conditions our principal physiotherapists treat.
HAND THERAPY & CUSTOMIZED SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to
- manage and decrease hand pains
- improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
- increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
REFORMER CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
- Cupping TCM
- Auricular Therapy TCM
- Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and shorten downtime / recovery period required.
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.
Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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We prefer not to rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.
book an appointment today
(or check your pains / injuries)
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