Due to working from home, many of us are spending a lot more time sitting and hunched over these days. Add to that the weekend warrior mentality when it comes to working out and relieving stress, and we’re wreaking havoc on our spines. In some cases, people are even causing injury to the point of needing surgery. Spinal surgery is usually a last resort when it comes to dealing with back and neck pain, but if it ends up being your only option, you can take heart in knowing that introducing Pilates into your pre- and postsurgical plan can help speed up recovery. Doing it correctly is key, though, so be sure to enlist the expertise of highly-trained and professional instructors.
You may think of Pilates as an “exercise” to get a more toned body, but it’s far more comprehensive than that. There are six main principles involved with every movement in this system.
The first is concentration. Pilates requires you to focus on your entire body, to ensure smooth movements. The second principle is control. Every movement should be done with intention and control. The third is centering, which means being aware that all movement originates from your center. The fourth principle is flow. Pilates focuses on interconnected exercises that emphasize economy of movement and thoughtful transitions. The fifth is precision. The aim here is for precise movement that will eventually become second nature and carry over into your everyday life. The sixth principle is breathing. Each movement is executed with specific attention to breath while engaging the muscles in your center.
If your injury or condition hasn’t completely immobilized you, you’ll want to work with a skilled professional before surgery to introduce yourself to the Pilates practice. Mat and reformer exercises are often effective for those suffering from uncomfortable spinal symptoms and conditions. With the guidance of an instructor, these exercises will help you become aware of the movement habits you’ve formed over time that may have had a negative impact on your spine. The exercises will focus on increasing the flexibility of the spine and hips, while strengthening the trunk and hip muscles. Any exercises that help to build strength in the muscles that support the spine will make recovery post-surgery that much easier. Plus, you’ll be familiar with the movements when it comes time for rehab.
“Doing Pilates post spinal surgery will help to strengthen the core muscles of both the spine and the trunk,” says Ron Jegadeesh, Pilates instructor, physical therapist, and owner of Pilates Fitness & Physical Therapy Center in Southfield. “All of this leads to spinal stabilization.” You’ll learn how to use stabilization exercises to increase strength and mobility while grasping the importance of a “neutral spine” — the safest position for someone who’s recovering from back surgery.
In all likelihood, your rehab program will begin with a physical therapist. Working with a physical therapist with a Pilates background is advantageous. When a patient comes to the Southfield facility for physical therapy, sessions are covered by insurance — even if the therapy includes Pilates or Gyrotonic®.
Depending on the type of surgery you had, you’ll typically move into a modified Pilates program somewhere between eight and 12 weeks post-surgery. Over time, Pilates can restore motor control of deep and local muscles in the abdomen and the spine. At the same time, it will strengthen muscles in the pelvic floor, buttocks, and hips. All of this contributes to your ultimate long-term goal: a healthier spine.
Pilates Fitness & Physical Therapy Center
Ron Jegadeesh, PT, MBA
Certified PMA, Polestar Pilates, Stott Pilates®, Gyrotonic®, Gyrokinesis® Instructor
17418 W. 10 Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075
248-552-1012 | 248-552-0657 (fax)