All posts by Sharon Ostalecki

Pilates For A Reason-One of the Many

 

 

I recently took part in the, “Freedom From Fractures” screening event in Birmingham and Northville, Michigan, speaking about bone health and screening participants. If you are over 45, this simple screening (Fore Fracture Risk Calculator) can give you valuable information on how to reduce your risk of having a fracture based on your personal health history.

At my studio, Gentle Pilates, in Novi, MI the number of clients with Osteoporosis is increasing.

Osteoporosis is a disease where bones are weakened and can easily break especially in the hip, spine, and wrist. Bone is considered living tissue. Throughout life, this tissue is broken down in the body and replaced with new bone. For some individuals, the bone continues to break down but is not easily replaced with the new. The inside of a healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When afflicted with osteoporosis, this honeycomb structure develops larger spaces that indicate loss of bone density and strength.

Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent” disease. In the early stage, the individual feels nothing until a bone breaks usually in the hip, spine, or wrist.

I am always asked:  Is  Pilates is safe for those with low bone density? So, here is a quick answer:
The good news is that bone is a living tissue. Just like a muscle, the bone can be strengthened. In many situations, stronger bones can slow and even reverse the effects of osteoporosis.

Pilates helps to teach proper movement and weight-bearing exercises for strengthening the bones and the surrounding muscle, especially around the spine and major joints – hips, knees, shoulders. The muscles that attach along the spine are small muscles, which make up the core that supports the spine. When these small muscles are strengthened through targeted exercise, the result is increased mass and stability to support the spine.

Pilates can also help by creating body awareness. A Pilates professional that has experience with osteoporosis will know how to safely assess and teach proper movement and exercise. After regular practice, this movement becomes natural and can then be leveraged in day-to-day activities outside of the studio. It is also important to learn how to avoid contraindicated movements that can cause injury, such as flexion (roll downs and forward bend), side bending and rotation

Pilates exercises for osteoporosis are safe for people living with the condition. However, not all Pilates classes cater to people with osteoporosis. “Three-quarters of the exercises in traditional Pilates need to be modified for someone with osteoporosis.”   Make sure you are training under the direction of a well trained instructor.

And one quick word about posture:  At Gentle Pilates we evaluate you- your posture, because standing straight with great posture and keeping a neutral spine is the most important safety tip to follow when exercising, especially with osteoporosis.

One of the first things I do as a Pilates instructor is observe a person’s posture. Good posture is the position of the body that puts the least stress on the muscles, joints, and ligaments when sitting, standing, or lying down. The spinal column is the foundation the body supports itself on. When you look at it from the side, you can see that there are three main curves in it.

The neck (cervical) region and lower back (lumbar) region of the spine have inward curves. The mid-back (thoracic) region has an outward curve. These curves have a normal angle, which is the neutral position of the spine. Maintaining this neutral position puts the least stress on the back and neck.

If you slouch while sitting or standing, you lose the normal inward curve in your lower back. You also increase the curving in the mid-back and neck area. Doing so puts undue stress on the whole spine, because it over-stretches some muscles while tightening others. Also, your head isn’t resting on top of your body then. This forward head position fatigues the neck muscles, leading to increased tension and pain. In good sitting or standing posture the head and upper body are balanced on top of the lower back and pelvis, maintaining the normal curves of the spine. This minimizes the stress on the muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs.

Maintaining good posture requires you to be aware of what good posture is and how it feels. Also, you need the strength and (more importantly) the flexibility to achieve the proper position.

If you are interested in taking part in the simple screening (Fore Fracture Risk Calculator)or more information on achieving stronger and health bones, please contact me.  I look forward to helping you achieve your goals.

If you are interested in attending one of our buff Bone Classes or Gentle Pilates class, contact us.

 

 

 

New classes in October (schedule and registration coming soon)
We offer private sessions and group classes.

Gentle Pilates Mat Class

 Buff Bones  Class
This is a great class for those wanting to improve their bone density and create stronger bones.  A great class!

Yoga For Osteoporosis

The class will be held at: 23915 Forest Park, Novi MI  48374

PILATES BASED EXERCISE FOR FIBROMYALGIA: MULTIPLE CASE REPORT

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PILATES-BASED EXERCISE FOR FIBROMYALGIA; MULTIPLE CASE REPORT

AUTHORS; Ostalecki,S. Ph.D.; Gentle Pilates, Novi, MI, USA.
Tamler, M. MD; William Beaumont Hospital. Royal Oak, MI, USA.

 

SUBJECTS: 15 subjects (3 Male, 12 Female); mean age 55 years, age range 50-65.

MATERIAL/METHODS: Inclusion criteria: Community dwelling adults with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Subjects volunteered to participate in 2x per week 50-minute mat class for 4 months taught by a PMA/Polestar certified instructor.

Subjects received the following pre-tests and post-test at 6 weeks and then at the conclusion of the study.

Fibromyalgia (FM) Impact Questionnaire (FIQR)

Assessing: Function, Symptoms, and Overall Life Activities

Universal Pain Assessment Tool

Assessing: Weekly Pain levels

Functional Tests

Heel raise test, Goal Post, ½ squat, Spine Extension (prone), core strength (supine)

KEY WORDS: Pilates based mat exercise, Gentle Pilates, Pain, Fibromyalgia

FUNDING: None

Results: All of the subjects completed the study, even though less than half of patients in our study were provided recommendations to initiate an exercise program as part of their treatment plan.

Post test at 6 weeks showed improvements in the following areas: level of pain, 2 points, level of energy, 2 points, level of stiffness, 6 points, level of depression, 6 points, balance, 3 points, heel raise: increase in reps from 2 to 5. Pain levels fluctuated which is typical of FM patients, but assessment was in the 4-6 ranges as opposed to the starting range 9-10. The most significant changes were seen in pain levels, depression and ease of movement. At the onset of the study participants moved slowly and had difficulty getting down to the floor, and up.

 Conclusion: Gentle Pilates group exercise, mat based program, appears to improve physical function well being, balance and also decrease pain. A small percentage of the participants reported they have reduced pain medications. The comradery of the group was important; and gave support to the group as a whole, which contributed to the high attendance, at each class. The program will now continue at a low fee for Fibromyalgia patients; and it is recommended to include home-based physical activity as an exercise intervention for individuals with fibromyalgia. It is also important to offer phone or in person contact so Fibromyalgia participants could receive feedback/support, on their home-based activities

Also, a randomized controlled trial is recommended to compare the use of Pilate equipment (reformer, Cadillac, chair & spine corrector) with a mat based (Gentle Pilates) program.

 

Fibromyalgia: Can we Prevent A Flare Up?

 

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If you’re living with fibromyalgia, simple steps you can do right now can help prevent a painful fibromyalgia flare.

For the 5 million Americans living with fibromyalgia, the discomfort that characterizes this condition never really goes away. But from time to time, sudden bouts of intense pain, fatigue, and other symptoms — known as fibromyalgia flares — will also occur. While there’s no definitive way to avoid occasional flares, you can be proactive and develop strategies to keep your symptoms in check, according to

  •  Journaling. Take 10 minutes every day to jot down things like what activities you did, what medication you started, how well you slept, or if you ate something new. Journaling is the key to discovering your flare triggers, so you can try to avoid them.  It can take up to 48 hours for an event to trigger a fibromyalgia flare-up, and if it’s not noted somewhere, you might not remember or recognize the correlation.
  • Delegating and saying no. Many people with fibromyalgia are perfectionists and like to do everything themselves, from all the cleaning to all the cooking. But you have to learn to let others do things for you because even mild overexertion can lead to a severe flare-up.
  • Stress management. Stress tightens you up, and when you have fibromyalgia, the muscles don’t let go. Find something that reduces stress for you before it gets to that painful point. I like listening to books on tape, for instance.”
  • Standing tall. Learning and maintaining proper posture is crucial to managing fibromyalgia, because posture errors that push the head too far forward or cause slouching can lead to muscle fatigue, followed by increased tension and pain.  Movement is vital and Pilates is one of the “best” forms of movement.  Pilates is movement that changes life.
  • Proper diet. Protein intake is vital to those with fibromyalgia because it’s the only macronutrient that builds and maintains muscle. A diet low in protein results in more nodules, more pain, and consequently more exhaustion.”

Do your own personal research for any new therapy you want to try, applying a simplified  scientific method. “Try tested therapies before untested ones, and make sure any treatment you try is safe.” Dr-1._Tamler_&_Sharon1

You can best assess whether a particular therapy is working by following these steps:

  • Start only one new treatment at a time.
  • See if you feel better when you use the treatment.
  • Stop the treatment, and see if you get worse.
  • Restart the treatment, and see if you improve again. If you do, you can be fairly confident that this treatment has a positive effect on you.

Don’t forget to join our newsletter for information on upcoming classes and workshops.  shutterstock_100548082

Signature - Sharon Ostalecki

Finding my Way Through the Fog of Fibromyalgia

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Do you find it difficult to explain, “Fibro-Fog” to your friends or family. I would like to share my definition of fibro-fog. I hope it helps you to explain to your spouse, family or friends what it is like for many of us living with the challenges of fibromyalgia.  And for many cancer patients dealing with the same issues, after/during treatment.

Fibro Fog is like opening a file cabinet to locate information, only to find the folders not in any familiar order. You attempt to organize the folders alphabetically. After checking how you’ve done, you notice the folders are still in disarray. Repeatedly you try to reorganize until you’re tired of trying. If you’re disgusted with yourself you may stop and leave it for another day or try to continue. When opening the folders you find that many are missing the contents. The folders that have their contents seem to be in the wrong folder. Confused, you aimlessly search through folders and begin mixing their contents with other folders in an attempt to classify the contents in their proper folder. You do this over and over, back and forth to no avail. At some point you ask yourself, what was I looking for? No matter how hard you try, you just don’t remember.

When I’m in this Fog, it’s hard to communicate with others. Finding the proper words is difficult to say the least. And forming interesting conversation is practically unattainable. What I’ve learned is to set daily goals. Write them down starting with the easiest to the more challenging. The key is to keep your expectations pushing the edge just short of failure. Then as time goes on, I build on my successes. Eventually I find my way through the Fog.

How about you– Can you share ways you explain, “Fibro-Fog” to those in your life that just can’t seem to understand what it is like to live in the fog.

Signature - Sharon Ostalecki
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Pilates Program for Fibromyalgia & Breast Cancer Survivors

Pilates program for fibromyalgia, breast cancer survivors

The Community House in Birmingham, MI will be offering a very special class this fall.

Look and feel your very best with this gentle beginner Pilates class. This is a Pilates class with incredible health benefits: strengthen muscles and bones, stand taller with better posture and balance, support a healthy back with better core strength and stretch out to move with ease and freedom.

Instructors Sharon Ostalecki, PhD and Judy Polite will be using the basic principles of Pilates to encourage continued functional movement. The class is designed for those who are rebuilding their bodies. It works at the foundation of physical strength, concentration, flexibility and endurance. The class is safe for clients of all ages with a variety of issues, through modifications and support with props.

This is an excellent class for breast cancer survivors, fibromyalgia or chronic pain patients.

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