Category Archives: Blog

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

human body

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.

 

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.

Continue reading Pilates Program for Fibromyalgia & Breast Cancer Survivors

Are There Precipitating Factors or Events Leading to the Onset of Fibromyalgia?

Many Fibromyalgia physicians believe there are precipitating factors that lead to the onset of fibromyalgia.

Primary fibromyalgia occurs spontaneously in individuals not suffering from any related or triggering condition. There is no clear cause for “primary fibromyalgia,” but over time the severity of primary fibromyalgia is affected by factors such as sleep deprivation, muscle atrophy, emotional stress, coping style, the weather, and of course, the pain itself. The course tends to be chronic, with unpredictable periods of greater and lesser severity.

Secondary fibromyalgia occurs in patients whose pain was preceded or triggered by another illness, such as arthritis, bursitis, or lupus, or from abnormal structural conditions such as disc tears and herniations, and nerve entrapments. The course and appearance of secondary fibromyalgia is very similar to primary fibromyalgia. The picture is complicated because the patient’s other illness or illnesses continue to cause symptoms and require treatment. It is often a difficult medical challenge to know when a triggering factor, such as a disc herniation, should be addressed surgically or whether other pain control methods should be pursued. A great many patients with fibromyalgia respond poorly to surgery, so it has been suggested by some experts that, for fibromyalgia patients, nonsurgical options should be the first course of action when conditions permit.

Continue reading Are There Precipitating Factors or Events Leading to the Onset of Fibromyalgia?

My Thyroid Medication is Making Me Worse–Not Better!!

The Pursuit of a Thyroid Medication

A few years after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis — an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. I was now hypothyroid, for which the standard treatment is Synthroid. Synthroid ordinarily works like a charm. But not on me.

I was eager to start treatment; but, within five minutes of the first dose, I had a terrible reaction. My endocrinologist assumed I was having a reaction to the inert ingredients, fillers, or dyes in the medication. He suggested I try another synthetic thyroid medication. I followed his directions and experienced the same symptoms.

The doctor could not explain this, and informed me that, in his many years of practice, he had never had a patient experience this phenomenon.

I was now worse off, experiencing the symptoms of severe hypothyroidism without any prospect of treatment with accepted medication.

Continue reading My Thyroid Medication is Making Me Worse–Not Better!!