It seems every time I pick up one of my physical therapy journals or magazines I find an article about Pilates and rehabilitation. The most recent articles I’ve read include topics like Pilates for scoliosis and using Pilates to improve flexibility and efficiency among cyclists (who notoriously have postural inflexibility due to their rounded riding posture).
Is Pilates for rehab truly a new trend? I think not. For years, I’ve been using Pilates to treat my patients. The latest buzz about Pilates is much the result of its tremendous popularity with athletes and other celebrities who make it in vogue.
Pilates is a vital asset to the rehab world because the exercises focus on proper spinal alignment and articulation. This method of fitness facilitates proper movement patterns by building muscle strength and coordination. Adaptation is one of the greatest benefits of a Pilates program. The exercises can be modified to enhance treatment for a variety of patient populations, including those with degenerative disc disease, neuromuscular disorders (for example, Parkinson’s or autism), incontinence issues, and seasoned athletes suffering physical trauma.
Physical therapists understand the benefits of Pilates and are developing complementary relationships with Pilates instructors. Some are even hiring Pilates instructors to enhance their practices. They offer this form of exercise as a supplement to the benefits of physical therapy. This connection is paramount for the continuation of recovery after being discharged from a physical therapy program.
Most newly discharged patients aren’t prepared to return to old exercise programs. They are at risk for re-injury. Others want to supplement physical therapy with additional exercises to stay in shape. By training with a Pilates instructor, they get a customized exercise program appropriate to their goals and limitations.
Please understand that Pilates should not be used instead of physical therapy and other forms of rehab, but as a complement to them. The additional benefits to the recovery process are substantial. Talk to your physical therapist today to learn how Pilates can help your unique situation.
Join me next week on www.fitnessandwellnessnews.com as I’ll share how Pilates improves quality-of-life for our senior population.