This one is for all the moms out there!
Do you have pain in your hips or back when sitting on the floor? Is it hard for you to get up from this position because everything feels so tight? Do you feel frustrated with how difficult or painful it is to play on the ground with your little one? We want to tell you why this might be happening AND what you can do to help prevent this.
We really do hear this ALL the time. In fact, I had four different clients complain of this just last week, so I figured a blog was definitely in order!
So WHY do I have back or hip pain when sitting on the floor?
A few different things could be going on here, but most often I find that this discomfort is caused by muscle guarding or limited mobility. And there’s a good reason why your mobility is limited in the first place...
If you, like many of us these days, are sitting for prolonged periods at a desk your hips are constantly held all day in one static position, which can cause a lot of tightness in your hip flexors. Then when you get on the floor and cross your legs to play with your little one your hips feel even TIGHTER. That’s because this is a tough position to get into with already tight hips. When our hips are tight our bodies need to gain some flexibility from somewhere in order to make a position work…. And most often that leads to compromising your back. When sitting on the floor, we tend to round our backs to make up for the lack of flexibility in our hips.
The opposite of this can be true too! When our back muscles are not used to holding us up without support, we tend to collapse and round at our back which in turn puts even MORE stress on our hips.
And so the vicious cycle begins, where our back hurts because of our hips, and our hips hurt because of our back....
So how should I sit on the floor to prevent back or hip pain? Is sitting on the floor BAD for back or hip pain?
How can we sit on the floor to read, to play with a little one, or to play with a puppy without dealing with hip or back pain? Here are a few simple fixes to help you alleviate the pain you feel while sitting on the floor right now...
ONE: Sit on a small stool, step, or yoga block.
This is a great way to get into a criss-cross position with much less strain on your hips and back. Keeping your balance on a small stool will activate your core muscles and help you maintain neutral alignment in your spine.
TWO: Prop yourself against a wall, bookcase, or couch.
A little bit of support will help you maintain neutral alignment in your back. Keep yourself propped against that wall and avoid letting your low back round!
THREE: Keep your knees lower than your hips.
Give those hip flexors a bit of a rest, and keep your knees lower than your hips. In other words, try to avoid hugging your knees in and tucking yourself into a pretzel. This position will automatically lead to rounding at your back and shoulders, placing more stress on your back! Instead, extend your legs out straight, or prop a small pillow under your butt to elevate your hips a bit.
This may seem like an odd suggestion. Aren't you already breathing every minute of every day? But try it for me. Really FOCUS on your breathing. Use your ribcage to guide your breath into your back to help take the pressure off of your hips and lower back muscles. This can be done in any position, but we suggest you try this sitting up tall, with a small stool propped under your seat.
These tips are a great way to start alleviating some back and hip pain while sitting on the floor. But to truly FIX this problem, you'll need the specialized (and individualized!) care of a skilled physical therapist to address exactly what your body needs.
These suggestions are short terms solutions. If you are looking to fix this problem and fix it for GOOD, and if you're interested in finding a long lasting solution to your back or hip pain so you can feel like yourself again, we want to offer you a FREE 30 minute Discovery Visit. During this visit, you and one of our highly trained Physical Therapists will sit down one-on-one to talk about your unique problems and create a customized plan for YOU so you can get back to living the life you love.
We'll get you back to playing on the floor with your little ones again - without any pain or worry!
Getting an MRI of the back instead of physical therapy for back pain leads to a waste of $4,793!
Dr. Murphy here! Did you know that Physical Therapists can tell you more about what’s wrong with your body than MRIs?
That may sound like a crazy claim, but it’s true. A lot of times, MRIs, x-rays, and other medical scans leave Dr’s in the wrong direction – which is why Physical Therapists (at least GOOD ones) don’t use them.
What an MRI of the back DOESN'T show you!
Let’s look at Back Pain for example.
There are so many things that can cause pain in your back. You probably know the common ones (herniated disc, degenerative joint disease, pulled muscle) But here are some common causes that go overlooked:
If you’re suffering from any of these, but your doctor is only treating you for a disc issue, you will NEVER get better!
There’s an equally long list for neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, and hip pain.
“So I should get an MRI of the back and find out what’s really going on before I decide how to proceed, right?”
I get asked often.
MRIs, scans, x-rays, and imaging of all kinds can cause a huge confirmation bias.
Over the past 5+ years, there have been multiple high-quality studies looking at MRI’s of the back in asymptomatic people each 50+. “Asymptomatic” means that these people have no symptoms – NO back pain of any kind.
The results? Over 60% of people age 50+ have some kind of degeneration, herniation, or bulging in their lumbar spine.
Now remember, the studies were done on people who DIDN’T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS!!
So if you’re having back pain caused by poor posture (or anything else on our big list from before), but an MRI of the back shows that you have a disc problem, your doctor is immediately going to start treating the disc problem – even though that’s not the cause of your pain!
You’re going to spend endless time and money (and maybe even surgery) to fix something that’s not even bothering you, and your back pain will continue until you fix your posture.
What should you do in lieu of an MRI of the back?
Stop obsessing over your MRI of the back. Find a doctor (like a physical therapist!) who knows how to be objective and look for ALL the possibilities on our list, not just the common ones. You’ll get out of pain and stay out of pain when you address the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
We are happy to talk to you over the phone and answer any questions you have about this and your situation. We can offer you a recommendation of what we think is your next best step.
Schedule a Free Phone Consult Today!
Or shoot us an email!
You might be a bit surprised to hear this, but here it is:
Not all physical therapy is equal.
In fact, Empower PT + Pilates was founded in response to a lack of quality care in the industry. As the trend in the traditional PT community went more toward cycling more and more patients through with little individualized care and attention, I decided there had to be a better way. Shocked to hear me say this?
Traditional PT looks a little something like this…
You come in, you might warm up on the bike for 5-10 mins, and then you might get some ultrasound and stretching from the PT. After just a few minutes with the actual therapist you'll be passed off to an aide who will take you through some exercises while your therapist tends to the 3+ other patients they have also scheduled during your appointment. You'll probably finish up your session with some ice or heat and get handed a sheet of cookie-cutter exercises.
Sound sadly familiar?
Here's why this type of physical therapy is not very helpful and what your traditional PT is most likely not addressing... (and WHY it matters to your health!)...
They are NOT focused on...
Finding the Root Cause
In a traditional PT setting, the symptoms you experience often drive the treatment. In reality however, your symptoms (of pain, discomfort, or tightness) are just signs of a deeper issue; if only the symptoms are addressed, your pain is likely to keep coming back. At Empower PT & Pilates we find the root cause of your problem and treat more than just the symptoms, ensuring long lasting results.
More Than Just "Passive" Treatments
Massage, ultrasound, laser, cupping, dry needling, scraping, taping… the list goes on. These are all ‘passive’ treatment methods. They are all important tools that may give you symptom relief at the beginning of your treatment, but they are so often relied upon and used far too long into the whole treatment process. It is incredibly important to go much further than hands-on techniques in order to truly achieve a lasting solution. Your treatment should include movement correction, muscle activation and stabilization, and postural correction. Without these, the dysfunctions that caused your tightness, discomfort, or pain in the first place will only continue to come back.
Treating The Whole Body
We all know this children’s song...
"The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone; the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone..."
As true as this is, often the ‘problem area’, or the area where your symptoms pop up, is the ONLY thing a traditional PT can or will treat. Because everything is so interconnected, it is important to look at the entire body as a whole. Your back pain may be caused by dysfunction in your hip, knee, or even your ankle!
If this is not addressed, you can be pretty sure that it’s only a matter of time before this problem comes back... or worse, causes another problem or pain point.
Ending Care When You Are Ready
In traditional PT, when the symptoms go away you’re usually discharged. This is usually due to a lack of adequate insurance coverage. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t care if you’re truly ready to get back to your life and desired activities. They don't care if you're 100% again. Once your symptoms go away, they will no longer cover your visits.
As we mentioned earlier, this can lead to recurring injuries and continuing to need care months or years later. All too often this can become a vicious cycle.... Pain shows up, you get treatment/pain relief, you stop treatment, pain comes back. And on it goes until we are facing dangerous surgery or debilitating problems.
At Empower, we customize your plan of care to exactly what you need - and make sure that you don't just get some slight relief in your pain, but that you gain the strength confidence to be able to bike or run or hike or ski again - for years to come.
Providing One-on-One Care
Crowded clinic? Sharing your appointment time with three other patients?
This all-too-common problem with traditional PT often has to do with a problem within the insurance industry. Because insurance reimbursements are so low, many Physical Therapists are forced to see two or three (or four) patients at a time, and often hand their patients over to PT Assistants for the majority of the time.
For true progress, consistency is key.
At Empower PT & Pilates, you will receive one-on-one, hour long care from only your skilled Physical Therapist. You and your body deserve our undivided attention, and that is exactly what we provide.
Don't Make the Mistake of Thinking Traditional PT is "Cheaper"
When deciding where to go, most people might think “well I’ll just go use my insurance because it will be much cheaper.”
And it absolutely does appear that way on the surface…
But in reality that $50-75+ copay each session is only the beginning of your fees. Because the majority of Americans having a high deductible insurance plan, you most likely will receive a surprise bill months later in the mail for the remaining portion your insurance company did not pay.
You may end up nearly paying out of pocket for your physical therapy sessions - spending more than you thought you had to, only getting 15-20 mins with the PT, and then being charged for things you could have just done at home.
And the worst part is, you still haven’t addressed the deeper underlying problems that are causing your pain in the first place.
So eventually you’ll need more PT, or you’ll assume PT “didn’t work” and you’ll try a million other things like chiropractic, massage, or acupuncture... all of which also only focus on more symptom relief. And if you’re one of the unlucky ones that are told the only other thing that will help is surgery…$$$. In our humble opinion, this is costing you MUCH more in the long run!!
We prefer to help you take care of the problem correctly the first time around, saving you TONS of time, money, and frustration.
We hear this from our clients all too often. Even when sharing their appointment time with other patients, receiving generalized advice and exercises, only getting symptom relief, and feeling frustrated at a lack of holistic, whole body care... they realize down the road that traditional PT is often NOT actually cheaper! Watch out for copays that can really add up over time and surprise bills that show up in the mail months later.
Most of all, here at Empower our one-on-one care goes above and beyond to make sure you don’t have to continue dealing with this problem next month, next year, or 10 years from now. Our goal is to empower you with the tools to manage it on your own and get back to the active life you dream about. We make sure you are truly getting the tools you need to make sure that you don't have to KEEP going back for the same injury again and again and again.
All this being said, of course there are many incredible, talented, and knowledgeable PTs working in traditional settings. Their knowledge and expertise is valuable! And if you’re looking for pain relief, a quick fix, or post-surgical rehab this can be a really great option. Their knowledge and expertise is valuable, they just have too many restrictions placed on them!
We just need to create a setting in which you can actually receive the best possible care from your PT. That's our goal here at Empower. Helping you find the root cause of your problem, giving you individualized and holistic treatment, making sure you get past symptom relief (and passive treatment) in order to gain strength, and providing you with results that LAST.
Are you looking for more than just temporary relief? Want real lasting change??
Join us in our FREE 5 Day Challenge: How To End Back Pain, Improve Posture, And Age With Ease! (right now it's free!) Find out why you continue to suffer even if you have tried everything.
One of my dear clients - Sharon, aged 58 - was diagnosed with 2 disc herniations and "degenerating discs” in her lumbar spine.
She'd been suffering from chronic back pain for 10 years, but just in the past 3 months it had gotten increasingly worse...
Getting out of bed was a struggle, gardening was out of the question, and just even going for a short walk made her back so stiff and sore that she just wanted to shut down.
Sharon is tough though...
She's got a high pain tolerance, and tries to "push through" no matter what.
She tries her best to stay active, is very conscious about what she eats, and she is STRONGLY AGAINST taking painkillers. Which is why she felt so frustrated when the doctor “barely even looked at her”, spent only 15 minutes in the room with her, and told her she NEEDED to take painkillers, and just… rest.
To make matters worse, a trip to a “specialist” two months later wasn’t much more helpful when her MRI revealed “2 disc herniations” and “degenerative arthritis” in her lumbar spine.
Doctor said she was facing:
-Injections and needed stronger painkillers
-Potentially life altering, dangerous surgery
- And that the "degeneration" in her back was irreversible and she needed to just “accept it” and “manage the pain”.
BUT 6 months later… she was living life again pain free.
How did Sharon make a full recovery in 6 months, without taking a single pill and without needing injections or surgery?
Because at Empower PT + Pilates, we were able to diagnose the real, root cause of her pain.
The BIGGEST problem today in traditional health care is the fact that most doctors and health professionals treat every single person with back pain exactly the same…
Which means almost every person with a back injury is labeled as a “disc herniation” or “arthritic”…
Often, there is:
NO individualized attention.
NO process of “figuring the problem out”.
NO consideration of other more realistic causes such as weak muscles, stiff joints, or movement compensation.
This leads to a DANGEROUS, systemic problem of treating symptoms instead of taking the time necessary to identify the ROOT cause of a problem.
For Sharon, like MOST others we have helped with disc problems or degenerating discs, we realized that the root cause of her pain was NOT from her "discs" or "arthritis"...but it was from:
-Scar tissue in the muscles and tissues along her spine (from inflammation that had built up because of repetitive stress).
-Muscle imbalances and weakness in her core and hips that dated back to an old hip injury she had 15 years ago while skiing.
-Poor movement habits that developed from compensation since she had been guarding her back for such a long time (this caused her to bend over when gardening or picking up grocery backs with poor form, making her pain much worse)
These are all legitimate problems that will NEVER show up on an x-ray or an MRI.
While x-rays and MRI's may tell you what is going on inside your back, they won’t tell you the important information of "WHY your back is hurting"...
By being able to address these problems through a very structured, individualized, and detailed process of healing her body (naturally), she is now able to:
- Garden 3 times a week WITHOUT needing advil.
- Walk 4 miles EVERY DAY (without her back seizing up)!
- Able to sit comfortably and go on long drives to Moab with her family and 2 grandchildren (without needing to pull over every 30 minutes to stretch her back).
For Sharon, it all started when she claimed her very own FREE BACK PAIN ADVICE report from us, "7 Simple Ways To Finally END Back Pain & Stiffness...Without Taking Painkillers, Without Risking Surgery, and Without Having to See Your Doctor!".
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE BACK PAIN ADVICE REPORT.
This report is unlike many other back pain products because it is NOT focused on only relieving your pain, but tells you how to IDENTIFY and ELIMINATE the cause of your pain…
The goal of this report is NOT to give you a “magic pill” or a “quick fix”, but to give you actionable advice and help you take back control of your body without pain dictating your life.
OR if you would like to fast track your recovery, you can apply for a FREE 30-minute Discovery Visit with me today where we can meet in person to get all your questions answered. To apply for this free visit, fill out this form telling us a little about what's going on and we will call you to let you know if you qualify!
Can't wait to see you in the clinic soon.
P.S. If you want to contact me through email, send me your questions at email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Yes, we’re talking about you, hip flexors and hamstrings.
We hear this often... “I’ve been stretching my [insert muscle here], and it doesn’t ever seem to loosen.” Or “what’s the best stretch for my…” and “I do all of this stretching, but my back STILL hurts!”
Does any of this sound like you? As controversial as this may sound, stretching those tight muscles really isn’t doing all that much.
There, I said it.
There is a very small population of people who really DO need lots of flexibility, and therefore stretching - think competitive gymnasts or dancers. Is that you? No? Then maybe it's time to look for a better solution to your specific problem.
For the average person, loads of flexibility is NOT the answer. A tight muscle is oftentimes a WEAK muscle. Think about it... your body is an incredible thing and is very good at protecting itself. At signs of weakness or in areas of dysfunction, your body will tighten up to protect itself. This is why your muscles get tight!
So if not stretching... what should you do about it?
A tight muscle (which we just learned is also a weak muscle) needs stability! These muscles often do not get strengthened and spend a lot of time in the same position.
Think about your hip flexors, for example. When we spend a lot of time sitting these muscles are chronically shortened, and that's why we see a lot of tight hip flexors. But if these muscles are spent in this one position day in and day out they are also not being strengthened through their full range of motion. Your hip flexors aren't just tight - they are weak!
I would be willing to bet that you have tried stretching those ‘tight’ hip flexors without much success. That’s because what these muscles likely need is strength and stabilization!
Does this sound like you?
If all the stretching you’ve been doing is not helping your back, hip, or knee pain, ask us if you can apply for a complimentary Discovery Visit. During this 30 minute session you’ll meet one of our Physical Therapists and have a conversation about what would be most beneficial for you.
We can help you get to the root of all of this tightness, and show you what you can do to actually help it!
You can request a free 30 minute discovery visit here, or call us at 720-722-0685 to find out if you qualify.
Is your group fitness instructor ignoring you?
You're in a group exercise class - maybe lifting weights, or punching bags, or holding a plank, or dancing....
And you feel a little lost.
Should you be feeling this in your hip flexors?? Are your feet too close together? When your shoulder starts hurting, should you stop or push through it?
We love group fitness classes as much as the next person. The contagious energy, the instructor continually pushing you, the encouragement from peers and the competitive nature...
But with many of these classes filling with more and more people, how much individualized attention do you actually get from your instructor?
Do you feel like you have a good handle on all of the exercises and movements? Is your form continually being corrected to achieve perfection? Do you always feel safe? Do you understand 100% of the verbal instructions from the instructor?
We didn’t think so.
This is no fault of the instructor! This is simply just the nature of these classes. With 8, 15, or even 20+ people to continually watch over, there is only so much that an instructor can do.
These classes certainly serve a purpose, and they can be fun too! But how many times have you walked into a new fitness studio, taken a group class, and felt completely lost half the time?
We’ve certainly been there. . .
This is why one-on-one training is so important before jumping into a group class. It allows you to achieve a good understanding of the foundation of the specific movements, receive hands on cueing, and benefit from a specialist’s absolute undivided attention.
Especially if you are recovering from an injury - or even more importantly, if you have been suffering with specific pain or tightness for a long time - private sessions are KEY.
Before jumping fully into a group setting, where unfortunately you’ll get a lot of encouragement but very little individualized instruction or guidance, it's helpful to know exactly what you and your body need.
The goal should be mastery of form before jumping into a group class.
Unfortunately in a crowded group setting, because you are not being continuously watched, cued and corrected, you might hurt yourself because of poor form, develop bad movement patterns and habits, and feel SO lost in the process as well.
Does all of this sound really familiar? Are you currently taking group classes, but looking for more?
We would love to offer you a FREE one on one Pilates Taster session. You will get a much better understanding of the foundational principles of movements and Pilates, proper hands on cueing, individualized attention tailored specifically to your goals... and we ALWAYS promise you our undivided attention!
Apply here for your FREE 30 minute Pilates Taster to learn more about the benefits of one-on-one!
Do you have knee pain from your new COVID running habit??
Did you take to the road when COVID hit and gyms shut down? 🏃♀️
Needed to get out of the house, so you picked up running... either for the first time, or for the first time in a long time??
Are you now paying the price of pounding the pavement?
Months later we are now hearing a lot of our clients complain of new knee pain due to their new COVID activities. Often when we jump into new activities or different terrain (treadmill vs road), our bodies aren’t actually ready for them.
Most people think that running, because there isn’t much to it, is something we can just walk out the door and do. Which is true...but if you don’t have the proper strength, stability, or mobility you most likely will find yourself eventually suffering from knee pain, hip tightness, back soreness, or Achilles problems.
The biggest mistake I see people make is that they run to get in shape and not the other way around.
We should strengthen to run, not run to strengthen.
If there are weaknesses in your core, hips or ankles PRIOR to you running, they are likely only going to get worse... AND cause other problems in addition, resulting in aches and pains you weren’t expecting and now don’t know how to get rid of.
If you want to find out if you are strong enough to run, join our 5 day challenge where we will be walking you through a self assessment for knee pain. Email us to opt-in!
If you find some areas of pain, dysfunction or weakness when going through these tests, join us for our FREE Workshop in which we will explain the importance of this assessment, and what you can do to prevent injury when running!
Have you been told your joints are bone on bone and you may need a joint replacement??
Let me guess - your first line of attack was a series of cortisone injections?
Maybe that band-aid helped, but only for a little bit... and now you may be facing major surgery but are still wondering if there is anything else that can be done.
(Spoiler: there IS something else that can be done).
What if I told you that no matter how long you’ve been suffering, there is a 90% chance that your pain is NOT caused by “bone on bone” joints...
What?? You say...how could that be??
But I saw the MRI...my doctor pointed it out...
Yes, we hear this ALL the time from clients wanting to avoid surgery and I can confidently tell you, we have helped them not only get rid of the pain, but become much more active and mobile AND avoid surgery all together!!
How is that possible???
Often times what we see on an image (MRI, X-ray, etc) is only a very small piece to the puzzle. The image is only looking at one thing: the joint. It’s not taking into consideration the muscles surrounding the joint that have been compensating for years and years, which have then slowly affected the way you walk, which has then changed the position of your pelvis (your posture), which then pisses off your hip and low back muscles, which then adds MORE stress back on the knee.
You get the point...
This might be one of my BIGGEST frustrations in the orthopedic world . Doctors will just nonchalantly recommend injections and surgeries without EVER considering what caused this joint deterioration in the first place!!
Joint replacements AREN’T NORMAL!
Joint replacements are not just a part of life...
If your car has poor alignment and is wearing your left tires down unevenly... do you just change the tires, knowing it will just happen again? Or do you fix the alignment, the true reason why the tires are wearing in the first place??
Of course you fix the alignment of your tires. So why do we just “change the tires” on our bodies??
Cars are replaceable. Our bodies are not - and joints shouldn’t be either.
With the current shift to working from home this year, many of us are forced to work from our kitchen tables, couches, and even beds. Before this pandemic, the average American was sitting about 6.5 hours per day. These days, many of us who are now working from home are not only sitting more, we’re also no longer sitting correctly without office luxuries, our usual work stations, chairs, and desk setups. Does this sound familiar?
Have YOU been experiencing more back pain since working from home?
Do you find yourself working from your bed, your couch, or dining room table, and unable to find a comfortable solution? Do you think this is common and something you’ll have to just ‘deal with’? A poor work set up and improper sitting for long periods are large contributors to neck and back pain. If this is something you are experiencing, you are not alone, and there IS a solution.
Here are the top 4 common mistakes you are likely making with your work from home set up - AND some expert advice from a physical therapist on how you can change these habits to help alleviate your pain!
#1: Not using a desk!
If you have found yourself working at home without a desk, this is likely a large contributor to your neck or back pain. Our dining room, kitchen tables, and couches were not designed with ergonomics in mind. That cute dining room chair was not designed with an 8 hour work day in mind! Working without a desk can lead to poor posture, slouching, and ultimately a lot of strain on your neck and back. Over time this can lead to the pain, soreness and tightness you are feeling.
#2: Moving your ‘work space’ from room to room throughout the day.
Have you been trying to move throughout your living space during the work day, searching for a comfortable position to work in? Moving from room to room seems like a good idea... but in reality, you are likely just moving between slouched positions in each workspace. The spot on the floor in front of your couch is putting just as much strain on your neck and back as the dining room table!
#3: Relying on your laptop...
If you are working remotely from your laptop, this can be another large contributor to your neck and/or back pain. Laptops were designed just for that - the lap. The attached keyboard and low monitor position is not designed for a full work day. This screen positioning causes us to crane our necks forward, and the attached keyboard does not allow for readjustments and can cause strain in shoulders and neck.
#4: Taking calls from your cell phone
...especially while also typing, writing, or making lunch.... all while holding the phone between your shoulder and ear! Holding this position for any amount of time creates tension not only in you neck & upper back but also in your jaw... which can lead to a whole new set of symptoms.
So how do you fix these common mistakes? How can you set up a workspace that will help - not hurt - your back and neck throughout the day?
And even more importantly... what is the root cause of this pain in the first place? Even though slouching on the couch during your work day may be new, and has likely been a large contributor to your current pain, it's not necessarily the cause... just the most recent factor that has brought to the surface a recurring problem. The real question is... what's the underlying cause?
That’s where we come in. Join us for a FREE virtual workshop with back pain expert and physical therapist, Dr. Casey Murphy. Register here to learn more about how to fix these top 4 mistakes AND how to prevent your back pain from ever coming back again!
Join us on Tuesday August 18th at 4pm (MST) for this free workshop and ask a physical therapist YOUR questions about back pain and working from home.
“What’s better... yoga or Pilates?”
This is a question I get asked all the time by clients. The answer would depend on what you are looking for. For most of my clients, people who are recovering from some sort of persistent ache or pain or injury, it’s almost always Pilates (if they had to choose only one).
They are both great, but here’s why, as a Physical Therapist, I prefer Pilates and how I describe the difference to my clients...
Generally speaking, yoga is much more about holding positions to increase flexibility. In yoga there isn't a large focus on strength or stability. This is great if your muscles are tight or if you carry a lot of stress and tension. But with that in mind, remember that there is always a reason why we feel like we always need to stretch... muscles don’t just get tight for no reason. And with my clients, we work together to find the true cause - the real reason why their low back or hips keep getting tight over and over again - so that together we can get to the deeper root of the problem and get rid of that constant need to stretch.
In contrast, Pilates is all about improving our posture alignment while finding and building strength and stability through all the ranges of movement. And as a result, it actually improves flexibility while also giving you that long, lean, and toned body. Pilates builds core strength from the inside out and teaches us how to move our bodies on a solid foundation, thus making our movements stronger and more efficient. The more stable we are, the more protected we are from future injuries.
And that’s the magic... when every movement is most efficient, we reduce the stress being placed on our joints (caused by muscle imbalances and misalignments) which not only helps us recover from injury but also is the best way to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.
Yoga = flexibility.
Pilates = posture and core strength (and injury prevention).
And if you combine Pilates with physical therapy? Talk about a recipe for success and everlasting relief from those aches and pains you can’t seem to get rid of.
I do love yoga, don’t get me wrong. It has so many amazing benefits. However, if you practice yoga too much and become too flexible, it could have some negative consequences on your health and lead you to injury. A common injury I see a lot in yogis is SI pain or back pain. Why?Because yogis are extremely flexible, but their bodies don’t know how to support all that movement. This extreme flexibility does not allow for our movements to be very efficient, stable, or strong. All that energy is lost and it ends up putting more stress on certain joints.
So if you're interested in long lasting injury prevention and strength, and if you want to fix the root cause of your tight spots (not just the symptom), consider Pilates. At Empower, we want to make sure you are confident in your choice. So if you're interested in trying Pilates but still have a few questions, try us out first - for free!
Apply for a free 30 minute Pilates taster with one of our experts right now.
We can't wait to get you started toward your goal of feeling young forever!
Empower PT & Pilates
We help you find a LASTING SOLUTION to back, hip, and pelvic issues so you can age with ease -without having to rely on painkillers, injections, or surgery!
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