Pilates for Rehabilitation

Today you can find a Pilates class in nearly every community and Pilates fitness DVDs are readily available at your local store or online. It seems like everyone is either taking a Pilates class or interested in starting a Pilates exercise program. One of the best things about Pilates is that it works well for a broad spectrum of people of all ages and fitness levels, including people at various stages of physical rehabilitation or those transitioning back to athletics or performance arts.

Pilates and physical therapy have different emphases but both offer value as components of rehabilitation and can be used on the continuum of healing and transitioning to fitness. 

Pilates for rehabilitation is provided one-on-one by a licensed medical professional such as a physical therapist, rather than a Pilates instructor. Pilates can be appropriate for orthopedic rehabilitation as well as neurorehabilitation for those with spinal cord injuries, stroke and traumatic brain injuries

Pilates takes a unique approach to health care by integrating movement through the whole body instead of segregating the injured body part. This generates balanced muscular development and reinforces rehabilitation techniques such as postural alignment, muscle performance and motor control. Exercises are performed only in proper alignment and never with intention of “feeling the burn.” 

At Good Shepherd, each patient receives an individualized program. Today's Pilates equipment is versatile, allowing for many different rehabilitation levels, body types, sizes and conditions to be comfortably and safely accommodated. Modifying variables on the equipment, like the base of support, lever length and spring tension creates an environment where patients feel appropriately challenged. 

Many Pilates exercises are performed lying down, which can facilitate a gentle progression from non-weight-bearing to weight-bearing activity. This progression helps to reduce faulty movement patterns and ensure proper patterns are integrated into daily life, such as being able to bend at the hips and knees while using core muscles and holding the spine in a neutral position when lifting.

These positive movement experiences shift patients’ perception that “movement causes pain” and enables them to trust their body again, advancing recovery.

The Pilates program at Good Shepherd is located at the Health & Technology Center in Allentown. For more information about Pilates therapy please call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us online.

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