by Kathryn Russell
Last week Samantha Wood, the director of BASI education came by the studio. In addition to her work for BASI, Samantha is a Pilates certified Physical Therapist with a clinic in Pacific Palisades. She was getting ready to leave for South Africa where she will be teaching a course that includes a section on Pilates for Chronic Pain. We spent some time going over modifications designed to assist those suffering with fibromyalgia to successfully perform Pilates exercises and discussing the application of those modifications to other chronic pain syndromes. I am so excited about this topic and so strongly believe in it that I am afraid I talked her ear off. Please come back Sam, I promise to be quieter!!
When I began researching fibromyalgia I found exercise to be listed as the central component in the management of this syndrome. But my experience told me that people suffering from chronic pain often don’t feel they have the energy for it or are afraid that the movement might trigger a new pain. The fear of more discomfort often outweighs the recommendation to exercise. The challenge was to develop modifications of fundamental Pilates movements that would develop confidence and strength so that Pilates exercises could then be performed. Pilates exercises are designed to balance the muscles, easing tension and tightness and promoting more efficient movement. This increased ease of movement along with the confidence and sense of well being that Pilates develops goes a long way in the management of fibromyalgia.
My interest in fibromyalgia led me to look into other chronic pain syndromes as well and again I found exercise listed as an important management tool. The types of exercises mentioned were core strengthening, range of motion, balance, joint stabilization and improvement of posture – all things specifically addressed in Pilates exercises. People with chronic pain live with pain and stiffness every day. I know Pilates can make a positive difference in their lives and I am thrilled to know that Sam is spreading the word at her conference in South Africa.