I’m so pleased to welcome our latest teacher, and our second physical therapist, to Spiral Spine Pilates: Sara Johnson!
Sara is a licensed physical therapist and Balanced Body comprehensively trained Pilates instructor. She earned her undergraduate degree from Samford University in Birmingham, AL and doctorate of physical therapy degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Sara began Pilates due to neck pain and loved how she could treat her spine and strengthen her muscles in ways she never had before through the practice of Pilates. Sara enjoys encouraging anyone who has let an injury or the business of life keep them away from physical activity, find a new love for exercise.
I hope you’ll try out a class with Sara soon and give her a warm Spiral Spine welcome. Below are Sara’s thoughts on back pain and some great Pilates exercises to help with it.
Back pain is one of the most pervasive and debilitating problems that Americans face today. Due to work-related injuries and sedentary lifestyles, bodies frequently don’t move enough and have difficulty staying healthy and strong. The body works like a chain, with a malfunction in one part affecting many others. When a malfunction results in pain, a vicious cycle can ensue: someone decreases their movement to relieve pain, which results in immobility and pain elsewhere in the chain. Our bodies are made to move and Pilates is a great form of exercise to move the ENTIRE body and keep all the parts of the chain happy and pain-free.
One of my favorite areas to work on is often overlooked, the thoracic spine. Thoracic mobility is found to have a significant effect on cervical and lumbar mobility as well as shoulder function. I chose the following exercises as ways to mobilize and stabilize the thoracic spine, and thereby keep these other parts of the chain feeling good.
This exercise focuses on increasing mobility throughout the spine and scapula. It stretches multiple muscles groups and stabilizes scapular muscles necessary for healthy posture. It can be performed in multiple different positions depending on limitations and is therefore accessible to almost everyone.
Rowing back I round back
This exercise focuses on strengthening the scapular stabilizers and shoulder girdle muscles. It is a great torso stabilizer once you have increased mobility in the thoracic spine
This exercise is a full body workout and always a favorite. It works on stabilizing core and lumbar musculature and if done correctly, can be a great workout for scapula and shoulders as well. It makes everyone feel so strong!
Pilates allows you to move in ways you can’t with traditional exercise. The use of the reformer and Cadillac help get you even further into tight, restrictive muscles allowing you to stretch and then strengthen your now mobile spine in new ways. I look forward to helping you find some new mobility in your thoracic spine.
I hope you’ll come check out my class on Fridays at 9:30.