Pilates Equipment

Pilates with Cervical Disc Herniations

Dear Lynda, I have been a pilates instructor for 4 years. I have a client: 34 yr old Female 2 cervical disc hernias at age 18 ex gymnast works in an office swims once a week flexible weak muscles (especially in arms)

She wants her body back in shape.

She has some tingling in her hands and sometimes gets dizzy.

She wants to do group lessons because of the hours and cost.

I started her out on the Trap table doing Pre Pilates exercises: Breathing exercises Neutral spine w/disassociation exercises Shoulder girdle stabilization

Basic Reformer routine: Foot Work Frog Leg Circles Short Box Series: Round Back Twist Side bends Knee Stretch Stomach Massage Seated Long box Arms Basic Rowing Back

My questions are:

What exercises should I NOT DO with her(obviously no full short spine / bottom lift / shoulder bridge ect. that might put pressure on her neck)?

Are there any specific exercises that would help?

Would neck mobilization help or could it possibly worsen the situation?

Thanks, Michelle

Dear Michelle,

First, have you seen her since the first session? How did she feel? That will give you some basis on which to proceed. Any pain or numbness lasting longer than one day is a problem.

Second, NO NECK MOBILIZATION! Think about it--she's hypermobile already with weak enough intervertebral muscles to cause weakness in the cervical spine. Plus you mention that she is weak and flexible, which is not good.

Third, looking at the first session almost everything you give her is in forward spinal flexion. She needs some work in extension and side lying and maybe some supine arm work. Bridging and bottom lift are not necessarily bad if she doesn't go all the way up to her neck.

I would avoid weight bearing on arms right now (no knee stretches) and too much flexion (stomach massage and back rowing is too much). And you are right about avoiding weight bearing on neck in things like short spine, long spine, etc.

So for extension--basic prone straight leg lifts, single leg kick with head down, swimming, beginning swan, flight (extension with arms at sides). Side lying--side kicks, magic circle work.

On the reformer you could do supine arm presses and circles with legs in tabletop position, very light prone pull straps, seated chest expansion (light springs).

She is bound to be tight in the chest/front of shoulders her mid back/lower ribcage, and in her hip flexors. So you need to help her stretch these while strengthening the complementary muscles (triceps, back of shoulder blades, obliques and abs, pelvic floor, gluteals, leg abductors, inner thighs, hamstrings.

Has she been cleared by her doctor to exercise?

Feel free to ask more questions!



Pilates Allegro Footstrap Question

Q: Lynda, I have an Allegro pilates reformer (which I love!) and just purchased the box and a foot strap. Where is the strap supposed to be attached? I tried the area by the springs, but then I'm too close and my legs aren't straight. I also tried the area on the back of the footplate, where the wheels would attach if I didn't have the 14 inch feet. That sort of worked, but still didn't seem right. Any other suggestions?
Thanks! Laurie

A: Hi Laurie, The foot strap does go in the area by the springs for the Pilates short box series. The box can be moved back to sit on top of the shoulder blocks instead of in front of them, and you could try sitting back a little bit further on the box. Also, your legs do not have to completely straight for the short box series and the legs should be up enough to catch under the strap.
If this doesn't work it may be that the strap is too long (they make 2 lengths). Just call Balanced Body and get the correct length strap. Hope this helps! Lynda

Laurie then replied to let me know that all she needed to do was shift the box back and the foot strap worked just fine!

Pilates with Ring & Foam Roller Mp3

About.com's Pilates expert Marguerite Ogle recently reviewed my Pilates on Ring and Foam Roller MP3 and really enjoyed it! In her review, Pilates Ring and Foam Roller Workouts on MP3: Pilates MP3 Downloads from Lynda Lippin Marguerite says,

The Pilates ring workout opens with a great butt and thigh toning sequence. I remember thinking: Oh good, bathing suit weather is right around the corner (it's December as I write this). Not to be outdone, the arms get a good workout too.

And continues,

The foam roller workout is a nice combination of fundamental moves, inventive stretches, and massages with the roller. If you've ever wondered what to do with a foam roller, you will get good ideas here.

A solid 30 minute Pilates workout for only $7.77 - a bargain!

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