Do you suffer from neck stiffness and shoulder pain? Millions of Canadians and Americans do, and the way to treat this nagging problem may be as close as your nearest Pilates studio. In a lot of cases, the neck pain and/or shoulder pain or tension comes from either overusing these muscles from doing your favorite sport (golf, tennis, or martial arts) or not having proper body mechanics, and having a lot of muscular compensations or simply using improper muscles to do certain repetetive movements.
A Pilates Fitness Program for Neck Stiffness and Shoulder Pain?
A recent study published in Clinical Biomechanics (view study here) showed that a Pilates fitness program could be the key to reducing chronic neck and shoulder pain in some people. For this study, a group of study participants who suffered from neck stiffness and shoulder pain participated in a Pilates fitness program consisting of Pilates moves for the shoulders, abdomen, and Pilates exercises designed to build better posture. After completing the program, the participants not only had greater abdominal muscle strength but also showed changes in neck and shoulder anatomy and better postural alignment that should lead to less neck and shoulder pain.
Why Does a Pilates Program for Neck and Shoulder Pain Work?
A Pilates fitness program is effective because it stretches and elongates the neck and shoulder muscles by using slow, controlled movements that emphasize good form. This not only builds strength but does so without increasing the risk of injury. It also teaches correct breathing techniques and relaxation which may also have a beneficial effect on neck stiffness and shoulder pain. Pilates moves are designed to build better posture and improve your body mechanics to reduce overuse of neck and shoulder muscles when not needed.
Before Entering a Pilates Fitness Program
It’s important that anyone experiencing neck stiffness and shoulder pain be cleared by a doctor before doing any kind of workout since exercise could be risky for people with certain types of neck and should problems. Some Pilates moves may increase the risk of neck and shoulder injury if done incorrectly, so it’s best to start with beginner Pilates exercises where the correct form can be mastered before moving on to more advanced exercises. Some exercises may need to be modified in people who have neck pain. That is why it is important to work with a certified Pilates instructor who can get you assessed first and build a custom workout plan focusing on lengthening and strengthening specific muscle groups that are relevant for your posture type.
How to Get Started?
When starting out, people who suffer from neck stiffness and shoulder pain may be best served by getting a few private lessons from an instructor before entering a class to learn the proper form and technique for reducing neck strain and to know their exercise modifications if needed. It’s important to be aware of any neck stiffness or should pain and take a break if pain or discomfort occurs. The bottom line? If done correctly, a Pilates fitness program could make neck and shoulder pain feel a whole lot better and sooner than you may think.
So why holding yourself back and suffer from pain and tension over and over again? We offer private Pilates classes in-person and online and small group pilates classes in Milton, Halton Hills, Mississauga, and Georgetown. Contact us today to set up your consultation and see how we can help you to live with less pain and enjoy your active lifestyle.