Follow us on

594 Broadway #904, Soho, NY 10012 | info@mongoosebw.com |

212.431.8377

  Pilates and neck issues People often don’t think of Pilates as targeting the neck and shoulders, or being especially helpful for neck pain. In fact, I often hear of people developing neck strain when they take Pilates mat classes. This is not only entirely avoidable but there are also Pilates based exercises that improve upper body mechanics. Often neck and shoulder pain starts because of the misalignment of the upper spine. If the head is forward of the spine, like it is when someone looks down at a computer screen, it puts a lot of strain of the upper back muscles. These muscles become both long and tight, sometimes called “locked long”. There are simple exercises on both the mat and the equipment that help to bring the upper spine back into alignment and create endurance in the muscles that keep it there. It should be noted that in older people this kyphotic posture may be due to small fractures in the spine. It is still beneficial to work on upper back extension but know that they may never regain full mobility. The next thing to consider is the placement of the shoulder blades. If the shoulder blades are habitually elevated the muscles on the top of the shoulder blades will shorten and the muscles below the shoulder blades may become de-conditioned. Finding the right “place” for the shoulder blades is not always as simple as stretching the tight ones and strengthening the weak ones. Although that approach helps, I have also seen that tactic plateau rather quickly. To achieve optimum “dynamic” alignment of the upper body one needs to re-educate the shoulder and neck muscles to contract and relax when needed and to not over work or under work in the process of moving. Of course this is best done with a skilled Pilates instructor who can see the movement dysfunction and cue the client back into a more efficient movement pattern. If you have any neck or shoulder issues that you would like to have us look at, come visit us at Mongoose Bodyworks in Soho, NYC. Halle Clarke Owner Mongoose Bodyworks A boutique Pilates Studio in Soho New York City, 10012