Experiencing Neck Pain in Pilates?

Why You Should Look for a New Pilates Teacher

If I had one dollar for every time I heard a new client complain about their previous Pilates training causing neck pain, I would have a full piggy bank. The conversation usually goes like this:

  • “What stream of Pilates were you doing?”
    • Often the client will not have asked to see teacher certifications or they attempted to learn from a book or DVD.
  • “Did you complete medical forms and have a consultation as to whether you needed to have a posture and gait analysis?”
    •  The response is usually “No.”
  • “Were you instructed in any of these Fundamentals of Pilates?”
  • Breathing and contraction of deep core muscles
  • Cervical Nod
  • Nose Circles
  • Head Float
    • Pilates Reformer Class
      •  The response is usually “No.”  
  • “How long did you train in Pilates before you were taught the exercise Hundred?”

Clients may have dropped into classes without being screened or they attempted to learn from a book or DVD. Hundred is not a beginner exercise nor is it good for certain postural problems.

Lack of Industry Regulation

The issue of neck pain should not be happening but it is all too common. In the case of those who attended classes, it stems from a lack of regulation in the industry and the subsequent proliferation of so-called Pilates classes being offered by those who have not been properly certified or who do not teach basic fundamentals. Certain streams of Pilates also contribute to the problem. Personal Trainers and Yoga teachers are not Pilates teachers unless they are certified in Pilates. Teachers certified in mat work only are not qualified to teach on equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac and Wunda Chair. The Pilates method is amazing for conditioning, strength training and for prevention of injuries. It is often successful when other methods of rehabilitation fail to help, but it must be taught safely and appropriately. New students should not be dropping into Pilates classes without being screened as noted above. It doesn’t matter what their fitness level is in other types of fitness. For example, someone who has been training in a gym may be only accessing global core muscles and not deep core stabilizers. It may take a few months of Pilates training before they actually access and feel deep core muscles… Read my blog on how to make a decision about what Pilates class is right for you: http://www.pacificspiritpilates.com/top-ten-questions-pilates-mat-or-reformer/

Check for Certifications

In a discussion on Linked-In in a Pilates professional group, one so-called Pilates teacher stated that he knew of a popular teacher who was good and not certified and he did not see the necessity of certification. I have no doubt that he was talking about himself. My response was in part that the so-called teacher did not know what he had not learned nor did his clients…

 What Does it Take to Become Certified in the Pilates Method?

Getting properly certified in Pilates means studying Anatomy and Anatomy of Movement, the Principles and Fundamentals of Pilates and all levels of mat exercises. Beyond mat, you go on to study equipment exercises: Reformer, Cadillac and Wunda Chair. There are over 500 modifiable exercises. In addition, there are practice teaching hours, self-practice and Pilates class attendance hours along with exercise training and lecture hours. This is just the beginning. After that, there are in-depth courses too numerous to go into here. Teachers, training in Body Harmonics program can expect comprehensive training in anatomy and biomechanics, postural and gait analysis, core stability systems, functional movement, balance and proprioceptive re-education and injury post-rehabilitation. Body Harmonics mandate is to help teachers-in-training learn to help their clients discover the limitless potential that optimal movement provides us. Have you been thinking about teaching Pilates? Join us in July at Pacific Spirit Pilates for Body Harmonics Pilates Teacher Training:  http://www.pacificspiritpilates.com/teacher-training/