Monday, 25 October 2010

Pilates, sciatica and "health walk"

Disclaimer:  the information given here  is NOT a substitute for any advice given to you by your physician. Always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning exercise program.

It is recommended that everyone should be physically active for 30 minutes a day on at least five days a week.  A "health walk" and exercises such as Pilates  are  a good way of keeping physically active.  Only 37% of men and 24% of women meet the recommended time on physical activity.

The short definition of a health walk is:

"a purposeful, brisk walk undertaken on a regular basis" *  However, although many people want to walk they can't because they are either unfit or suffer physical conditions.  Some of the  physical conditions can be sciatica, which is a pain all the way  down a leg. 

In technical terms, sciatica is a symptom not a diagnosis.  This term is commonly used to describe symptoms  when the pain radiates downwards from the buttock over the posterior or lateral side of the leg. Commonly it is assumed to be caused by compression of a nerve but this is not always the case.   To determine the problem it's important to have  a CT or an MRI scan. These scans will show clearly and quickly if there is any problem in the spinal cord.  Some times the problem is due to a bulging disc (slip disc). 

Staying active in mot cases is beneficial and may help.  Pilates can be the ideal exercise for those who suffering from sciatica. Not all the Pilates exercises would be suitable but exercises that involve pelvic tilts, knee lifts and to the chest, hip rotation, extending opposite arm and leg may help.  One of my clients whose pain due to sciatica was sever so much that she could not walk, after four sessions said "People used to tell me "you must walk". I didn't walk because I was in pain. Since coming here I'm able to walk, it's like a miracle" .

Pilates not only will help to eliminate  or reduce pains that prevent walking but also will improve posture.  Unfortunately there are a lot people who do walk a lot however their postures need attention.

A walk without pain it's not only enjoyable but will give mental health benefits, increase "good" cholesterol, help manage weight, improve sleep.  A brisk walk will also improve heart and lung functions and reduce blood pressure.

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