Yup, you read that headline right. Depending on your circumstance, it is absolutely possible to avoid pill popping (and perhaps even prevent a pain management situation altogether) by incorporating Pilates into your fitness routine and lifestyle.
Whether you’ve thrown your back out from lifting weights, tweaked your knee during that marathon training or want to proactively prevent sports-related injury, there ARE healthy alternatives (read: no addicting drugs!) to relieve pain and get back in the gym. And with our state – and our Miami community – facing an opioid crisis, it’s clearly time that we all think twice before turning to highly addictive medications, like fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine and tramadol, to manage our aches and pains.
According to the Miami Herald, prescription painkillers have caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of overdoses in South Florida in recent years. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a statewide opioid epidemic and called for new regulations and $50 million in new funding from the state to address the problem.
Thankfully, there is good news. We have the ability to mend our own bodies naturally through corrective exercise, specifically Pilates. By focusing on proper breathing, postural alignment, improved mobility and increased stability, the mindful movement of Pilates creates improved body awareness and refined motion. These changes may benefit many pain sufferers. Here’s how:
- Reduced torque on joints, such as the knees, hips and spine, directly reduces pain and inflammation.
- Improved breathing helps increase oxygen flow to the body, assisting damaged tissues during the healing process.
- Positive, pain-free movement increases the release of endorphins and dopamine, allowing the body to feel better and move more.
- Increased body awareness helps us become more cognizant of our bodies outside of the studio, reducing the likelihood of injury during both physical activity and everyday motions.
- Strong and mobile bodies are the solution not only for quicker injury recovery but also for lifelong injury prevention.
While pain meds can be an appealing magic bullet, natural methods – while under the supervision of a trained professional – are safe, effective, and at the very least, worth a try. At Pilates in the Grove, we are seeing more and more folks from all walks of life (including doctors!) utilizing the exercise as a replacement (or complement) for pain meds, injections and even surgery. And that’s why we are working hard to become part of the opioid solution by educating our clients and providing them with customized Pilates programming.
As always, it’s important to consult with a medical professional (Pilates in the Grove is also a comprehensive patient centered Physical Therapy facility) to determine your best treatment plan, but it’s just as important for active people to know that there are options beyond the prescription pad. And we all need a little support while navigating our journey to a healthy, pain-free life.
-Christa Gurka, MSPT, PMA-CPT