Category Archives: Release Your Pilates Body

5 Ways to Relieve Back Pain

The bad news is most of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives.  The good news is most of it is due to muscle strain and will go away through time.  But no need to grin and bear it!  Here are some quick and easy ways to get relief now!

Increase your endorphins!  These are natural pain-suppressing proteins released by your brain through physical activity, laughter and meditation.




Heat and/or Ice is nice! People often ask me which is right and when?  The rule of thumb is within the first 24-48 hours ice to reduce inflammation (A bag of frozen peas works wonders).  Heat increases circulation, stimulates blood flow and brings healing nutrients to the site of pain. Microwave a moist towel and relax!

Over-the-counter meds. Some reduce pain, some reduce inflammation, some are combined to do both. Nsaids reduce inflammation (Aleve, Aspirin, Advil, Motrin). Tylenol reduces pain but is not an anti-inflammatory.  Take a FULL glass of water with all meds and follow interval dosing on label. It’s easier to keep pain at bay than get rid of it.

Massage. You can do it your self with a foam roller and tennis balls but it’s so much nicer to have it done by a professional massage therapist. Ahhhhh…




Topical Treatments. These heat and cool skin with menthol, wintergreen or eucalyptus oil (Biofreeze, Icy Hot, Flexall, Tiger Balm). Some creams have aspirin (Bengay, Aspercream).  Homeopathic medicine includes Arnica gel (reduce inflammation and bruising)

For more ways to manage and prevent back pain, check out my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Back Pain.


Feel Better in 60-Seconds (or less!)

Back Pain is the second most common ailment in the United States (headaches are number one).  Most back pain is lifestyle and work related.  If you spend tons of time at a computer – this stretch will help you feel better in your body in less than 60-seconds.  Try it!

Check out my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Back Pain, for more ways to be painfree.  Now available for Kindle!



Pilates Mat vs Machine, which is better?

Pilates was originally a one-on-one training system.  Today, most people are introduced to Pilates through mat classes.  There are benefits to both but to truly understand the work and gain the benefits; private sessions on the machines can’t be beat. The springs both support and challenge you.  Most of all, with good instruction, you’re taught how to work correctly. Just a few sessions will completely change your mat workout and bring better body awareness to all you do.

Here are just a few advantages to using Pilates machines:

  • Spring-based machines assist and challenge deep core muscles. Instructor ensures proper alignment and technique
  • Range of motion increased through machine assistance
  • Easier to find and develop the deep core muscles.  Machines and instructor help ensure you find them
  • Customized to your needs, fitness and goals


While there are variations among styles of Pilates, they all focus on developing strength and flexibility by stabilizing core muscles.   The work, whether mat or machine, is based on several key principles.  The emphasis is quality of over quantity of movement.  In other words, you can accomplish a lot in new concentrated repetition versus doing 500 mindless sloppy exercises.

  • Concentration – the mind and body connect to improve focus and awareness
  • Control – movements are neither jerky nor momentum based
  • Fluidity – exercises are fluid, not static or isolated, we move in space
  • Precision – each exercise has unique benefits which is gained through focusing on the details
  • Breath – full inhales and exhales help you contact your core, energize and revitalize your being
  • Oppositions – using opposing forces develops strength, awareness, and control

Pilates, whether mat or machine, will improve all you do. From yoga to kayaking to picking up groceries, the core is the foundation of all movement.  Pilates builds core strength, increases flexibility, and improves stamina, coordination, concentration and control.  All you need do is show up and enjoy your workout!