One of the first things I tell new clients when they are starting Pilates is, “Pilates should not hurt!”. If something hurts, then we need to adjust the exercise. Modifying the exercise in a way that it can be effective for your body. This will help you create balance and strength so you can continue to progress without pain.
One of the most common places people notice neck pain, is while doing any exercise called an upper ab curl. This movement specifically involves lifting your head off of the mat. At the same time, curling toward your body as you roll to approximately the tips of your shoulder blades. This movement is fundamental in many traditional Pilates exercises. Although it can, and should, be modified as needed for individual bodies.
If you’re brand new to Pilates, jumping into a large group class might sound like the way to go. But without any specific training on how to do the movements properly in their body, it’s easy to end up feeling like you’re straining your neck and not feeling the work of the movement throughout the rest of the body.
Pilates movements are designed to integrate the whole body. Figuring out where you need to work more or less so you are not in pain is often not as easy as simply changing an exercise to an “easier” version. Sometimes just changing how you think about an exercise, or what you focus on, can completely change how an exercise feels in your body, and make it more effective. This is where working one on one with a trained instructor can be highly beneficial. An instructor can help you try different variations. Or even just change your focus on an exercise, and this can completely change how you do an exercise.
If you’ve tried Pilates, and have experienced neck pain, consider working one on one with Amy. Often times just one or two sessions can give you enough insight into how to improve your body movements. This way you’ll be able to continue your practice without pain, and with a better knowledge of your own body and how to adjust it.