Is Your Pilates Class Leaving You with a Splitting Headache?
What is a Headache?
Most headaches develop when blood vessels around the brain are inflamed, which stretches the nerves within and sends shock waves of pain to the head, neck and face.
Regular cardio usually lessens this reaction, thanks in part to a boost of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which are released during exercise.
Working out also improves blood flow to the brain and reduces muscle tension and fatigue — all of which minimizes blood vessel inflammation.
What’s more, physically inactive adults are at least one and a half times more likely to suffer from recurring headaches and migraines than those who exercise vigorously at least three times a week, a recent Swedish study found.
There are several types of headache:
Mechanical or Cervicogenic Headache – These less common headaches can develop during exercise or activity. These headaches usually develop as a result of mechanical trauma to the cervical spine. Whiplash injuries fit in this category, but also performing exercises with improper form that puts strain on the structures (discs and ligaments) of the cervical spine. These headaches can be resolved by correcting the mechanical stress causing the headaches. For example, learning correct form during the exercises, correcting posture and balancing the structures of the cervical spine.
Migraines – This type of headache usually develops as a result of a chemical or vascular issue. Obstruction to proper blood flow or an allergic reaction can lead to these types of headaches.
Tension Headaches – This is the most common form of headache. These headaches typically develop as a result of an increase in tightness and tension of the muscles of the neck region. The upper trapezius muscle, in particular, originates at the base of the occiput (skull). When then muscle becomes tight and restricted, it can result in a tension headache. Most of these headaches can lessen when the tense muscles are stretched or released through massage. Retraining this area to better balance the muscles of the neck can reduce the incident of tension headaches.
Why Pilates Would Be Causing Your Headache
While Pilates is designed to improve posture awareness, strength and flexibility, certain “bowing” exercises when not performed correctly, can result in a mechanical headache.
A large portion of the classical Pilates exercises asks the participants to bow during the exercises. Exercises such as the Hundred, Double Leg Stretch and CrossOver incorporates bowing in the exercise in order to challenge the abdominal muscles. However, as participants fatigue or use the neck muscles in order to accomplish the bow, this strains the structures of the cervical spine. Possibly resulting in a headache.
How You Can Fix Your Pilates Practice So You Don’t Leave With a Headache
What is the best way to avoid developing a headache during your Pilates practice? It is important to learn the proper way to bow so as to engage the abdominals and not the neck muscles during all the exercises. It is also important to know when you are fatiguing and to take the bow out of the exercise when necessary to avoid straining the structures of the neck.
ABS Pilates of Sunbury, Ohio offers Pilates classes and private Pilates sessions to properly teach the correct form of all exercises. The Pilates classes and private sessions are also designed to gradually build the strength of the abdominals so that participants are able to perform the exercises with correct form and endurance of all the muscles of the body.
ABS Pilates offers Pilates classes and Private sessions to Columbus and all the surrounding areas including but not limited to Sunbury, Columbus, Gahanna, Westerville, Galena and New Albany.
All Pilates classes and private sessions at ABS Pilates of Sunbury, Ohio are lead by Amanda B. Smith, licensed physical therapist, McKenzie certified therapist and certified Pilates instructor with more than 25 years of experience.
Local Pilates Classes
Contact ABS Pilates today and make sure you are learning the correct way to improve abdominal strength, posture awareness and flexibility.
Amanda B. Smith
ABS Pilates, LLC
238 South State Route 605
Sunbury, OH. 43074