Pilates vs Yoga

The difference between Pilates and yoga

Pilates vs Yoga

The short answer?

They are both INCREDIBLE forms of exercise that help a person to better understand and connect with their bodies.

Pilates helps you to stabilise using the correct muscles and is therefore very good for people with hypermobility or an excess of flexibility (these are the people who have always been able to flop forward and touch their toes without blinking an eye).

Yoga includes postures or positions that actively work on flexibility. It is therefore very good for stiff people or those with high tone (people who feel like their eyeball will pop out if they even think about touching their toes).

On the physical level:

Pilates does this by strengthening the core muscles of the body. When I say ‘core’ here, I mean so much more than the crunches and clams that people normally think of when someone says Pilates. It teaches you where the core is, what it does and how to correctly engage it. It also teaches you where the neutral positions are – in the spine and the rest of the body.

Yoga allows you to connect with your body in various postures, encouraging you to understand for yourself what is happening in your own body. A yoga class will involve several postures (these are also called asana) that you either hold or fluidly move through.

Both of these forms of exercises can be done in a more relaxing or a more challenging way.

Used with Physiotherapy:

As a physio, I started my movement training with Pilates. Pilates complements physiotherapy beautifully and it helped me to better use exercises to help patients in the rehabilitation process. Movement is incredibly important in the healing process. It usually does return after an injury, but it can return very slowly and there are always compensations and weaknesses that develop in the process.  I often use Pilates to overcome these compensations and weaknesses and get people moving WELL after an injury.  This is why many people will have experienced Pilates as a ‘rehab’ type of exercise.

In terms of yoga, I was drawn to it because of the holistic approach to movement and the focus on the mind-body connection. The asana, or exercise, is only one small part of yoga. Yoga encourages a person to look at all aspects of their life and to find balance. This is also essential to consider when your hope is to help someone heal.

All of that being said, I believe that finding the right teacher and class is as important as deciding what exercise to do. If the teacher has valuable knowledge that they are able to communicate with you, in an environment where you feel guided and supported, then it doesn’t really matter what kind of movement you do.

I love both of these forms of exercise and, as with many things to do with the body, there isn’t a straightforward answer when it comes to which one a person should or shouldn’t do. I would say you don’t have to pick one, do both.

What Is Dry Needling

What is dry needling?

What Is Dry Needling

At Tamsin Hodgson Physiotherapy we aim to provide a magnitude of different treatment techniques that we believe will best support our patients journey to more efficient and effective ways of movement. Dry needling has been one of the brilliant techniques we choose, together with our patients, to assist with pain management. So let’s get into the detail around it all.

Dry needling is one of the many techniques Physiotherapists can use to alleviate pain. A thin needle is inserted into your muscle(s) to hit and deactivate trigger points (muscle knots). The term “dry” simply refers to the needle not injecting anything into your body eg.medication.

The next question, and one we receive a few times a day at the practice is…

What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?

There can be similarity in what the needles may look like as well as the techniques used however, “it’s the philosophies and applications that make them different.”

“While it’s been around for centuries, dry needling uses modern neuro-anatomy, musculoskeletal anatomy, and Western medicine’s concepts to affect the way your muscles move and function, locally, whereas acupuncture is a holistic medicine-type approach that uses the philosophy of energy systems, meridians, and qi flows,” Matt Briggs, PhD, A Physical Therapist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center says. This centre is a leading researcher in pelvic pain and well as dry needling for knee injuries.

So in essence and what you will experience at the practice is a Western medicine concept. The Physio will palpate/identify a taut band within your tissue. This point is often where the needle is inserted. For many of you who have experienced needling with us before, this is the time when you’d typically feel that muscle twitch (and possibly think out a few swear words). From a more academic sense, this is referred to as a Local Twitch Response. The therapeutic intent for dry needling then is to correct underlying biochemical and biomechanical imbalances, where as acupuncture’s intent is to balance Qi/energy.

Hopefully that makes sense!

What is the needle doing?

Once the needle has been inserted into your muscle, there is an interruption within your neural response. That is, the message being relayed between your brain and your spinal cord. As a result, this positive boost can shift how your muscle is able to move and therefore perform its range of functions. Due to your brain receiving different messages, there can also be a change in how you perceive pain. Research has also shown needling changes muscle stimulation, triggering greater blood flow, healing, and improved movement.

Is dry needling helpful for new injuries?

Needling can relieve pain from acute or chronic problems. With the body providing compensatory patterns, areas that aren’t necessarily directly affected by an injury, can impact the pain you’re experiencing. So while it wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable if you’d just sprained your ankle, and you had a needle jabbed into it, we could needle your calf muscle which may be feeling tight from walking in a different pattern in an attempt to offload your ankle. This type of needling would aim to relax your calf muscle, creating a pain-relieving response. In turn, you’d experience increased blood flow to assist with healing.

With chronic injuries, and pain you’ve been experiencing long-term, dry needling can be used in combination with other treatments to reinforce different patterns. “These type of injuries can restrict movement in an effort to protect your body and, over time, if that’s not resolved it can create compensation as different parts of your body become overloaded. A lot of times you have pain and that causes muscle spasms and muscle tightness, which causes more pain,” Briggs says. “We use dry needling to break that cycle.”

How many sessions would we incorporate dry needling?

Often, as you start strengthening different muscles, it is normal to experience muscle discomfort. Dry needling could assist with changing the spasm pattern, while you concurrently follow the programme we’ve shared with you to strengthen and improve your range.

While this may be beneficial, if you’ve been needled in your previous session and had nightmares about returning for your next Physio treatment – we wouldn’t suggest needling again just to stick with the course.

“Dry needling is just an adjunct to other treatments; it’s not meant to be the sole treatment,” Briggs explains. “It’s used to get over the hump of why performance is being restricted, or to help rehab you from injury.”

Who can be dry needled?

At the practice, we conduct a thorough assessment looking at a wide range of variables before we decide to offer needling. It’s important, through assessment techniques, to understand where your pain or muscle imbalance may be coming from.

We wouldn’t needle anyone with a bleeding disorder, signs of infection, active cancer or anyone who’s pregnant. There are also other conditions we’ll take into account before offering to use dry needling. And it should go without saying that if you feel like you want to faint at the thought/sight of a needle, then we wouldn’t suggest this for you either.

Your safely is our first priority.

What does it feel like?

Mmmm, how to answer this without totally scaring you off…

Simply put, it’s not a feeling you can control. You don’t normally feel much when the needle is being tapped into your muscle. It is when the needle gets closer to the dysfunctional area that you can experience some tightness or slight deep aching.

It can also feel a bit odd when the muscle twitches, and again you don’t have any control over how big the response will be. Sometimes it can take patients by surprise when there is a noticeable “ jump” sign. Other times the response is less noticeable. The good news is we haven’t had anyone fall off a plinth or jump through the roof, so chances are you’ll manage.

That “jump” sign can also feel sensitive when there is a release in tension. Each person is different, so sensations will vary.

Due to the fact that the needle is increasing blood flow to the area, it is common to experience muscle soreness and tenderness after needling. Bruising is also common and a bit of heat goes a long way to help manage the discomfort around this. We will offer you a heat pack that you can use while you’re still at the practice.

What are the most commonly treated areas?

At the practice we most commonly use dry needling for the glutes, quads and calves as well as shoulders, jaws and necks.

How can I tell if the Physiotherapist I want to see has been trained in dry needling?

As dry needling is not taught within our undergraduate training, Physiotherapists can choose to receive postgraduate dry needling certifications. Often Physiotherapy websites will demonstrate their areas of practice, however if you’re after dry needling specifically it’s a good idea to call and ask before your appointment.

All our Physiotherapists at Tamsin Hodgson Physiotherapy are certified in dry needling, and you’re welcome to read up about each Physiotherapist on our website to see who you’d prefer to book an appointment with.

Should you be thinking this may be a great way to exempt you from household/kid duties afterwards, no, we don’t write “sick” notes to partners.

We hope this shed some light on the benefits of dry needling.

When Should I See A Physio

When should I see a Physiotherapist?

When Should I See A Physiotherapist Medicine Ball

Most people who sustain an injury or experience muscle/joint pain will seek treatment in the hope of resolving their issue. Often they are not sure who to see, or when to seek treatment. In our first blog post, we aim to shed some light on when to seek treatment and with whom. We get asked a lot about what the difference is between Physiotherapists and Biokineticists (don’t worry there are a lot of medical people who don’t know the difference either), as well as the difference between Physiotherapists and Chiropractors. What is the difference between Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists? Do you know whether you need to see a GP before you can see a Physio? Keep reading if you want to know the answers….

Are there different kinds of Physio?

There are lots of different fields of Physiotherapy. Most people are only aware of Physios working in private practices or on the side of the sports fields. However, Physio is a very diverse field. The undergraduate training for Physio includes: Chest physiotherapy both for adults and children treating conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, intubated patients and post- cardiac surgery; Neurodevelopmental training for treating children and adults with disorders of the neural system such as stroke or Cerebral Palsy; Orthopaedics which is focused on the recovery of fractures or trauma to the bones and surrounding structures; Women’s Health Physio for pre and post-natal care; and Neuro-musculo-skeletal  (NMS) which is what Physios are most commonly known for, this includes spinal pain and sports injuries. Physios are closely aligned with the other medical fraternities through this exposure to the medical training in their undergraduate level. Some Physios continue to work within a hospital or medical team setting once they are qualified. This is something that differentiates the Physios from the Chiros; the Chiros are not as closely aligned with the medical/in-hospital services. (It also has to do with the bureaucracy of governing bodies, Physios fall under the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) while Chiros do not).

Even within the private practice setting in the NMS section of Physio you can have a spectrum of Physios. Many of the skills and training that set Physios apart happens after the undergraduate training. In SA there are two main schools of post graduate training in the orthopaedic/musculoskeletal field, the Sports course (SPT) and the Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy (OMT). Both courses run the duration of a year and require the successful completion of examinations to receive a diploma. The training in these courses vastly improves a Physiotherapist’s ability to complete a thorough assessment and to undergo a clinical reasoning process to ensure an accurate diagnosis or an appropriate referral.

What is the difference between a Physio and Biokineticist?

Physios are recognised as having first line practitioner status which is defined by the HPCSA as the following: A first line status practitioner has the autonomy to make an independent diagnosis and treat such a condition, provided it falls within his/her scope of practice. It is therefore legally and ethically acceptable for a patient to approach a physio for treatment without the intervention of another health care practitioner. In simple terms this means that you do not require a referral letter to see a Physio and that Physios are able to refer you for basic diagnostic tests such as an X-ray and/or an Ultrasound. So if you have a sprained ankle, sore back, headache etc. you do not need to see your GP first, you can come straight to the Physio.

A Bio is not recognised as a first line practitioner. A Bios scope of practice is defined by the HPCSA as final stage rehabilitation through exercise prescription. In other words they use exercise, and only exercise to assist you in recovering from an injury and improving your wellbeing. It is therefore out of their scope of practice to perform any hands on techniques such as myofascial release, joint mobilisation/manipulation, massage or dry needling.

Here is a practical example of when you would see a Physio or a Bio: If you were post knee surgery the Orthopaedic surgeon should refer you to the Physio for some hands on treatment and basic exercises. These will be aimed at reducing pain and swelling, and increasing your mobility. If you are still on crutches the Physios will assist you with how to use them correctly. Very often you will see a Physio in the hospital prior to being discharged. As your range increases and your pain decreases the Physio will increase your exercises. If your Physio is trained in rehabilitation and has the correct facilities they can take you all the way to your end stage of rehab and return to sport. If not, this is when they would refer you to see a Bio.

What is difference between a Physio and a Chiropractor?

Physios and Chiros both share the honour of having first line practitioner status, in other words you do not need to be referred to make an appointment, and they are able to refer you for X-rays and musculoskeletal ultrasounds. A Chiropractor is a health care professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine. They often have fairly short treatment sessions that may require repeat visits to maintain the ‘alignment/adjustment’. Physiotherapists are also able to manipulate the spine if they have completed a diploma in Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy (OMT). So if you are only interested in spinal manipulation as a treatment technique and want to be ‘clicked’ into place, then traditionally the Chiro would be better suited to your needs. Traditionally Physios use more of a combination of joint mobilisation/manipulation, soft tissue mobilisation, dry needling and exercise in their treatment approach. An example of when to see a Physio vs a Chiro: If you have a sprained ankle you would be better off seeing a Physio with an interest in sport injuries/rehabilitation than a Chiro who specialises in spinal manipulation.

What is difference between a Physio and Massage therapist?

Massage is very useful for therapeutic or relaxation purposes. Massage therapy can take several different forms for example lymph drainage, sports massage, Thai massage- etc. Massage therapists are certified by their institute of learning, and are not in any way educated in diagnosis or rehabilitation. For example, if you have completed a race and you have general overall body stiffness then a massage would be beneficial. If you have completed a race and you have a pain in your knee or back then it might be worth seeing a Physio. The Physio will be able to assess your problem area, as well as the rest of your body, to be able to make an accurate diagnosis. The Physio can then use massage as well as other techniques such as taping/needling/joint mobilisations to treat the immediate problem but also to look at trying to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

When Should I See A Physiotherapist

Things to remember when seeking treatment

The approach of the healthcare practitioner is often determined by the level of skill and training of that practitioner, and their particular field of interest. As with any profession you get the good and the bad, so just make sure that you do your research or get a ‘word of mouth’ referral before seeing a new practitioner. Google reviews and social media are also great with helping to get a sense of the practice/practitioner.

When would you seek treatment?

Common sense should prevail, and usually the sooner rather than later rule should be applied. Even with acute injuries there may be limited hands on treatment in the first few days, however the advice that we can give you could make a big difference in setting up the scene for a positive and speedy healing experience, for example giving you crutches if indicated or referring you for the correct bracing etc. Being well informed and accurately assessed is key to long term recovery.

So why see us??

At Tamsin Hodgson Physiotherapy we believe that finding the source of the problem is extremely important in resolving the issue and restoring optimal function. Hence all of our therapists are either SPT or OMT trained- in other words we have extra training to help us make a more accurate diagnosis. Our first sessions are always 45 minutes to an hour long so that we have enough time to listen to our clients, make an accurate diagnosis and create an individualised treatment plan. We strongly believe in rehabilitation which is why all our Physios are further trained as Pilates instructors. Some are even dual trained as Pilates and Yoga instructors, and Pilates and Gyrokinesis instructors. We also offer a variety of classes run on site, by our Physios, to help clients stick to their ‘home’ programmes and achieve their goals.  We love what we do and sharing our passion for our incredible bodies with our clients.

When should I see a Physiotherapist Cape Town