A few weeks ago during the spell of wintry weather I posted this image on social media as a “tongue-in-cheek” joke. Many of you know that #CrackOn is very much at the centre of my teaching style and it is not just slightly callous and unsympathetic, but is based on a belief that in order to help and encourage our clients we need to give them a sense of empowerment, self responsibility and fearlessness. This belief needs to be the bedrock of our teaching, especially with the many clients we have who suffer with back pain.
In a wonderful podcast with Raphael Bender, he states that in pulling together all the different guidelines for managing Low Back Pain across the world, the two largest influences are reassurance and movement
As Pilates teachers we need to help clients feel confident, in control and ultimately epic every session they do with us! Obviously we screen our client thoroughly, but if you consider that approximately 95% of low back pain is non specific, i.e. has no actual pathology, and that they will recover relatively quickly, we need to encourage them to still move and continue with everyday tasks.
We need to be incredibly careful in our language to ensure we do not create fear-based movement. For example, saying, “if your neck hurts, put your head down.” does not actually encourage the client to consider how to progress in the exercise but rather simply to avoid the move. Instead we could say “to help bring the head into a space which feels free, prop up the mid back with a mini ball”
Often as teachers we are afraid of causing damage. It is essential to understand that if a client feels pain in the session, it does not necessarily mean damage. After a class they may feel an increase in pain but this, more than likely, is nothing to do with the controlled movement you have done, but rather simply that pain naturally increases and decreases. So just as they may feel less pain after they may also feel more, it probably has nothing to do with the class!
This one is easy! Actually though, research shows that any exercise is good-not just Pilates! So it is not so much what you teach i.e. a shoulder bridge, a swan dive but rather how you teach, engendering the confidence, independence and assurance in positive movement experiences.
So saying #CrackOn in a caring, warm, dynamic kind of way is exactly what we need to say!