Pilates Enhances Performance of your “Machine”


Your body is an elegantly designed machine. Machines are designed so that each part works correctly in relation to the other parts. Then the machine runs efficiently, is functional, long-lasting and durable. Pilates-based exercise can help your body to be the most functional machine possible.

Most people have heard of Pilates but struggle to describe it. Patients in our physical therapy clinic sometimes ask what “Pilates is” and if they should “do it”. Let’s de-mystify Pilates and explore the benefits of incorporating this type of exercise into our lives.

What is Pilates?

Pilates was originally called “Contrology” by its creator, a German-born American named Josef Pialtes. He developed this system of exercise in the earlier part of the 20th century to help himself, and eventually many others, to become strong, stable, and functional.
The Pilates method teaches people to use their bodies correctly. It starts with simple, basic exercises and progresses to more complex movement as participants are ready. The result is muscles that work as designed and joints that are aligned. Posture is improved, body awareness is developed, joint and muscle flexibility is optimal, muscle power output is better. Core strength is emphasized so the body has the best support system possible. Thus, the human body “machine” works the very best it can, needs fewer repairs, and feels the best it can (this machine has nerves for feeling). And we haven’t even talked about looking better!

The Benefits of Pilates

A body that is working the best it can is more successful at athletic endeavors, can move through daily activities with ease, can allow people to be more confident in trying new things. Imagine the possibilities: yard work is easier, playing on the floor with grand children is an option, training for an athletic event without injury is possible. I could go on, but instead just ask yourself what physical activity is important to you? How is it going? Would a strong, stable, flexible body improve this activity?

Ways to Practice Pilates

Basic Pilates movements are learned on a mat in normal body positions: laying on back, stomach, side, kneeling, sitting, standing. Progress is easy to see and measure. Once basic concepts are mastered participants can continue on their own at home. Some prefer to join a class taught by a qualified instructor. Others love individual instruction in a studio which has wonderful Pilates machines. No one is ever finished learning Pilates but make decisions on the amount and intensity that suits their lifestyle, goals and budget.
All machines work best with preventative maintenance instead of expensive repair. Consider adding Pilates to your life to take the best care of your body!

At Holland Physical Therapy we use Pilates principles both in the treatment of patients and during private Pilates sessions with our Pilates instructor Ruth Pratt. Check out our website for more information.

Are There Rocks Loose in My Head?

Have you ever woken up and sat up in bed only to feel as if the room is spinning rapidly around you whirling you into a state of nausea and disequilibrium? Where did this come from? What happened last night that brought you into this unwanted tilt-a-whirl? These sensations can be explained simply, you have rocks loose in your head.  No, I am not implying that you’re crazy, but these loose ‘rocks’ cause a common vestibular impairment called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).


What is BPPV?

Let’s start simply by defining these four words:

-Benign: Not harmful in effect

-Paroxysmal: Intensification of symptoms

-Positional: of, or relating to, or determined by position

-Vertigo: a sensation of whirling or loss of balance

Based on these definitions, BPPV is a non-harmful intensification of whirling, spinning, or loss of balance that occurs with a change of position.


What are the symptoms of BPPV?

Like with all other diseases, injuries and impairments every person’s symptoms are different however, these are common symptoms of BPPV:


-A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving

-Loss of Balance or Unsteadiness




When and Where do these symptoms occur?

Put simply, these symptoms can occur anytime there is a change in a person’s position. Common position changes that increase symptoms include:

-Lying down in bed

-Rolling over in bed

-Sitting up in bed

-Bending over

-Looking up

-Quick head movements

-Going from sitting to standing

Who gets BPPV?

BPPV does not discriminate; both men and women can experience episodes of BPPV. However, you are more likely to get BPPV due to the following

-Head Injury/Trauma

-Ear surgery

-40 years or older

-Recent ear infection or inflammation of the vestibular nerve (vestibular neuritis)


How do you get BPPV? (Refer to Picture Below)


BPPV occurs when Calcium Carbonate crystals (otoconia), which are a normal part of our anatomy, break off of a gelatinous membrane in one of the organs of balance located in the inner ear called the Utricle. These crystals collect and settle in one of the semi circular canals.

Is BPPV Treatable?

Yes! BPPV is treatable with physical therapy. Here at Holland Physical Therapy we perform an extensive examination and evaluation of your symptoms and test for BPPV along with other vestibular disorders. When a client tests positive for BPPV, they can be treated right onsite with a technique to reposition the displaced crystals back to the Utricle. The following image demonstrates both the maneuver and the repositioning of the crystals within the inner ear.


If you are suffering from these symptoms or have further questions about BPPV, please come in to see us at Holland Physical Therapy for an evaluation and treatment!

Ankle Sprains and Chronic Ankle Instability

(CAI) Part I

Ankle sprains are among the most common of all traumatic injuries. It is estimated that 1 out of every 10,000 people in the US sprain an ankle daily or 23,000 ankle sprains per day. Of those, only around 50% are estimated to seek treatment from a healthcare professional. However, up to 70% of patients will suffer from repetitive ankle sprains and chronic pain after injury. (CAI) With all injuries, ankle sprains included, it is important to figure out injury severity, determine if imaging is necessary, and how is the injury BEST treated?

One question is; when do you need treatment, and what type of treatment is needed? Initially, it must be decided if your sprained ankle is only a ligament injury (most common) or whether you need an x-ray to rule out a fracture. There is good research behind a Canadian developed clinical prediction rule called the Ottawa Ankle Rules. Essentially, if you can’t walk a few steps immediately after the injury, or in the ER, and there is tenderness to palpation on the inside or outside of the ankle on the malleoli, then you need a x-ray. Other- wise there is a low likelihood that a fracture is present.

Most inversion ankle sprains involve the lateral (outside) ligaments of the ankle. It has been theorized that due to the position of the fibular head getting positioned too far anteriorly (forward) that chronic ankle pain and instability are more likely. One study looked at this theory in regards to self reported chronic ankle instability (CAI). Of the two test groups,the position of the fibular head in the CAI group showed on average a 2.4 cm position anterior in comparison to the uninvolved ankle by way of fluoroscopy (real time moving x-ray). Essentially, in patients with CAI and pain, that even after the injured ligaments have healed, if the fibular position isn’t addressed, then the likelihood of CAI and pain are more likely.

In regards to treatment, there are hands on manual therapy techniques that address the fibular head position. At Holland Physical Therapy we treat one patient at a time using evidence based, hands on, manual therapy techniques. Exercise is an integral part of treatment for ankle sprains, but the ankle joint mobility and fibular head position have to be addressed to give complete resolution of symptoms. Part II will look at more research behind treatment for ankle sprains. Call us at 616-355-4284 or visit us at www.Holland-PT.com to get evaluated.

Ford Reinink PT, DPT

Director of Clinical Operations for Holland Physical Therapy


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