Back pain can cause a whole array of problems, both physical and emotional, including restrictions on your ability to perform routine daily activities that involve bending and lifting and participation in sports and hobbies that involve demanding physical activity. Back pain can place significant restrictions on your life, which can lead to a lack of confidence in your body and its ability to move. This can lead to frustration and sometimes even depression.
Thankfully, Pilates has a range of highly effective exercises that can help you strengthen muscles around your spine, achieve better posture and alignment and assist in minimising any muscle imbalances that you might have.
In this article, we’ll explore the most common causes of back pain and the various ways in which Pilates can help you gain relief and healing.
What Causes Back Pain? The Usual Suspects
In today’s age, poor posture has become a common problem due to the sedentary nature of our modern lifestyles, including prolonged sitting at computers and slouching when reading and texting.
People often adopt a slouched posture when sitting in front of computers. When this curved posture is adopted for long periods of time, as is especially the case with office workers, it can start to put an unhealthy amount of strain on the lower back and shoulders.
Another cause of bad posture is excessive texting and reading when using our smartphones. We’re often lying down or sitting in a hunched position when looking at our screens. As a result, it places strain on our necks and upper backs, leading to the oft-mentioned ‘text neck’.
Being in a seated position for extended periods, whether driving or at a desk, leads to tight hips, hamstrings and underactive buttock muscles all of which can further contribute to back pain.
Lack of Exercise and Muscle Imbalances
Human beings’ bodies are designed to move in all planes and without it, it can quickly lead to muscular dysfunction, amongst other things. Muscle imbalances occur when certain muscle groups around the spine are forced to support your movement patterns, leading to excess strain and discomfort.
A lack of exercise and general movement leads to underuse and weakening of the back muscles and core. The weakened muscles are not able to provide enough support to the spine and help with proper alignment, resulting in pain and discomfort.
How Does Pilates Help With Back Pain?
Pilates has a whole repertoire of mat work exercises and different types of equipment, such as the reformer, tower and stability chair, which can enable a teacher to design a programme specifically for the individual client and their musculoskeletal needs. Over time a well-designed programme or class can help you gain relief from back pain, including the strengthening of select muscle groups and correction of poor posture and muscle imbalances.
Strengthening of Your Back and Core
Pilates is well known for its excellent range of comprehensive back and core strengthening exercises that help to keep the back healthy and the spine stable, reducing the potential for injury. Although Pilates is well known for its ‘core’ exercises it can be used to strengthen the whole body.
Proper Posture and Alignment
Pilates focus on posture and alignment can create improved awareness of your positioning throughout the day. Increased awareness helps you to correct any misalignments in your posture, resulting in your spine remaining in a more neutral position. As a result, this can reduce strain in your back and help to prevent long-term musculoskeletal issues.
Reduces Muscle Tension and Discomfort
By engaging in Pilates precise and controlled movements, you can target the areas in your back that cause you the most pain and reduce muscle tension and discomfort. Increased awareness of how to sit and stand and the education as to which exercises assist in maintaining your spine health go a long way to improving your sense of control over your body and being able to deal with it when tension and discomfort arise.
Corrects Muscle Imbalances
Pilates can help you strengthen underused and weakened muscles such as your abdominals, obliques and back extensors. By practising focused and controlled exercises, Pilates helps you to gain more balanced strength in the muscles surrounding your spine. When these imbalances are addressed, you can then feel a much-needed sense of relief from excess strain on certain muscles as you’ll have your entire back and core to support your movements.
Willing to Give Pilates a Shot?
If you live in Surrey and are close to the Cobham, Hersham, Esher, Weybridge or Molesey areas and would like to sign up for your 1st class, you can simply click on this link to learn more about Pilates and Dore Health.
Feel free to contact us using the information below:
Telephone: Debbie – 07949 051778