How Pilates Helps Back Pain
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare predicts that 70-90% of individuals will experience back pain at some point during their lifetime.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Many factors of modern society – such as sedentary behaviour, bad posture, and obesity – support the back pain epidemic. Technology has created a ‘do less’ mindset. Yet, the body was made to move.
Surprisingly, many Pilates exercises serve as the basis in many back pain rehabilitation programs. Why? Pilates focuses on core strength, proper posture, muscular imbalances, muscle flexibility, and body awareness. It addresses these common issues that lead to back pain. Let us explain!
Pilates Improves Core Strength
The transverse abdominis, or TA, is an important muscle involved in pregnancy and birth. However, it also plays a critical role in supporting and stabilizing the pelvis and low back. Before you move your arms or legs, the TA activates. This muscle acts as a corset around your lower spine and internal organs, supporting the area. And it is often neglected. Unlike the 6-pack rectus abdominis muscle, the TA is a deep abdominal muscle. You don’t see it. But if the TA muscle is weak, it can lead to back pain issues.
Pilates strengthens this muscle, as well as the other major core muscles like the rectus abdominis. Pilates exercises train the body on when to activate these muscles. In turn, your core strength improves.
These core muscles also help the breathing muscle, the diaphragm, function. When the core muscles are strong, the diaphragm’s ability is maximized. Pilates supports proper breathing even further through movement with the breath. And deep breathing promotes proper core activation. Core strength and breathing techniques also support proper posture, which leads into our next point about how Pilates can help you thwart your back pain problems.
Pilates Supports Good Posture
Posture is a big problem in today’s society. Many people hunch forward in front of a computer all day. It creates imbalances and weak postural muscles. The result? Your back hurts.
Pilates workouts increase your postural awareness. It focuses on the correct alignment of the spine and pelvis. A good posture is one in which the body experiences the least amount of stress. In other words, it is the natural alignment of your bones, ligaments, muscles, and other tissues. Many exercises in Pilates narrow in on keeping the spine in this neutral position. In turn, you’re less likely to develop back problems.
Pilates Increases Muscle Flexibility
Tight hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and other muscles surrounding the spine can cause misalignments. If a muscle is tight, it may pull on other structures causing pain. Pilates partially focuses on lengthening these muscles – ensuring you have the proper flexibility to prevent pain and injury from happening.
Pilates exercises also make the spine flexible and durable. It trains your muscles to work together and increases your range of motion. In turn, your posture and overall health may improve.
How Do You Get Started?
The great part about Pilates is that it is suitable for any age group. Plus, most people benefit from this type of workout. It forces you to go slow and think about the movement you are doing. As you slowly move through each exercise, you become more aware of how you hold yourself and where your body and limbs are in space. In other words, you start to move more efficiently.
At Reform Studios, we strongly recommend a one-on-one session with one of our instructors – especially if you’re new to Pilates and have a history of back pain. They can help you get the fundamentals down, as well as help you explore safe options to avoid aggravating any problem spots. Our instructors can also help you determine your goals and how to get there.
Small Beginners Classes Available Too!
Check with your doctor or healthcare provider before trying Pilates. If they give you the green light, come join us at Reform Studios. Find your exercise happy place.
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