Low back pain affects over 70% of the population in developed countries. There are many causes of low back pain. Sometimes it is caused by mechanical or alignment issues and other times it is caused by a disease process. Many people, both athletes and non-athletes experience pain on a daily basis. Often their pain is not associated with an acute episode, but due to poor posture, faulty lifting or structural deformities. Leg pain is often associated with many spinal conditions. Sciatica is a leg pain that radiates down the leg. It can be caused by spinal stenosis, arthritis or intervertebral disc prolapse, which can lead to nerve compression.
Pilates targets the deep postural muscles to achieve core stability, strength and improved muscular balance. These muscles, the transverse abdominus, multifidus, pelvic floor and the diaphragm, make up your core or inner unit. They act as an internal weight belt that stabilizes your lumbar spine and pelvis when they are strong and functioning properly. By strengthening the deep postural muscles of the torso you allow the overused global muscles to rest. It is appropriate for both pre and post surgery clients and can be done daily.
In Pilates we don’t focus on just one area of the body, but we look at the body as a whole. So, while you may come into the studio because of low back pain, we will evaluate your entire posture to check for muscular imbalances and compensatory movement patterns. With this information, we can program a workout specific to the issues going on in your body and hopefully enable you to return to the activities you enjoyed before your incidence of low back pain.
The whole body also includes your mind and emotions. When you connect your mind to the movements of the body you get a much better response. You will become proficient more quickly and find ease of movement faster. This is why Pilates is called a mind/body exercise regimen. It is really hard to carry on a full conversation and focus on firing the right muscles at the same time. Our emotions are very much affected by our pain. If you come into the studio with a particularly high rate of pain or you are just mad at the world, this will show up in your body. The gentle movements of Pilates can start the healing process by increasing circulation to the injured or painful area. Three dimensional breathing can help us to focus inward and engages the parasympathetic nervous system. This nervous system controls homeostasis and the body at rest and is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” system.
Pilates can safely ease your pain, improve your quality of life and offers a holistic approach to managing low back pain. When you commit to a consistent Pilates program you can expect increased strength, improved circulation, a decompressed spine, lubricated joints, an improved sense of well being and a reduction in pain.