Approximately 80 per cent of the population will suffer from serious back pain at some point in their adult lives.
Back pain often occurs due to a sports injury but sometimes something as simple as bending over to pick up a pencil or tie your shoe lace can leave you bed ridden for days!
There are many other causes of low back pain such as a sudden trauma from a car accident, a bad day on the links, a herniated disc or weak muscles that finally just ‘give’. Whatever the cause, low back pain stinks!
Many common treatments for low back pain include physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy. While these treatments are very effective, wouldn’t it be great if you could prevent a back injury or the re-occurrence of an old one?
There are some serious causes of low back pain that can often not be prevented, but the majority of injuries are due to weak back and abdominal muscles, poor posture and general muscle tightness.
Poor posture, how you hold your body during movement, the sports you play, sitting at your desk at work, and even sleeping can contribute to the formation of an imbalance in strength and flexibility of the muscles. This imbalance can lead to weakening and lengthening of the muscles that are meant to be working to support your spine!
Pilates is a popular form of exercise that can address these muscle imbalance issues. Participating in the core stability, flexibility and postural exercises that are performed in Pilates is a great way to keep you and your back in shape and help prevent injuries due to muscle imbalances.
Pilates focuses on the development of core muscle strength, flexibility and posture correction in a controlled manner with little or no impact. The sequence of exercises practiced during a Pilates session help strengthen your core and postural muscles and work on the muscles imbalances in your body. By learning awareness of the neutral alignment of your spine and strengthening the muscles that support this alignment, you`ll lessen back pain, reduce neck stiffness, improve posture and boost overall spine health.
It is very common for people working in an office environment to suffer from some form of neck or back pain. People don’t often realise this, but one of the greatest amounts of pressure or stress you can put on your back occurs when you are simply just sitting.
So if you are working at a desk all day, hunched over a computer screen, you can understand why your neck or low back might be sore! Sitting all day not only puts pressure on your back, especially if it is not supported correctly, but the act of staring at your computer screen all day lends to a poor forward rounded posture and neck pain.
In saying this, office workers especially benefit from Pilates exercises because of the focus on postural correction and low back/abdominal strength.
By participating in exercise such as Pilates, muscle and postural imbalances can be improved; decreasing the wear and tear on your spine, helping you build a strong core and healthy back.
If you suffer from back pain it is always a good idea to consult your doctor or physiotherapist before starting an exercise program.
Deanna Smith is an Exercise Physiologist and a Stott Pilates Instructor at ‘Energy’. She can be contacted at: [email protected] or 949 6006.