Pilates: An Approach for Low Back Pain
By Yvette Marcek, Pilates Instructor, RMT
Current studies continue to show that low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with the majority of cases considered ‘nonspecific’ low back pain. Many experts are suggesting that core strength (abdominal muscles, muscles of the low back, pelvic floor and hips) and flexibility are important to maintain back health.
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Pilates has benefits for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. Conscious movement, stability, and alignment of the spine and pelvis are an essential focus in Pilates – precisely what is involved in strengthening the core, as the experts suggest. With Pilates you won’t break into a sweat to fast pumping music, and the weights you use (if any) won’t be more than five pounds. Pilates is based on concentration, control, and breathing, to help activate the deep core stabilizing muscles.
Think about your muscles based on what they do — their function. Muscles can be grouped into two functional categories: stabilizers (local and global) and movers. The stabilizers make up our core musculature, and strengthening the stabilizers provides more support for the spine and pelvis. One very important core stabilizer, highlighted in the Pilates method, is the deepest of the four abdominal muscles: the transversus abdominis, whose fibers run horizontally across the abdomen acting as a corset of support.
Pilates is a holistic method for back health by not only strengthening the core, but working on overall body awareness and proper alignment for the rest of the body. Pilates was developed for spinal rehabilitation during World War I. Its founder, Joseph Pilates, was so successful at getting bedridden soldiers to move that he was asked to train German and British military.
In Pilates the exercises are not rigid, so they can and must be modified to avoid aggravating positions and exercises, and put more emphasis on relieving positions. General group Pilates classes may not be suitable for people with back pain, since they may involve positions, exercises, and progressions that are not appropriate for back pain. Consider some private instruction for exercises tailored to your needs, or consider joining with a friend for semi-private classes. If the private lesson route is not right for you our small group classes are no larger than 5 students, and still provide some personal attention. Take advantage of our Pilates expertise.
Yvette Marcek is a Registered Massage Therapist, Pilates Practitioner and Reiki Practitioner; she often incorporates each of these modalities with her clients. Recognizing that each person who comes in the treatment room has unique requirements and goals, her priority is to create a therapeutic environment that is safe, healing, and positive.
Despite viewing laughter as the best form of medicine, Yvette sees the healing of massage therapy and touch as an international language, spoken without barriers and greatly benefiting anyone. She is particularly passionate about increasing body awareness, believing that consciousness of our physical body and the world around us is an integral part of maintaining our health and happiness.
You can email Yvette for more info on her Pilates classes, Reiki or her RMT practice here
Photo Credit: Robert Bejil Productions via Compfight cc
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You bring up some excellent points.
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