Mar 20 2013
Low back pain is the most common cause of disability in our society. Approximately 60-80% of adults will suffer from it at least once during their lifetime. After an individual experiences one episode of pain, it tends to reoccur with increasing intensity if deep core stability is not regained. Pilates offers a unique system of restoring correct posture and movement to decrease pain and risk of future injury.
HOW DOES LOW BACK PAIN AFFECT MY MUSCLES?
Spinal stability comes mainly from local core muscles that are small and close to the spine. In a healthy individual, they fire before movement to provide control at each spinal segment. After just one episode of low back pain, these muscles shut down leading to a loss of neuromuscular control. Larger, global muscles may overwork to compensate, leading to spasm and decreased mobility. These muscular changes can cause dysfunctional posture and movement.
WHAT IS PILATES?
The Pilates Method is a mind-body exercise program that focuses on the control of whole-body movement. It incorporates principles including proper breathing, balanced muscle development, concentration and precision. Pilates can be performed on the mat or on equipment including the Reformer, Tower, Chair and Ladder Barrel. Pilates equipment uses pulleys and springs to assist motion early in rehabilitation and resist movement later.
HOW WILL PILATES HELP MY BACK PAIN?
1. Improve posture-Pilates focuses on a neutral spine posture, the optimal position for equal distribution of force through the spine. This posture will prevent compressive forces and decrease stress through the spine. Flexibility is also emphasized to increase movement in all spinal segments, preventing unwanted forces at the injured segment.
2. Increase core control-Pilates first targets the local stabilizing muscles. Deep core control is restored by providing specific re-training of the transverse abdominal and multifidus. Global muscle work is then incorporated on the background of segmental control. As stability increases, exercises can become more intense and dynamic.
3. Restore proper breathing-Stress, anxiety and pain will alter breathing patterns, causing overuse of accessory muscles and underuse of the diaphragm. Since the diaphragm works in conjunction with the pelvic floor muscles, improving its involvement during inhalation will facilitate deep spinal stability.