Can Back Pain Patients Benefit From Pilates?

There are a number of principles that are intrinsic to Pilates and most of these are in line with exercise programs that promote back health. For anyone who suffers from back pain, being more aware of the basic, neutral, spinal alignment and how to strengthen the postural muscles which support this alignment is very important.

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Pilates – The benefits

  • If you suffer from pain that stems from degeneration of the joints and discs of your vertebral column, or excessive movement, it’s likely you will benefit from a planned Pilates exercise program. Apart from this, it’s also possible to improve postural asymmetrics, which reduces the wear & tear from various uneven stresses on the discs and joints of the vertebral column.
  • It also significantly improves flexibility, suppleness and strength in the shoulder and hip muscles. The exercises involved in Pilates provide supported and fluid movement via these joints and help in preventing any unnecessary pressure on your vertebral column.
  • It helps improve awareness of the specific movement habits that might add stress to the spine; once you consciously change these habits, it helps you preserve neutral alignment and you are able to use your body in a more effective way.

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Some considerations for anyone suffering from back pain

  • Before you start on any new exercise regimen, it’s important that you check either with your physician or healthcare provider; whether Pilates is something you should be indulging in.
  • Also check whether the instructor has received credible training in this space and that he/she has a strong understanding of the different types of back problems.
  • If you are starting on Pilates after any type of physical therapy, then your physical therapist should identify which of the exercise principles are crucial to your rehabilitation.
  • It’s important to keep in view the fact that if you perform these exercises incorrectly, they can cause more harm than good. This is why you may benefit more from one-on-one sessions rather than those performed in classes that have larger groups; it will help you get the individualised attention you need.
  • At the outset, all you need is 2 sessions per week – these go a long way in helping you learn the exercises more quickly
  • Post this, you would only need one session per week as long as you practice between sessions

While many of these Pilates exercises seem simple, they are highly effective in supporting the pectoral muscles situated in the trunk. It helps increase awareness of the neutral alignment of the spine as well as the supple and flexible use of hips and shoulders. It’s also quite important that you learn exercises you can practice between your regular Pilates sessions.

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Doing Pilates the right way

Keeping in view that Pilates has its roots firmly entrenched in dance and ballet, some of the movements are extremely difficult and challenging. If you suffer from very significant back pain or any form of a degenerative disc disease, it’s important that you avoid most of the exercises that are commonly taught in Pilates. It’s vital that you consult a physician before you start off on any exercise regimen.

The rule of thumb is that if you suffer from chronic back pain, you should avoid the exercises that will push your spine into any extreme form of extension/flexion. You should also avoid mixing flexion with twisting of the spine or side bending. All these motions place too much stress on the discs of the vertebral column.

It’s also crucial that you avoid metal and physical fatigue as that is when Pilates tends to lose its proper form and injuries are more likely to occur. For any more information about Pilates, please call New Body Physiotherapy and Postural Management at this number – 02 9958 2277. You can also use this contact us form to connect with us.

Best Regards,
Corey Iskenderian

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