By Jodi Melton
For those that are experiencing back pain and are looking for a natural solution, there are proven results for relief from back pain using Pilates method work. Simply put, your core muscles (located in your lower back and abdomen) need to be strong in order to support your spine and take the pressure off of your lower back.
A Strong Core to Relieve Back Pain
The benefits of Pilates is that it works to strengthen the core muscles, which are often weak and are strengthened through specific targeted exercises. Perhaps you that your core is strong because you exercise regularly. Traditional core exercises, such as crunches, might strengthen the outer layers of the abdominal muscles, but they bypass the deep support structures of your back known as your core strength! Over time, a weak core can lead to the spine being in too much flexion, which can contribute to back pain. We use our back muscles all the time when lifting, walking, standing, and more. Having a healthy, strong, and muscular core, and thus back, can help sustain our longevity in a quality way.
Often people think the “core” just consists of the abdomen, but there’s more to it than that. The core runs front to back and consists of groups of muscles (specifically all the way up and down your spine starting at the pelvic floor) that are responsible for stabilizing and protecting the spine. In Pilates practice, we talk about these muscles quite often. Through Pilates exercises, we target and retrain your muscles to connect deeper versus relying mostly on the exterior muscles. Although the exterior muscles make us look sleek and cut, the interior muscles are the ones doing the heavy lifting and supporting us as we age.
The Benefits of Pilates
Pilates is so much more than just stretching. Pilates works flexibility in many of its movements as it strengthens but it can also give the body the appearance of greater length because you are moving through a full range of motion and training to maintain it. You look taller, more slim and sleek as a result. I trained a client who came in with osteoporosis, severe kyphosis, and lordosis. After working with her for a year, she was standing taller and her abdominals were retrained. She went to have her annual dexa scan and her doctor told her she was out of osteoporosis because she had increased the space between her vertebrae by millimeters. She also reduced her swayback (lordosis) as a result of Pilates. This is an incredible example of the fact that Pilates works in more ways than one! This client story is just one among many success stories I have had that supports that Pilates can change the body for the better.
However, there’s no need to wait until your spine is in bad shape or you’re experiencing back pain to start Pilates. The method can be such a wonderful asset for so many athletes.
Golfers tend to suffer the most from back pain as their sport is so repetitive in one direction. The golf swing stresses the L5-S1 disc space as the joints at this segment allow considerable rotation and repetitive bending. Continuously picking up golf balls can stress the lower back and can lead to muscle strain.
Pilates is one of the best ways to strengthen, stretch, and balance the muscles needed to help elevate you to the next level in the activities you enjoy. Pilates does not need to be targeted towards a specific sport — it complements all sports and activities. Pilates instructors at the Village Clubs will work with each individual’s needs to help them achieve a healthy, enjoyable, and pain-free lifestyle. Why not give it a try? You won’t know what you’re missing until you do! The Village offers very affordable options for Pilates Mat and Reformer options for those looking to get relief from back pain, increase flexibility, and enjoy a quality life.