How pilates helps people with lower back pain
Hello, Kathryn here. On our news section, we like to think it's not all about 'us'. As we're extremely fortunate to have such a wide and diverse variety of clients in our portfolio, we're never short of good knowledgeable people we can call upon to provide good news stories, or even an article offering some good advice that might bring some benefit to our audience.
One such client has kindly agreed to provide us with some pertinent posture pointers. Introducing Clare Ward of New Healthy Body.
Clare, many people are stuck in front of computers all day. Since the pandemic hit a year ago, probably even more so than ever. We're increasingly hearing about aches and pains, particularly back aches. What's your take on this?
"Lower back pain effects over a third of the UK population. Around 20% of people effected will see their GP about their back pain. It can be extremely debilitating, especially if you suffer daily and it causes issues with your sleeping. Lack of sleep also reduces your pain tolerance by making the central nervous system more sensitive which intensifies the pain you experience. Pain is more painful when you’re tired!"
And what would you say are the most common causes for back pain?
"Poor posture due to your working habits and environment – This could be a badly set up work station, your driving position or a repetitive movement pattern.
Being overweight or pregnant – this causes you to have a forward tilting pelvis due to the excess weight putting more pressure on your lower back.
Glutes (bottom muscles) that don’t work correctly. This can lead to - tight hamstrings and hip flexors, weak or over-trained abdominals, lack of body awareness, especially postural, herniated discs, and of course... stress!!"
Clare, you run an online / in person pilates studio. How can pilates help people with these problems?
"Pilates can help to reduce back pain, improve your posture, core strength and body awareness, as well as increasing flexibility.
It does this through focuses on the six principles of Pilates:
Centering – Bringing your focus to the centre of your body, which is often referred to as the ‘powerhouse’. All movement derives from the centre, the deep core stabilising muscles.
Control – Helping you to reconnect with your body to have complete control over the movement using the right speed and muscles.
Concentration - Bringing your full attention to the movement and performing it slow and controlled in order to get maximum results. It is a complete mind-body connection.
Precision – Pilates exercises should be performed in a very precise and exact way, using the right muscles in the right order to perfect technique and good movement patterns.
Breathing – Breathing is an important part of your Pilates practice. Full deep lateral breaths are used throughout the repetitions of the exercise, exhaling on the effort.
Breathing correctly also helps to reduce stress and tension which results in you feeling mentally relaxed during and after the exercises.
Flow – The ultimate goal of Pilates is to help you move fluidly with ease both during the exercises and afterwards."
So how does this all come together in a typical session?
"During our Pilates classes you are given demonstrations of the exercises with lots of verbal cues on how to set up and how to move throughout focusing on your breath, core engagement and your movement pattern. After the demonstration our instructors guide you through setting up correctly, once you’ve set up you are then given lots of verbal cues to remind you on exactly what to do and what to focus on. If we see you performing the exercises incorrectly we give you more individual support and guidance."
What if I'm struggling to manage any of the exercises?
"If your back pain is aggravated at all, we’ll also give you options and adaptations so you can get the most from the exercise.
All Pilates exercises have lots of different levels so you can work at your own ability, starting with the basics and progressing to different levels as your technique improves."
Thank you Clare, that's been very informative, I'm sure our readers will agree.
If you would like more information on the benefits of pilates, or to explore joining Clare's online pilates sessions go to https://newhealthybody.co.uk