“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”
If you have back pain, you’re far from alone. It’s estimated that 90 percent of us will suffer from chronic back pain at some point in our lives. And the prevalence is increasing. A 2015 study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tried to assess the causes for this increase, but the best they could do was guess. It found no differences in the rate of back pain due to ethnicity, sex, or age, and smoking—a known contributor to chronic back pain—had actually decreased during the course of the study, so that couldn’t be the cause, either.
The reasons really don’t matter when you’re hurting, though, do they? All you know is you want relief, you want to get back to your old way of life, doing the things you used to do. And, if possible, you want to do it without drugs or surgery. Well, Pilates In the Grove has some good news for you: Pilates is tailor-made to help relieve back pain.
One of the main causes of chronic back pain is mechanical, usually diagnosed as poor posture and weak supportive muscles. In Pilates, you will learn to become aware of the correct alignment of the spine and how to strengthen the deep core muscles that support the spine. Even in cases of degeneration of the joints and disks, Pilates is useful in relieving the wear-and-tear that comes from incorrect posture and movement.
You will also learn to build strength in the “core” of the body, or what Joseph Pilates referred to as “the powerhouse”: those parts of the body that support and help align the entire skeletal structure. This includes not only the abdomen, but the obliques, the glutes, and the inner and outer thighs.
Another major cause of back pain that many people are unaware of is depression. If you ever see someone who is depressed, notice the way they hold themselves: shoulders hunched, head down, belly slumping outward. Whether poor posture is a symptom or a cause of some types of depression is debatable, but there’s no doubt that people who hold themselves comfortably erect with a confident attitude are manifestly not depressed. Pilates will give you that kind of posture.
In fact, posture is such a huge determinant of mood that a few years ago the Internet was buzzing about the Wonder Woman stance for those facing anxiety-provoking situations: fists on hips, shoulders back, feet wide, mimicking the famous super-heroine. In moments you go from anxious to ready to take on the world. Try it yourself and feel the instantaneous change in your mood!
We’re not saying that if you’re in such pain you can barely move that you can leap into a Pilates class and cure yourself overnight. We are saying that more and more doctors and orthopedic specialists are recommending Pilates to help many of their patients return to a normal life without drugs or surgery.
And one of the great things about Pilates In the Grove is the fact our Pilates instructors are also experienced, licensed physical therapists, who can assess your condition and tailor a customized program of rehabilitation designed just for you. And if you’re not yet ready for a group class, you can enjoy the privacy and comfort of private, one-on-one sessions and movement assessments with one of our instructors, who can help guide you on your path to improved health and wellness.
If you come to one of the highly trained Pilates instructors complaining of back pain that your doctor hasn’t been able to relieve, we can help you devise a gentle, introductory program of Pilates movements and breathing techniques that will gradually strengthen your core and enable to you move freely without pain. We can teach you such basic postures as the Abdominal Scoop (pulling your navel toward your spine to help keep it straight) and the Neutral Spine (learning how to keep the spine straight) which will produce immediate results in your pain as well as in your daily life. You will also begin to notice your balance and flexibility improving over the weeks.
So why suffer from back pain? If your doctor tells you there’s nothing organically wrong with your back, why not try what’s helped thousands of people over the years—Pilates. Book a class or private pilates session now, and see for yourself the difference it can make in your life!