I found Pilates after a significant spell of chronic back pain after a skiing accident. After 2 years of doctors and painkillers I finally found my remedy and Pilates has, quite literally, changed my life. I am now a Pilates teacher and my mission is to help those who are experiencing similar problems. I hope that after reading this blog, that you will seriously consider doing Pilates not only for reducing and curing pain, but for long term strength, health and wellbeing.
Up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives
Back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly and is the third most common reason for visits to the doctor. Isn’t that completely crazy? I continuously wonder how people put up with back pain often for many years without considering the almost guaranteed remedy: Pilates!
When we look at relieving pain, an important factor to take into account is that movement and exercise is a vital component. Amongst many benefits, exercise prevents joint stiffness, muscle tightness, helps in blood circulation and increase mood. Sure, popping paracetamol every 4 hours will help the pain, as will the chiropractor, BUT only in the short term (trust me I’ve been there). Learn how to control pain levels before it spirals out of control however, and this will help in the long term.
The 6 principles of Pilates
Pilates focuses on concentration, control, centre, flow, precision and breathing. The most important of all of these is control, which allows you to stay ‘within’ your body during an exercise and to move with better biomechanics and alignment. It’s less about the intensity or multiple “reps” that you are doing, and more about using proper form to achieve safe, effective results. Pilates focuses on HOW to move well, therefore gaining strength in the correct form. Trust, me, once you are in the right position, you will feel that burn!
Other tips to help back pain:
Keep on moving: even if you don’t feel like it, the more you do, the better. So go for that walk..
Maintain correct posture : support your back with a correctly adjusted chair that will reduce the strain on your back. Get one that is easily adjustable so you can change the height, back position and tilt. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. Use a footrest, if you feel the need.
Sit Properly: make sure you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. Your elbows should be by the side of your body so your arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint
Place your screen at eye level: a good guide is to place the monitor about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye level.
Avoid Phone Strain: if you spend a lot of time on the phone, try headphones so you are not compromising your back whilst holding the phone
Baths: one of my favourite moments of the week is a bit of self-indulgence! I run myself a hot bath and pamper myself with the delicious Wild Beauty Body Scrub, my favourite product in the range, I find using it really increases the blood circulation to my skin.
Wear proper footwear: I know this sounds boring, but supportive footwear increases stability and decreases your risk of suffering from lower back pain and will improve your overall posture!
Little changes, big results
Remember, it’s the incremental changes that are going to make a difference so please do not expect the magic to happen overnight. Patience and determination are the keys to success here so if you combine this attitude with Pilates and the above tips, you will be on the right track!
I run a range of classes online from Beginners to Advanced and would love to see you online. For only £29.99 a month you can access unlimited classes and videos so there really is something for everyone. In addition, I run 1:1 classes if you would like a more personalised approach. Please do get in touch.
In the words of Joseph Pilates himself: ‘A man is only as young as his spinal column’.