by Kristin Stephens
I don’t think I have come across many people that have not experienced back pain, in some form. Back pain diminishes your quality of life, leading to missed work, social activities or even trouble completing everyday tasks. For those that have experienced such pain, it can easily become a recurring issue, if not treated and managed effectively!
I can speak from experience, as I was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11, after complaining about lower back pain to my parents. After the diagnosis, I was prescribed a Milwaukee back brace, by an orthopedic surgeon, that I wore 12-18 hours/day, until I finished growing. Thankfully, my parents saw the importance of staying active and I was enrolled in ballet for many years, as well as other sports. Although my doctor emphasized the importance of core strength, as it relates to the alleviation of back pain (he only told me to do 25 sit-ups/day!) it did not come full circle until, (many years into adulthood), I started practicing Pilates.
Pilates is a low impact system of exercises that trains the body from the core out. The Pilates method strengthens the deep “Powerhouse” muscles of the abdominals and low back (also including the gluteals and shoulder stabilizers), while simultaneously stretching them, resulting in a strong but flexible core that supports the spine, from the inside out. In addition, the breathing patterns that are incorporated into many of the exercises that you complete, during a Pilates session, work to recruit the deepest muscles that strengthen and support the spine.
By taking care of your spine, now, you will lower your chances of suffering from back pain in the future. Pilates is the perfect exercise to help maintain your spinal health, as it teaches proper alignment, in conjunction with proper body mechanics. Preserve your spine and strengthen your “Powerhouse” by practicing Pilates!
“You are only as young as your spine is flexible.” Joseph Pilates