Does Pilates Prevent Lower Back Pain?
Pilates is a great form of exercise known for its unique ability to:
• Improve flexibility
• Improve posture awareness
• Improve full body strength
• Strengthen the deep core muscles such as the pelvic floor, transversus abdominis and multifidus
• Rebalance all the muscles of the body that we don’t take time to work. *Improve balance
• Enhance the ability to breathe deeply
It is a form of exercise that I often preach should be a part of your weekly routine. However, with all the great benefits someone can see and feel with regular Pilates practice, it DOES NOT PREVENT lower back injuries.
Some of the causes of lower back injuries include:
• Repeatedly sitting for extended periods of time (30-45 minutes) with poor posture awareness and lack of lumbar support.
• Not being active
• Tight hamstrings
• Tight hip flexors
• Weak core muscles
• Lifting, pushing and/or pulling objects with poor form (body mechanics)
• Poor nutrition – “You are what you eat”. If you eat poorly that is typically how you are going to feel
Lower back injuries can start very young but many times do not become a problem until you reach your mid 30s.
Pilates, when practiced regularly (2-3x per week) can help reverse many of the stresses on the lower back. However, just practicing Pilates will not prevent the injuries if you then sit for hours in a slumped position or you push/pull or lift with poor form (using your back to do so and not your legs). Pilates does help improve your posture awareness and core strength. But then you have to remember to take that with you outside of the class.
Here are some ways to prevent lower back injuries:
1. POSTURE! Watch your posture…especially when you sit. Do not sit more than 30-45 minutes at a time. When you do sit, use a lumbar roll to support and balance the muscles, vertebrae and ligaments of the spine. If you have to sit for your work, get a standing desk or even better, a desk that can elevate to transition you from sitting to standing every 30 minutes. Standing and walking posture is also very important in maintaining optimal spinal health. Stand and walk tall.
2. LEARN TO LIFT/PUSH AND PULL PROPERLY. Any physical therapist can educate you on how to do this. You can also find multiple videos on uTube teaching you proper body mechanics if you don’t know a good physical therapist.
3. STAY ACTIVE. Walk, run, strength train…exercising every single day using many different forms of exercise is going to keep you strong all over.
4. EAT PROPERLY. How you look and feel is 80% what you eat and 20% what you do.
5. DO PILATES…..this form of exercise, when combined with all the above tips, helps to combat some of the
things that can lead you down the road to a back injuries. Start young and continue throughout your life….but remember it is never too late to begin.
Lower back injuries are the leading cause of missing work, sitting out of sports and limiting your leisure activities. So make sure you take daily steps to stay on top of it. Remember….”an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
ABS Pilates of Sunbury, Ohio, is a specialized Pilates studio. Specializing in helping people get strong, recover from injuries and learn the proper way to help prevent these and other injuries. All sessions and classes are lead by Amanda B. Smith, licensed physical therapist, certified Pilates instructor and McKenzie Certified Therapist with more than 25 years of experience. ABS Pilates services central Ohio including Columbus, Gahanna, New Albany, Galena and Sunbury.
Contact ABS Pilates today and become stronger, taller tomorrow.