Why do we get backache?
To give a quick, one word answer the most important cause of non-specific lower backache (or back pain) is sitting. Of course, there are other causes:
- a slipped (prolapsed) disc
- ankylosing spondylitis (swelling of the joints in the spine)
- spondylolisthesis (a bone in the spine slipping out of position)
But if we were to identify the single most frequent cause for non-specific backache, it would be muscle weakness and imbalances due too much time sitting.
Though undeniably a comfortable position, our bodies are not built to be seated for long periods of time. As a result, our muscles develop imbalances which Pilates can remedy.
The Problem with Sitting
It is common knowledge that our bodies are designed for active lifestyles. No matter how hard we try to sit up straight, we always end up propped on our elbows or slumped ın the chair. There are several very effective back supports that attach to the chair and there are office chairs for back support. However effective they may be, they don’t actually contribute to your health. Instead they actually make us weaker by providing the support that our bodies should be providing. Thus making us more susceptible to:
- neck pain
- tight chest and shoulders
- compressed diaphragm
- lower backpain
- weakened pelvic floor
- poor circulation in your legs
- knee pain
- tight hips
- carpal tunnel syndrome
The Solution for backache is Pilates
Exercises that involve mobilisation, stretching and strengthening of your legs, spine and shoulders will go much further to relieve backache than any extra support. Whilst undeniably useful, back support aids will not address the root of the problem. Correct alignment of the pelvis will relieve pressure on our disks reducing pain and reducing the risk of slipped disks and hernias.
A carefully designed Pilates programme will provide:
- Hip (thigh), glute, abdominal and shoulder strengthening
- mobilisation of the spine
- shoulder mobility and stabilisation
- hamstring and hip stretching and strengthening