Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on the core postural muscles and helps to improve support for the spine. This makes it an excellent form of exercise for anyone who experiences back pain. It is important however to get the go ahead from your doctor if you suffer from back pain and intend to start Pilates.
If you suffer from significant back pain it may be wise to take several 1 to 1 Pilates lessons with a qualified instructor before joining a class to make sure that you have the basic techniques mastered. You do not want to cause yourself further injury by exercising incorrectly.
Pilates exercises work on the back by strengthening the deeper postural muscles that aid correct spine alignment and this can result in the prevention and alleviation of recurrent back pain.
Many physiotherapists and other back specialists like osteopaths and chiropractors recommend Pilates as a safe and effective way to improve the less serious types of back problems.
The benefits of Pilates for the back
Pilates helps to correct poor posture, a common cause of back pain. The exercises help in several ways by:
- Strengthening your back and abdominal muscles
- Increasing flexibility
- Increasing balance
- Aligning your spine and body
- Strengthening your core muscles
The core muscles and your back
The core group of muscles is made up of several muscles from your stomach and your back. These include the:
Transverse abdominal muscles – a deep set of muscles in the stomach that help to flex and twist the waist.
Rectus abdominus muscles – otherwise known as your 6 pack. These muscles sit atop of each other down the centre of the ribcage. They help to keep the pelvis aligned and protect the spine.
Oblique muscles – these muscles are situated to either side of the waist. You have 2 obliques on each side, 4 in total. They help your body to tilt and twist at the waist.
Erector spinae muscles – these are a group of very small muscles that run down your entire spine. They help to keep your body upright and work automatically to do this. They also facilitate the bending and twisting of the body’s trunk.
Weak core muscles and your back
Weak core muscles can lead to back pain so strengthening this set of muscles is vital if you want to avoid general aches and pains as you age. When your core muscles are strong you experience a more balanced and stable body and Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise for targeting this group of muscles.