Low back pain is one of the most common complaints from males over the age of 20. Many women also experience a number of different acute or chronic injuries to their lower back as well. Despite the multitude of recovery options available, ranging from medication to surgery, there is one method that has continued to prove successful. A prescribed core strengthening routine has relieved the average back pain sufferer of their pain while helping them prevent future injury also.
Strengthening programs designed to increase core muscle strength and endurance have been shown to effectively alleviate back injury and improve posture. In order to make my back pain go away I need to do more back exercises in the gym, right? Not so much. The real key to decreasing the stress put on one's low back is to develop a corset that supports our body. This corset is formed by strengthening what many refer to as the core muscles; mainly the transverse abdominis, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles, and obliques. These muscles help us to breathe properly, and maintain good balance and posture throughout our daily activities.
There are some different theories out there that try to explain the best way to improve core strength. Many different exercises and props have been developed to improve all aspects of one's core. A more recent development has been the inclusion of Pilates into an abdominal strengthening program. Pilates has been shown to successfully alleviate and increasing functional strength. Pilates emphasizes movement through the use of our core muscles, those closest to the spin. Instead of performing more reps, Pilates focuses on performing fewer, more precise movements that require concentration, control, and proper form. Due to its focus on developing the core muscles as well as postural awareness, Pilates is especially successful at alleviating back pain. By integrating the trunk, pelvis, and shoulder girdle Pilates enables you to develop a strong core.
Many physical therapists are successfully introducing some of the Pilates methods into their rehabilitation programs for patients with back pain. The most successful programs thus far have been those who creatively integrate Pilates with props, like the Swiss Ball, resistance bands, or balance disks, and with more traditional techniques. A prop such as the Swiss Ball is ideal for strengthening of muscles like those in the core because they challenge our balance which increases recruitment of the transverse abdominis.
Pilates also emphasizes proper breathing and body awareness in addition to core conditioning. Patients are able to develop their full set of core muscles that gives them functional strength to participate in their daily activities. Those who have given Pilates a try notice a greater ability to focus on their task and increased strength to take part in normal activity while maintaining good posture.
Though many of us suffer from some sort of back pain there is plenty we can do about it. For those of us who do not require surgery, Pilates offers an outstanding way to develop the muscles that support your entire body's posture throughout the day. A Pilates strengthening program is even used as a post-surgery rehabilitation method. No matter your needs when it comes to back pain, contact your local physical therapist and ask if they have been trained in how to alleviate back pain through the use of Pilates.
Robert Tendick is a student preparing himself to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. His experience as an athlete with various injuries has given him insight into the common aches and pains that trouble many athletes and the need for prevention core strengthening through mat pilates . He has also had the opportunity as a physical therapy aide to help heal a number of Los Angeles physical therapy patients through the use of cutting edge injury rehabilitation techniques.