Back pain is a common problem that affects about one out of three adults. It causes discomfort, lost work, reduced quality of life, and is linked to depression and other health issues. It’s such a problem for Americans we toss about $300 billion a year in the at the problem with often minimal results. We spend about $90 billion on traditional medical costs alone.
A significant amount of the money we spend on back pain is spent on expensive medical treatments. MRI and CT scans are increasingly being used for diagnosing back pain, the literature is clear that these results very seldom tell us anything we want to know. They rarely get to root cause of the pain and increase the odds of being prescribed drugs or having surgery–known as the “medicalization” of back pain.1
Some people see the opioid epidemic in the US linked to treatment of back pain. Studies have found that a significant percentage of opioid overdoses are in patients first were prescribed pain-killers for back pain.
The Root Cause of Back Pain
As Pilates teacher we like to think that often the root cause of large percentage of back pain lies in core weakness and instability. Research shows that people with low back pain have significantly less core strength and stability than those without back pain.
Our “core” consists of all the muscles that surround the spinal column. A healthy, strong, stable core is required to maintain our posture and help us move efficiently and safely.
Recovering and Preventing Back Pain
The key to getting out of pain (and preventing it from coming back) is to restore the function and stability of the core, and one effective ways to do this is with Pilates.
Pilates is a series of controlled exercises and specifically work at strengthening the core. It’s especially helpful for enhancing muscle strength and function, which also has the benefit of improving the neurological functioning system of the core.
Research shows that Pilates helps with back pain in many ways:
- Pilates is safe. One of the great things about Pilates is that the exercises can be adjusted and adapted for every client to make sure it’s comfortable and customized for your pace. Your Pilates instructor will tailor your sessions to match your abilities and needs.
- Pilates gets to the root of the problem. Pilates was developed specifically to strengthen and stabilize the core.
- Pilates is effective at reducing current symptoms. Numerous recent studies have been done that find that
- Pilates is an effective way to help reduce pain and disability from back pain.
Pilates helps prevent future episodes of back pain. Research shows that patients who regularly do Pilates have fewer recurrences of pain.
- Pilates helps improve overall quality of life. The science shows that Pilates improves daily functioning, lung function, and helps people stay more active.
- Pilates helps reduce disability from back pain. By building strength, stamina, and confidence, research shows that people who do Pilates have less disability from their back pain.
- Pilates helps your overall body’s function. Research shows it improves gait and neck pain issues in patients with low back pain. It’s also a great way to improve balance, which is an important factor as we get older.
- Pilates has been shown to be effective for teens with back pain.
- Pilates helps reduce fear of re-injury. Kinesiophobia is the “fear of movement,” and that’s a factor that makes it difficult for patients to get back to activities after an injury. This fear makes it difficult for some patients to become active again, which is likely to result in long-term disability and chronic pain. Research shows that Pilates is an effective method of helping patients with kinesiophobia.
- Pilates helps with weight loss. Carrying extra weight makes it more likely that you’ll develop back pain. Research shows that Pilates helps reduce back pain in those with weight issues, plus it also works well for weight loss.
- Pilates is natural. Pilates doesn’t involve expensive treatment, drugs, or surgery–it’s just your body moving efficiently and naturally.
You don’t have to suffer from chronic back pain. Millions of people have discovered the benefits of Pilates for not only getting out of pain, but for improving overall fitness and happiness.
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