Back Pain and Prevention

A few years ago, my father and I made a pact that we would complete the entire P90X program. Once we went through the program at a slower speed than the instructors, we decided to try it again speeding up a little...and then again. While our bodies saw great results, we both ended up throwing out our backs. My father's condition was far worse than mine, due to his age. He couldn't move out of his chair for weeks. Regardless, we both ended up having to see a chiropractor. 

We were scolded for being so harsh on our bodies and had to begin with simple exercises like turning our neck from the left to the right (which was surprisingly difficult at first). Eventually, we worked our way up to being functional human beings again. We were ready to hop right back into our P90X program, but our chiropractor stopped us and told us to try Pilates instead. 

Getting Started

I had never tried Pilates before, but it turned out to be a great workout alternative. It toned my body beautifully without causing unnecessary back strain. If your back is sensitive or if you're a beginner to Pilates, you should begin with the fundamentals or with this beginner's calendar. If you find yourself usually sitting like the picture above, you're in for a long world of hurt if you don't start improving your back strength at posture. Pilates can help!

Most people give up on Pilates pretty early. They go to some Pilates class or try some advanced Pilates video and find themselves unable to keep up or keep their legs perfectly straight in the poses.

Pilates is a learning process. If you start at the beginning with the links I gave above, you'll be able to build up your strength until you can hit those poses. Your body will thank you for it.

The Science Behind Pilates

So how exactly does Pilates help with back pain? First of all, by building strength on both sides of the body, it will help stop uneven stresses from pressing on the discs of your back. Most of us have one side that's far stronger than another just because we use it more often. Just like most of us are right-handed or left-handed, most of us use one half of our back more than the other. Over time this can lead to terrible back pain. Pilates can help you work both sides, evening the strength out so that you no longer favour one over the other. 

Pilates can also help improve your posture. By strengthening your core, pilates will make it so that your back doesn't have to take the brunt of sitting for long periods of time. Since so many people today are either students or have desk jobs, we spend a lot of time sitting. Improving our posture is a great way to help prevent future back pain. 

Another one of the many benefits of Pilates is that it helps improve strength and flexibility in your shoulders and hips. A lot of back pain can stem from weak or tense hips and shoulders because that puts more pressure on the vertebral column. If other parts of our body aren't pulling their weight, the back will often take over. This can wear out your back easily and make things a lot harder in the long run. 

I hope some of these reasons inspire you all to try out Pilates. Whether you're already suffering from back pain, you're trying to prevent future hurt, or you just want to try a new workout that is gentle on the body, Pilates is great exercise. If you're suffering from a pretty severe injured back already, there are moves specifically to help those with back pain. Otherwise, check out some of the beginner Pilates moves and tone your way to a healthier and happier lifestyle.