4 Things You Didn't Know About Pilates for Back Pain

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in America. But, the good news revealed by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is that most people who experience chronic back pain don't require surgery to treat it. Alternative therapies, such as Pilates for instance, have been found to improve flexibility and mobility and reduce back pain, according to Virtual Medical Centre. That's because Pilates strengthens all your muscles, including the ones in your core. Strong abdominal muscles provide support for your back to help alleviate pain and avoid injury.

pilates for backpain
Pilates Health Benefits
Many of the main benefits of practicing Pilates are associated with reducing back pain and preventing back injury. Pilates focuses on proper posture which can improve after just one session, according to Portia Page in her book "Pilates Illustrated." Additionally, Pilates strengthens your core muscles, teaches you how to move with more fluidity and improves your strength and flexibility so you can perform everyday tasks such as lifting and bending safely.

No Equipment Necessary
If the local health club has a few Pilates Reformers, you might be under the impression that those large contraptions are always necessary for doing Pilates exercises. However, that's not the case. Although performing Pilates with a Reformer, resistance bands, a trapeze table or Pilates balls are all beneficial in different ways, equipment isn't necessary. There are a number of Pilates exercises that can be done with nothing more than a simple yoga mat. Exercises such as knee folds, angel arms and pelvic circles, are all useful for alleviating back pain.

Get Some Professional Guidance
You should always consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise regimen when you have chronic back pain. If he gives you the OK, take a class from a licensed Pilates instructor so you learn proper form from the start. Any exercise can cause pain or further injury if it's not performed correctly. At the very least, rent or buy a Pilates instructional DVD that you can learn from and follow along with at home before you begin structuring your own personal workout. You can then incorporate Pilates, Yoga and other moves that will benefit your condition most. Online resources can be useful, too. For instance, websites such as spine-exercises.com provide video instruction for properly performing alternative spine exercises to alleviate back pain.

Frequency of Workouts
While you may experience quick pain relief in as little as one session, it's important to be consistent in practicing Pilates to continue strengthening your back and core muscles, and to keep back pain at bay. Work a Pilates session into your schedule at least three times a week, but up to six times if possible. Four 15-minute sessions per week are enough to build strength and alleviate pain, but be sure that you schedule enough time for a warm up before your workout and stretching and a cool down afterward.

Toni Rivera is a fitness instructor and vegan from California.




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