Pilates workouts can help prevent low back pain. By following the principles of Pilates we’ll look at understanding your body’s natural alignment thus strengthening the muscles that support your low back and spine.
What does your low back pain mean?
Understanding your low back pain can be hard. If you have general stiffness or mild soreness that comes and goes it may mean there is an imbalance in muscles that support the spine. A Pilates workout can be your tool to understand and improve these imbalances. In summary, we want to create new movement patterns and better overall posture. We’ll look at establishing your neutral pelvis and basic workouts to help low back pain.
What is neutral spine?
In the Pilates method, neutral seeks to stabilize the spin. Stabilize means properly engaging and balancing the muscles that act on the spine, from front to back and side to side. This group of muscles and ligaments around the lower spine and pelvis are more commonly referred to as your abdominals – it’s not just your six pack! Your abs support flexion, extension, rotation and side bending.
These are the muscles and ligaments that support the spine: the transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, multifidi, diaphragm, anterior fibers of the psoas major, and quadratus lumborum.
Overall, your abs work together to balance the forces of movement on the spine, hence ab exercises that focus on balancing the strength of all the abdominals muscles and ligaments help prevent low back pain.
The first step towards finding your neutral is to remain open and responsive. Keep in mind your unique structural alignment and neutral looks different from others. For some, it will look like the pelvis is tilted more towards the front of the body. For others the pelvis may tilt towards the back of the body.
How Does Pilates Help?
Pilates focuses on stability exercises that help re-train your body. In your workout we activate all the abdominal muscles in a domino-like affect that gently squeeze the spine. This gentle squeeze creates a stabilizing force on the many joints between each vertebrae, supporting your low back.
Start by focusing on several simple exercises and workout techniques, you can even does these ate home, to help prevent, decrease, and mitigate low back pain. Identify a pelvic position you can maintain that does not cause low back pain. Work up to challenging your abdominal strength by holding that position despite leg or arm movement. This minute attention to controlling your pelvis in your workout helps prevent low back pain.
The Exercises to Try.
Regular practice to achieve optimal function and performance of your abdominals in these simple yet effective workouts help low back pain.
The Take Away.
The beauty of the spine is that it’s designed to be mobile within a strong and balanced muscular and ligamentous framework! It’s important to understand that the bones of our lumbar spine are both mobile and delicate. They need the balanced activation of the abdominal muscles to support your neutral spine.
Pilates can help you build better body awareness as you learn exercise basics from the mat to the reformer. Use that mindfulness approach throughout your day, assessing what positions are comfortable and don’t exacerbate your low back pain.
How do you like to sit?
When do you need to stretch during the day?
What makes some of your symptoms worse or better?
What are other daily activities, both intensity and types of activities, that affect your low back?
And what are your goals?
Your goals need to match the frequency with which you work towards balancing and developing muscle strength. Most importantly, one workout can help low back pain, but weekly or even daily attention to building your ab strength will directly affect the success of meeting your long term hope of living life pain free.
Keep up with a quarantine workout plan. Check out our virtual mat classes or sign up for private and/or semi-private Reformer sessions beginning Monday, May 11th. And look forward to a soft-reopening group schedule starting Saturday, May 16th! Details to come.
Don’t miss an update, sign up for our studio emails!