Do you know that low back pain is very common? National statistics indicate one in every 5 persons suffers from low back pain at any one time and that there is an 80% chance of a person having low back pain sometime in their lives – extracted from Musculoskeletal Consumer Review.
Our back/spine is made up of individual bones stacked on top of each other. In between the bones are discs that act as shock absorbers. Within the bones, are located the spinal cord and nerves. Ligaments and muscles connect the bones together and keep them aligned.
When viewed from the side, our spine has a natural S-shaped curve. Strong and balanced muscles contribute to a healthy spine.
One of the most common causes of low back pain is faulty posture, causing increased degeneration or injury to the spinal discs.
So what happens, when we have a faulty posture? Like this sitting posture so common in daily life.
In such prolonged sitting position, the back muscles are lengthened and weakened while the front muscles (abdominals) become tight. These muscles act on the spinal bones, causing the front of the spine to be compressed, putting unbalanced pressure on the discs. Over time, the pressure may cause the disc to bulge and touch the sensitive nerves – and hence the ache or pain in the low back.
This is a very simplified explanation of how poor sitting posture can lead to low back pain. Poor sitting position can also change the tone and strength of the various hip muscles, and these imbalanced muscles can aggravate low back pain.
If a client with low back pain is diagnosed as being caused by a disc bulge, it is generally not necessary for an operation. A good movement program can assist to restore muscle imbalances and to acquire a physical fitness without pain.
The primary tenet of Pilates Training is physical fitness in a coordinated and balanced tri-part unit of body, mind and spirit (Return to Life, by Joseph Pilates). And regular Pilates Training has been proven to help clients with low back pain and to prevent recurrence.
With such clients, Pilates Training aims to strengthen the back muscles and stretch out the front muscles. But it is much more than that, it is a holistic approach to develop physical fitness for a better posture (in all positions) and hence a healthier spine.