Back Pain

Can Pilates help back pain? Yes, here’s how…

Pilates stretch for back pain

Can Pilates help back pain?

So, it keeps coming up… Can Pilates help back pain?

For me, it’s all about postural alignment. I keep coming back to it!

Postural alignment keeps coming up in my private Pilates sessions and small group classes.

It’s hard to do anything well if your postural alignment is off. You’ll inevitably end up with pain and/or injury.

Believe me, I’ve been there so many times over the course of my professional dance training, performing and teaching career. I was involved in a motorway accident 10 years ago and practising Pilates helped my back pain immensely.

So, how can you use Pilates principles to help your back pain?

Firstly if there is indeed pain; go to your GP and get a diagnosis. Most movement professionals will want you to have the OK from your doctor or specialist before you seek additional help.

Whilst you are awaiting your GP appointment – 2 week wait sometimes ? – assess your posture day to day.

How do you sit, stand and walk?

If you google postural alignment you will find images of the human skeleton with the natural curves of the spine. How does yours match up?

Where do you hold tension?

Can you loosen up a bit by lightly bending your knees?

Give your pelvis a little shimmy, tip it side to side, tilt it forwards and back wards.

Try to settle in a place where your hip bones at the front are lined up horizontally – imagine a spirit level across the front.

Your hip bones at the front should line up vertically with your pubic bone – ladies a slight 5 degree tip forwards of the hip bones for you; due to the shape of the female pelvis.

The rib cage should sit directly above the pelvis. Do a few forward and backward rib cage movements, then side to side. Wiggle about until you find that centre.

You are aiming for equal breadth across the front and back of the shoulders. Imagine the space between your two shoulders expanding infinitely to find that sense of openness.

‘Text Neck’ is a real problem nowadays.

When using a phone, tablet or even laptop; can you stretch out on the floor and rest on your elbows to use your device?

Imagine you have pointy elf or Spock ears with strings attached. They are constantly being pulled up so that your neck at the back is being lengthened a little.

As long as you don’t slump or hinge into your lower back (this is an active position) you should gain muscle strength and endurance from working or playing in this position.

Start with short bursts and build up gradually.

Lastly walking…

Do you out-toe whilst walking? Like Charlie Chaplin?

It is very common. Imagine how (when out toeing) you are rolling over the big toe joint every time you are about to change feet. You are potentially building towards some impressive bunions.

Walking mindfully with the 2nd toe pointing forwards will line your foot up beautifully.

Best foot forwards!

x Emmeline x

If you have read this far…

What are your thoughts?

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Joseph Pilates recommended practising his Contrology method 2-3 times a week. Attending class regularly will reinforce your home practice and ensure you are working towards your goals.

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