Source: Oh, my aching back!
For years the talk has been about stability and core strength in the treatment of back pain. However, using the abdominals is only one small part of the complex picture necessary to manage and treat dysfunction of the muscles that provide stability and support to the spine. Do you know how to activate the deep muscles of your spine and pelvis to provide support? Once you have created support through the muscles, are you able to maintain a muscular contraction as you breathe and move?
Optimal spinal control includes activation of the pelvic floor and deepest layer of abdominals (transversus abdominus). Ideally these connections happen in anticipation of movement. Research shows that people with lower back pain are delayed in connecting these deep support muscles and often change which muscles they recruit, thereby reducing the shock absorbing qualities of the spine and making it more difficult for the spine and pelvis to transfer loads effectively (Hodges et al, 1996). Often stiffening of the spine and decreased movement is the strategy of choice for those with back pain. This suboptimal approach results in decreased flexibility and more pain.
The Pilates approach is an ideal component of treatment for men and women with low-back pain. The focus in a one-on-one session is to address your ability to comprehend and connect with the deepest layer of abdominals; activate your pelvic floor muscles in combination with your transversus abdominus to create optimal control; learn how the diaphragm and your breath influences your connection with these important stabilizing muscles; learn how your posture and alignment impact your ability to engage your muscles and decrease strain on your joints; improve your strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination; and challenge your ability to support your spine and pelvis during functional movements.
Back care is so much more than some simple crunches. If you are experiencing back pain, you owe it to yourself to learn more about your body and how it works.
“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30; you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” – Joseph H. Pilates
Allison Kares is the owner of Movement Unlimited Inc. With 25 years of experience in the rehabilitation and fitness industries, Allison has created a facility that will appeal to young and old. Her expert staff have specialized their training approach to provide programs for all ages and abilities. The team has a unique approach to fitness that provides the appropriate challenge for clients of all fitness levels. Using sound training techniques, our instructors can provide you with a safe and effective program that will inspire you to a new level of fitness. Contact her at or firstname.lastname@example.org.