Avoiding Back Pain with Pilates

Strengthening the core of the body through proper conditioning can be very important for avoiding back pain. This can present some challenges if you already suffer from back pain because you want to avoid straining your back further. As you look for ways to build muscle and strength in the back, consider yoga which can offer significant benefits. It is low impact, provides for a lot of stretching leading to muscle realignment, and it is invigorating to the mind.

Pilates is named after the man who invented it, Joseph Pilates, who was born in the late 1800s in Germany and who had many ailments as a child. As a nurse in the early part of this century, he noticed that many bedridden patients developed back pain due to long periods of immobility. He developed a system based on deep breathing and strengthening the core of the body. His idea was that strengthening the core leads to better alignment and a strong back to support movement and mobility. Joseph Pilates came to New York City in 1926 and immediately began to influence dancers who suffered from unbalanced and misaligned back muscles. They used his system to improve overall physical conditioning.

Pilates referred to the muscles found in the lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks and pelvis as the “powerhouse.” Strengthening these can not only avoid or reduce back pain and strain, but the exercises improve posture which is so important in maintaining a healthy back.

One of the main benefits of Pilates is improved flexibility and building muscle tone. The system calls for using many and varied exercises as opposed to doing the same exercises over and over. Today the number of exercises has grown to several hundred with many variations based on a person’s ability and consistency in practicing Pilates. All of the exercises are done using only the body, no weights to lift or machines are required.

Pilates really took off as a popular form of exercise in the United States in the 1990s, many years after Joseph Pilates’ death in 1967. Originally thought by many athletes to be exercises geared for women, they have now discovered the benefits of Pilates. Many athletes contend that a workout three times a week makes them stronger and faster and it appears to be growing in popularity year by year.

Pilates is a form of treatment often prescribed by physiotherapists for improving posture and growing muscle strength. These two things can play a dramatic role in preventing back pain.