A Simple Guide to Fixing Back Pain Forever!

A Simple Guide to Fixing Back Pain Forever!

Let’s face it, being in pain sucks!

It limits what you can do and not only creates a narrow life but can become your life!

Is it possible to get rid of back pain forever? Absolutely! We’ve helped hundreds of people get rid of back pain with the amazing pilates method of exercise.

Below are the essential elements that will help you overcome chronic or acute back pain.

POSTURE

Is the foundation for all movement in the body! Do you think of your posture as being good or bad? Posture isn’t “good” or “bad”, it’s not being anything…it just is!

The word posture relates to the position that your body is in at any given time. Then we have a look at how aligned your posture is to the “ideal” position for the body to be in to create great movement and not put stress or strain on any muscles or joints.

Your posture is the result of either having a balance of length and strength in all your muscles and joints…or not!

We are all born with a postural “profile” which may be seen in other family members as well. Some postural profiles are naturally very aligned to the ideal posture and some are not.

Remember…it’s not good or bad, it just is!

Your natural postural profile only needs to be re balanced if it is causing you problems with movement or putting stress or strain on joints and muscles.

There are also other factors that affect your posture. Sitting too much…which is 90% of the population these days! Injury and chronic pain will instantly create an imbalance in your body. Sporting activities that are repetitive or single sided like golf, tennis, running, cycling.

Now, as soon as you mention the word posture most people attempt to be more upright, with good reason.

Gravity is essentially squashing us all day long, pushing us to the ground. It’s the reason that we don’t fly off in to space! When the astronauts go in to space, they grow, sometimes up to 5cms!

It’s important to remember that we all have very individual posture and what is ideal for one person, may not be ideal for another.

Chronic postural imbalances may not present any problems for years. All of a sudden you develop a sore neck, knee, have a lower back injury which may have been either prevented or minimised by addressing postural issues sooner.

CORE STRENGTH

Core strength creates strong, functional movement, but did you know that core strength is not the same as abdominal strength!

The definition of core strength is:

“The balanced development of all the muscles of the torso, including the very deep postural muscles. All these muscles need to work in harmony and with just the right balance of strength and length and include the abdominal, back, hip and shoulder muscles.”

As you can see, core strength is pretty complex and abdominal strength is just one part of it.

The reason that Pilates “flattens your abs” is that it develops core strength from the inside out, or from the deepest muscles (postural), to the more superficial (that sometimes get called mirror muscles).

The deepest abdominal muscle has a funny name but is critical to core strength and also to having flat abs. It’s called Transversus Abdominus and it is the corset or belt of the torso.

When this muscle is weak, your lower belly will bulge out and sag…yikes!

You will also lose the support that this muscle provides for the lower back. In fact, if you have lower back pain, chances are that this muscle needs some strengthening.

Just like a corset, when you have a strong Transversus Abdominus it pulls your belly in and flattens it out.

Doing traditional sit ups alone, won’t train Transversus Abdominus. In fact, many very fit men and women who do loads of abdominal exercises, can still have a weak Transversus Abdominus suffer ongoing lower back issues.

There are very specific exercises you need to do to get this muscle strong and when you first start Pilates, this is what you focus on the most. And it’s very important to learn how to do this in the correct way

Pilates is a very clever exercise method! It develops all of your muscles in the correct way, gives you great posture, mobility and flat, strong abs capable of supporting the entire trunk and torso.

So far, we’ve created a great foundation by correcting postural imbalances, then developed core strength to keep your corrected posture in place and prevent your back pain from returning, next is flexibility! The biggest hurdle for many people!

FLEXIBILITY

Flexibility prevents tension and joint stiffness and dysfunction. What Is Flexibility? Everybody assumes that you do some stretching and your flexibility will get better, right?

Well not really.

Some people are born with a natural flexibility and their body doesn’t need a lot of stretching. What they need is strengthening.

One of the Pilates principles is to develop long, strong muscles that can perform and have strength in any range of movement.There’s no point in having a great range of movement if it doesn’t have any power! What a lot of people miss when trying to get flexible is that it’s just like any other type of physical training.

It needs to be very specific for each individual, have a structured, time framed program with progressions and have a measurable goal.

A simple way to test your flexibility is a basic sit and reach test. Can you sit completely upright with your legs stretched out in front of you and the feet flat against the wall?

If not, then you have some work to do!

There is another reason that “just stretching” may not be the best approach to becoming flexible.

Lack of balance in the body.

Some muscles are weak, while other muscles are over compensating and over working. Some muscles are very tight, whilst other muscles have no tone in them at all.

Joseph Pilates was the creator of the Pilates method. He was very firm in his conviction that the only way that the body functioned properly was to develop the body uniformly.

When the body is out of balance, the joints, including the spine can “stiffen” because they can’t move properly due to the tight muscles surrounding it.

If you are serious about becoming more flexible you will need a postural assessment, be given specific stretches for your body and incorporate stretching in to your daily habits.

There’s just one more topic that needs to be addressed if you are serious about preventing or relieving back pain.

It might surprise you! Not many people think of it in relation to back pain or Pilates.

DIET, NUTRITION & WEIGHT

Why will losing weight help fix back pain?

Lifestyle! We all know that having a healthy lifestyle, being active and maintaining a “healthy” body weight helps prevent illness. But healthy lifestyle rarely gets talked about in relation to preventing back pain.

Put simply, when the abdominal muscles contract, they contract inward towards the organs. They create a strong “corset” or belt for the entire trunk and torso

Now body fat not only gets stored just under your skin (this is called subcutaneous fat), but also inside your body, around your organs (this is called visceral fat).

When you have this visceral fat, and you try to contract your abdominal muscles inwards…well, you can’t do it.

And that’s because there is no space for them to contract in to. It’s kind of like trying to squeeze a balloon and expecting it to stay squeezed in once you’ve let go.

So will you be able to get strong abdominals if you are overweight? Maybe!

But they won’t be capable of functioning to their best ability, leaving you vulnerable to potential lower back pain.

Spines love to bend, and they love to bend in all sorts of different directions…backwards, sideways, twisting and forwards.

If you have too much body fat around your belly, it really does restrict the amount of mobility you can achieve in your spine, especially bending forward.

In our everyday life, we do a lot of forward bending in daily activities. Bending over to put your shoes on, picking kids from the floor, gardening, housework etc..

The combination of a mobile, flexible spine AND strong abdominal muscles, creates a body capable of performing these activities easily, effortlessly and without injury.

If you struggle with these activities and you are carrying a few extra kilos, then that extra weight is compromising your ability to get core strong and the long term health of your spine.

Spines need food and water! It’s funny how we only think of nutrition in terms of weight and healthy function of the body in relation to health. Your spine has nutritional needs, and just like the rest of your body if these needs are neglected…well, you will not have a healthy spine!

Whether you have chronic ongoing back pain or an acute back injury, using food and nutrition as medicine for your spine will accelerate your results.

The bones in your spine are called vertebra, and in between each vertebra is a vertebral disc. The discs are shock absorbers and stop the bones rubbing together. They are unable to do their job unless they are fully hydrated!

When they are dehydrated, they “thin out” and this can lead to degeneration and back pain.  Once the discs are degenerated, they can not return to a healthy state.

In the end, being able to live the life you desire without physical limitations and with enthusiasm and enjoyment is the ultimate goal.

Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, was beyond passionate about enabling people to live healthier, happier and productive lives for the duration of their lives.

And we are too!

If you've been "putting up" with back pain and want to learn how Pilates can help YOU live a pain free life, book a FREE Consultation today!



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