A lot of us are going to Pilates classes in the belief that they are ‘back friendly’ but research shows that they can actually do us more harm than good! You may have seen articles recently suggesting that pilates, yoga and other exercise classes are not as good for us as we first thought. Why is this being suggested?
Pilates classes focus on teaching people to target the transverse abdominis muscle by ‘drawing in their navel towards the spine’. However, one of the world’s leading experts in back pain research, Professor Stuart McGill has found that this ‘drawing in’ may in fact be responsible for reducing the stability of the back supporting muscles – the very thing you are trying to improve!! There are also a lot of exercises we can do that strengthen muscles but some of the most effective exercises also compress the discs in the low back and this can cause more damage rather than help you. You need to know if your back is capable of undertaking strengthening exercises before you start them. Yoga can lead to overstretching when what we should be doing is correctly strengthening weakened muscles. Stretching on its own can lead to problems.
So what should you do instead and why?
Professor McGill states that it is the imbalance of muscle groups that is more likely to give rise to back pain than simply ‘being unfit’. Therefore the best scientific approach to help chronic back pain is to do exercises that address imbalance rather than those that just aim to strengthen one particular muscle group.
A Chiropractor has undertaken extensive study into exercise regimes that best help you to make a full recovery from a bout of back pain but also prevent recurrences whilst ensuring that the exercises you are prescribed are not overloading your already weakened spine.
Therefore, before you embark on a course of unprescribed exercise classes, do discuss with a Chiropractor what you propose so that they can ensure you are doing the BEST for your spine.
Is this good for your back if you have a problem? It is a pilates exercise …………….. Ask your BCA chiropractor before you try it!
Our experienced team of Chiropractors in Southampton are here to help you – why not get in touch with one and seek their advice.