PILATES FOR LOWER BACK PAIN
Updated: Jul 16
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CAUSES OF LOWER BACK PAIN
Common causes of lower back pain come from our unhealthy daily routines and habits.
Have you been sitting too long?
Did you know that sitting puts 90% more pressure on your lower back than standing? (Source: Cornell University Department of Ergonomics) Most of us are sitting in an unhealthy position that causes a lot of tension and stress in the lower back. With our modern lifestyles which tend to be desk-bound and sedentary, we are already spending too much time sitting, and on top of that, in a stressed position.
Observe your own posture and tendencies when you are sitting.
- Let your head fall forward while spending too much time looking at a screen?
- Constantly lean forward from your lower back when you watch TV?
- Reach your arms far forward to type or use the mouse?
- Spend many hours sitting continuously?
are you holding in your emotions?
If you have been experiencing a tough time and lots of difficult emotions, these can manifest in your back. Feeling upset, especially over a period of time or consistently, can cause us to instinctively tense our back muscles. Our muscles do not relax and this can result in accumulated stress in the back.
What Pilates does is to help people bring more awareness to parts of the body and notice sensations in their bodies that they have been used to for a long time. Because we are so used to these sensations, we do not realize that these are actually unhealthy and even painful. Bringing the breath back into the tightest muscles can help bring relief to your lower back.
How is your posture?
Our modern lifestyles are not always conducive to keeping a healthy posture. Have you noticed how you stand when you are waiting for the bus for example? Do you "sit" into one side of the hip? Are you so focused on your phone you do not even realize how far your neck is stretched over?
Postural corrections given in Pilates classes can be applied throughout the day, not only in Pilates class. Check if your shoulders are lightly set back and your stomach is gently pulled in when you are in a standing position. Use your breath as a guide to how your body is feeling. A body that is slouched and hunched over will make it harder for the lungs to work.
Are you sleeping well?
Sleeping is an extremely important part of our lives and we spend so many hours dedicating ourselves to it! Yet we pay little attention to how our bodies are positioned when we are sleeping. Do you wake up sometimes with aches in your body instead of feeling refreshed? It is a good idea to check your mattress. It is a worthwhile investment to have a good, firm mattress. In an average lifetime, we spend almost 33 years in bed (https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleep-matters-club/your-life-in-numbers-infographic/) so if you have a mattress that is too saggy or too hard, your back is taking quite a beating which you may not be aware of until it starts to hurt.
What can you do about lower back pain?
The first thing you need is to be aware of how your body feels and how you are holding up your body. Pilates is a wonderful way to get you started on building a keen consciousness of your body parts and how they are moving and how they are connected.
Here are 10 easily doable tips you can adapt into your life immediately to make minor changes that can go a long way in bringing relief to your lower back.
A healthy back is a happy one!
1. Change postures frequently and take mini breaks often. Get up and go to the water cooler to get a sip or go to the bathroom to freshen up.
2. Put a rolled-up towel at the curve of your back when you sit on your chair so it gives a bit of support to your lower back.
3. Check that your hips and knees are at a right angle to the floor when you sit. If your chair is too high, use a footstool to prop up your feet and keep your feet flat on it.
4. Avoid crossing your legs.
5. At your work table, make sure you are able to rest your elbows and arms on the table or chair. Your shoulders should feel relaxed in this position.
6. Avoid twisting at the waist if you need to turn to get something. Turn your whole body instead. Take note of this especially if you have a pivoting chair.
7. If you spend a lot of time on your feet at work, lift one foot and rest it on a stool or box, and alternate throughout the day.
8. When picking up objects, especially heavy ones, bend your knees and keep your back straight as you lift the object.
9. If you need to carry heavy objects, keep them as close as possible to your body. Bend your arms and engage those deep stomach muscles!
10. Sleep on your side with your knees bent and you can also put a pillow between your knees to give your back some relief.
Try these simple steps to make a healthy, happy change for your body. With Pilates, you can move with joy and freedom instead of in pain. Experience what it is like to make Pilates a Natural Way of Life with us here. Feel and see the change. And goodbye to lower back pain!
My Body My Pilates studio is at 3 丁目5ー11元麻布 1/F Pilates Studio, Block C Majes Motoazabu Gardens, 港区 Tokyo 106-0046