COLUMN: Can Pilates solve problems like back ache?

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Pauline Caswell is the owner of Love Pilates Wirral. Pauline is a skilled 2nd Generation teacher with a direct lineage to Joseph Pilates. She’s also a qualified teacher of Education in Biology, Psychology, Science & Health. Her practice is about helping people to feel good about movement and the body you live in, whatever your lifestyle, age or ability. This is her latest column for West Kirby Today.

Can Pilates solve problems like back ache?
In October 2020, the Global Burden of Disease study listed “low back pain” in the top 10 causes of global health loss in the last 30 years. If you are among the millions of people in the UK who suffer, you will already know how debilitating it can be.

We use our spines in all day-to-day movements, yet we probably never consciously think about keeping our spines healthy, or even what that means. Most people focus on developing a flatter stomach or bigger biceps if they are trying to improve their body – they might work hard to achieve them, but they are missing the bigger picture.

The building blocks of a healthy life
Your spine began only five weeks after you were conceived! Tiny building blocks called “somites” lined up neatly to begin this truly important structure. Your spine was there at your beginning, and we should look after it better than we do for the years that make up the rest of our lives.

Without a strong and flexible spine, nothing else will work as well as it should – your ribs, arms, hips and legs all hang off it. Our spine is mostly ignored. If we are lucky we might notice it once a twice a year when we rub sun lotion on our backs – but it’s only if we feel a twinge that we really pay attention.
Joseph Pilates said: “if your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it’s completely flexible at 60 you are young.”

Pilates exercises are all about the spine
Your spine is vital to life, it can make you feel dynamic and strong, or weak and stiff. It is the main highway for important nerves and blood vessels, it holds you up, it’s not a body part that you can just pop into a sling if it has a problem. If your spine doesn’t work, not much else does.

Consider your usual day, how many movements do you make to ‘get life done’. Taking a shower, putting your socks on, walking, sitting, standing, picking things up, cooking, cleaning, sitting at a desk, playing sport, ALL involve your spine.

Use it or lose it
Take a moment now to add up roughly how many hours you spend every day sedentary or sitting, working all day at your desk, driving, sitting on a train, eating, drinking, online shopping, watching TV, socialising or just resting and sleeping. The answer won’t be in minutes, it will be hours! It’s likely that most of us put little demand on our spine. If your spine doesn’t have to do much, it won’t, so “use it or lose it” isn’t just a glib statement.

Pilates reduces back ache because it makes you stronger and more mobile, by using your own body weight as resistance and moving all of your joints in their fullest range of motion. In one Pilates class you will move your spine in every direction, just as it was designed to move.

Pilates promotes and maintains good spine health. Good spine health reduces back ache; reducing back ache improves day-to-day enjoyment of life.

Yes, Pilates can solve problems, like back ache.

For further information, to join a community class or book a private studio session visit: