Today we're celebrating the Pilates method of exercise.. a technique that has played a big role in my life personally. During my last few years as a professional Artistic gymnast, I was battling with severe back pain. Turned out, I had disc degeneration in my lower back to the extent where the vertebrae didn't have sufficient shock absorption (due to reduced discs) and I was left with an almost 'bone on bone' situation. So apart from resting and avoiding excessive back extension and strain, I started with Biokinetics rehab - which was mainly Pilates. My Biokineticist started me off on some basic Pilates principles and once I mastered those I started giving and partaking Pilates classes during my internship year and later on during my working career as a Bio.
Since then Pilates has been a part of my life at least 3 times a week and has significantly reduced my back pain. Having first hand experience of the benefits that Pilates has on lower back pain I strongly advocate it's use in all my rehab programs. Pilates has great benefits for the following:
1. Reducing and maintaining lower back pain chronic
2. Enhances body awareness and thereby improves your overall body posture
3. Strengthens your deep core muscles and hip stabilizers - the majority of the muscles that are essential in providing support to your spine and pelvis
4. Improves your mobility
As this method of exercise has been so successful in maintaining lower back pain, I wanted to dig deeper and see if we could use this to combact the increase in neck and shoulder pain, especially amongst the computer-workers population where this is a common issue. So in 2015 I embarked in my Masters thesis which looked at the effect of a 9-week Pilates intervention on neck, shoulder and upper back pain in female office workers. After 3 years, the study was concluded and the most significant results were reduction in pain intensity in these areas as well as increased range of motion of the neck and shoulder and increased shoulder of varied clinical significance. Positive impacts all round!
I'll be sure to post and link my masters thesis summary for you guys in the next post if you're interested in reading about the study in more depth :)
So now that you know what Pilates brings to the table, go try out a session! You'll thank me later! It's easy enough for anyone to try out, young and old, and is safe for those suffering with skeletal injuries and other medical diseases and conditions. No excuses... Pilates is for everyone!