is very common condition. 4:5 adults will suffer from it at some time and many will have to take time off work because of it. Most cases are non-specific and recover spontaneously, without any specialist intervention, but about 7% will go on to develop chronic back pain (Nachemson et al, 2000).
Osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists are invaluable in working on the misalignments in the bones and joints, but not everyone needs this. One of the major modifiable risk factors is lack of fitness/physical inactivity (Balague, 1999).Exercising at a low to moderate activity can reduce this risk and there are many non strenuous exercises that are known to be beneficial. However, care needs to be taken as inappropriate exercise can actually make things worse. Recent studies as reported in the media have shown that, in many cases, a tailored exercise programme such as ‘Yoga is better at treating a back back than going to the doctor’.
My pilates classes are geared to working on the muscles we need to strengthen to help with our posture. We start gently and build up through levels of intensity. As well as the strength aspect, we stretch muscles that are tight.
From the positive class members’ feedback, I know that what we do helps the majority of people. There has also been the added bonus of the increased flexibility helping a golf swing or just being able to reach behind for a seat belt.
The classes I teach are very functional, my classes do not use any extreme positions and unlike some pilates classes, as we don’t spend our lives lying flat on our backs! Rest used to be given as a suggested strategy if you had back pain, but that is known now to be outdated. Experts now advise to stay as active as possible and continue daily activities, hurting does not mean harm.
In a 1:1 session I can look much more into the needs of the individual and use more traditional gym exercise, with consideration to an individual’s likes and dislikes.