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On Back Pain

Quite a few people come to start Pilates as they have back pain. Many find their symptoms improve - either resolve or get at least some relief - with diligent practice and time. People understandably worry about their ongoing discomfort or pain. Research has however found that chronic pain does not actually equal tissue damage, or explain the degree thereof, and conversely, tissue damage does not equal chronic pain.  

To elaborate on that - a study of symptom-free individuals has identified a notable percentage of people whose MRI have shown they have disk prolapses but they were unaware of that. On the other hand, it is also known that people can have a lot of discomfort from a relatively minor disk protrusion, and others are in less pain from a more notable protrusion. There are clearly other factors at play in how the brain chooses to interpret pain. Our thoughts, emotional states like anxiety, and behaviours we adopt, amongst other factors, will also play a role in how we experience pain. 

With this taken into account, we can see how Pilates can help with back pain not just because it will keep your joints moving in better alignment, with more control and precision, keeping tissues supple, but also because it helps you move mindfully, achieve greater awareness of yourself and soothe your nervous system.


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