Yoga and Pilates are both becoming increasingly popular, which
probably has something to do with their increasing popularity
with celebrities; they are choosing it as their favoured form
of exercise. Yoga in particular is suggested by medical professionals
as an efficient method of treating and preventing back pain.
What is Yoga?
Practised for over 5,000 years
in India, through yoga the practitioner engages in developing
spiritual and physiological well-being. Techniques consist
of breathing exercises, meditation and maintaining correct
What is Pilates?
Pilates was introduced in
the early 20th century and it encourages the mind to take
control of the muscles, aiding accurate postural alignment
and strength of the spinal column.
The Use of Yoga in the Presence
of Back Pain
In the treatment of back pain yoga is particularly good, as
nearly all movements work on both sides of the body at the
same time. Stress can be put on the sacroiliac joint by pushing
one side more than the other.
Yoga is believed to be helpful
in the treatment of back pain as it teaches balance, flexibility
and strengthens muscles. By steadily building up the complexity
of movements, the body will learn how to dispense its weight
effectively which will help the body maintain balance and
The poses you learn in Yoga
are expected to teach you about body-awareness on movement
and before repositioning. Participating in Yoga frequently
will encourage a more flexible body with less chance of injury
occurring from rapid movements.
The Use of Pilates
in the Presence of Back Pain
Pilates is all to do with
improving the body’s alignment by increasing length,
flexibility and tone of muscle rather than building muscle
density. Pilates try to steadily encourage the joining of
mind and body by using a number of exercises done on a daily
basis, which will develop core muscles within the body, particularly
those around the spinal column.
Deep breathing techniques
also promote a healthy blood flow through the body helping
in the recovery of muscular or ligament damage. The actions
taught in Pilates lessons teach how to uphold steady control
of the muscles, by this means eliminating many risks of back
injuries resulting from any hasty movements.
Specialists consider that those suffering from degenerative
disc disease, pain stemmed from abrupt movements and joint
complaints are the most probable to gain from learning Pilates.
Who Teaches Yoga and
As there is no recognised
governing body for becoming and practising as a Yoga and Pilates
instructor, background research should be carried out to find
out the qualifications of anyone whom is working as a teacher.
When attending a Yoga or
Pilate’s class, it is important to tell the instructor
of any existing medical conditions especially those in relation
to the spine and mobility.
If a definite diagnosis has been made for a back condition,
it is advisable to seek advice from your GP before beginning
any classes, as some conditions are contra-indicated with
the practices of Yoga and Pilates.
Where do Classes
Your GP or Physiotherapist
may be able to suggest a decent class that is appropriate
for those suffering from back pain. Local leisure centres,
schools and community centres often run classes at a very
reasonable price. It is worth remembering though, that people
with injuries could require occasional one-to-one teaching,
and due to cheaper classes being more popular this may not
always be offered so it won’t be suitable for everyone.
Going to classes can be a
good way of building a social circle. Back complaints can
be the effect of social isolation due to depression, anxiety
It is essential to remember that there are different levels
of skill. Classes are usually set for three levels: beginner,
intermediate and advanced. Do not have expectations of being
able to do more than you are able to do in the beginning as
it takes time to build-up to an advanced level.
At-home videos and DVDs can
be found in many high-street shops, nevertheless there are
disadvantages of this; you are not capable to ask for help,
unlike one-to-one teaching so in some cases are unable to
get the full benefits from them.
If learning Yoga at home,
make sure suitable clothing is worn and a suitable space and
non-slip mats are used.
Yoga and Pilates are acknowledged
activities that can help posture, balance and strength; all
of which are essential in preventing back injury.
The relaxation acquired with
these practices can ease back pain by reducing stress and
depression. If you are not sure whether Yoga or Pilates are
suitable as treatments for your back complaint, then seek
advice from the GP or Physiotherapist.