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Yoga and Pilates and Back Pain

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 posture.

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 posture naturally.

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 Pilates?

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 Take Place?

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 or immobility.
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.

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