According to this article by WebMD, 100 million Americans suffer with chronic pain, costing a combined $600 billion per year in medical treatments and lost productivity.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that 75-80% of Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. (source: AANS) Fortunately, in about 90-95% of cases, the issue can be resolved without surgery.
Non-surgical treatments for back pain include medications and supplements, ice/heat/compression routines, steroid and non-steroid (anti-inflammatory) injections, physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, weight loss, and exercise. If you’re a patient of an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist or a chiropractor, most likely exercise will be a vital component of your treatment plan.
Back pain can be caused by a number of issues:
- joint degeneration
- herniated disc
- joint inflammation
- muscle spasms
- poor posture
- car accident
- sports injury
- pinched nerve
If you live with back pain, chronic or temporary, you know how much it can dominate your daily life. Your back pain is likely exacerbated if you are overweight or inactive for much of your day, such as those with desk jobs and/or long commutes, which are both very common among modern Americans, especially those of us here in Orange County.
So what’s the solution?
Well, we aren’t doctors, so first things first is to consult with an orthopedic doctor. (Orthopedic doctors specialize in musculoskeletal issues, including back and neck pain, sports related injuries, car accident injuries, degenerative diseases, and more.) Chances are the physician will order some x-rays and maybe an MRI or CT scan to determine the cause of your pain. From there you and your doctor will develop a strategy for treating your condition and resolving your pain. If you are given clearance to exercise, that’s where we come in.
“Pilates-Inspired” Lagree is Great for Back Pain
Building strength (particularly in the core, low back, glutes (butt muscles) and hamstrings), improving posture and alignment, and increasing flexibility are effective ways to reduce and treat back pain.
These measures not only treat the symptoms, but in some cases they target the root cause of the pain, thereby resolving the issue for good. Obviously exercise is great for a whole host of other reasons too (heart health, bone density, circulation, metabolism and weight control, anti-aging, and mental health, among others), so you can keep it up for life and be very glad you did!
Pilates has long touted its “back healthy” benefits. According to this article from Spine-health.com, here are some ways Pilates helps back pain sufferers:
- it teaches awareness of movement habits that may stress the spine and helps you preserve neutral alignment of the spine
- it strengthens the deep postural muscles that support neutral alignment of the spine
- it can improve postural asymmetries, decreasing wear and tear on the joints and discs
- it improves strength, flexibility, and suppleness of the muscles of the hip and shoulder girdle
- fluid and supported movement through the hip and shoulder joints help prevent unnecessary torque of the vertebral column
As a Pilates-inspired workout, Lagree fitness also offers those same benefits to back pain sufferers. Lagree fitness is about overall body strength, core strength, balance, proper body composition, flexibility, and mental health. Lagree is a low-impact workout, putting little stress on the joints. The movements are slow and controlled, building up your core and all the supporting muscles around your spine. Your instructor will be there to guide you and ensure proper alignment during each movement. Read about The Science of Lagree for a more in-depth explanation.
If you’re wondering what mental health has to do with back pain…
Did you know that about 50% of people living with chronic pain also have depression? (source: PsychCentral) The good news is, regular exercise has been shown to be very effective in treating depression – in some cases, as effective as anti-depressants. (This is often recommended to be in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. As always, talk to your doctor and therapist before altering or stopping any medications.)
Here’s to healthy minds, bodies, and backs!