Back pain, be it in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine, affects a large part of the population at any given time. Given its prevalence, many approaches have been created to deal with this problem.
However, one of the best ways to relieve and prevent the return of any pain is to approach it in a natural manner that targets the source of the pain. That being said, exercises are probably one of the best methods to alleviate pain along the spine. Pilates exercises can be highly beneficial for many people, and one area that focuses on improving wellness levels rather than fitness levels, which is often referred to as clinical Pilates.
How Pilates Can Help Relieve Back Pain
Pilates is a type of workout comprised of groups of exercises that are based on timing each movement based on your breathing. As you alternatively inhale and exhale, you move one part of your body at a time. Pilates exercises can be performed either on their own on a mat, or with the help of a special machine called a ‘Reformer’.
While the main aim of Pilates is to help improve physical fitness as well as mental wellbeing, it can also be employed to target spine problems when it is combined with another device that focuses on addressing spine pain through exercises as well. That device is called the Spinal Backrack.
Because of its design, the Backrack works on the entire spine, and it is effective for many types of pain, such as lower back pain, thoracic pain, neck pain, pain from pinched nerves, pain from herniated discs, and even chronic back pain.
Backrack Spinal Decompression Device
referred pain. However, to add an additional level of challenge in order to apply more force to the spine and engage in a more dynamic activity, they can be combined with Pilates exercises. The Backrack can be used with mat Pilates exercises, as well as with the reformer machine.
Together, the benefits for your spine are multiplied are not limited only to reducing the pain, but also preventing it from returning in the future, strengthening your back muscles, core muscles and abdominals, and also improving posture, mobility and flexibility in your back, neck, hips and shoulders.
Before taking up the combined approach, it is recommended that you are familiar with both devices separately at first. Then you can slowly begin to engage in back pain Pilates exercises. If you are completely new to the concept, here is how they would work.
In the case of a reformer Pilates machine, the Backrack rests on the flat surface of the machine, with the top part (where your head would be placed) towards the machine. Once there, lay down on the Backrack in the initial position, ensuring you have a neutral spine and pelvis, where your back is not arched. From there, make sure you can reach the Pilates machine’s attachment, so that you can start your exercises.
In the following video you can find some beginner-friendly exercises that are performed with the Backrack on the Pilates machine. Some examples include:
- The Knee Roll. For this exercise, lay on the rack in the neutral position as shown, place the bar on the machine behind your knees, then grab your knees on either side and gently roll your lower back from side to side a few times, while your upper back stays still. This exercise is effective for low back pain.
- Leg Extension. Lay in the same neutral position on the rack but move the bar onto your feet and hold onto it with your feet or toes, while your extend and bend your legs a few times.
- Leg Stretches. While still holding onto the bar with your feet, you can proceed to a more advanced variation of the previous exercise. Shortly after extending your legs, instead of bringing them back straight away, add an extra step where you push the bar forward with your legs, then return them in the bent position.