Low Back Pain
February 2009, Maui Hawaii
Many of my clients suffered from low back pain. Especially in the sacral-iliac area. This is the back area at the low triangle of the spine. This joint consists of the connective area between the sacrum and iliac crest. Clients come to me asking, “Do I keep moving? Or do I rest?” I am not a doctor and medical diagnosis is recommended. I do suggest clients consider common sense. Asking questions like, does your back feel better later in the day or earlier after waking? If the joint is inflamed from over use it would feel worse later in your day due to moving. If the joint is stuck or fixed needing correct movement and lubrications the joint would most likely feel better later in the day after activity. Listening to your body is a good starting point. Our bodies want to be healthy and pain free. It is many times our determination to push, pull, over work or put our bodies in unnatural postures over long durations of time that disrupts our natural process of health and comfort.
Anatomically the large bone of the upper leg, the femur inserts into the low pelvis (hip joint). The sciatic nerve runs through this hip joint. There are six deep muscles that keep the femur correctly placed in the pelvis. Should these deep six muscles not be working up to speed or sleeping there could be improper placement of the largest bone of our body the femur, into our pelvis. When the femur is not correctly placed it can pinch and irritate nerves or cause friction and discomfort in the hip. This type of discomfort is many times described as low back pain.
What does all this have to do with Pilates exercises a great deal? Pilates exercises work these deep hip muscles. When compressive stress is applied to the leg and hip when working a leg press machine the large quadriceps and hamstring muscles want to do the work. If these larger leg muscles can’t complete the movement or the leg to pelvis placement is compromised then the low back muscles try to help out. Pilates exercises for the legs use light weight with precise leg/hip movements. Pilates exercises using light resistance work the deep hip muscles which leads to correct femur placement. This allows the pelvis to work as a stable station. When the pelvis is stable the low back has less work because it sits on top of a stable station. The legs come from below the pelvis working effetely allowing the pelvis to remain stable. Less work for the low back and more low back and pelvic stability can prevent low back discomfort.
Thus working the hip through correct Pilates exercises can help relieve low back discomfort. Anatomical knowledge is critical to Pilates exercises. Make sure your Pilates professional is certified and has higher education about biomechanical movement. Check accreditations and experience before choosing a Pilates instructor.
Candice Crews is certified and advanced trained with the STOTT PILATES education system. She also has studied directly with acclaimed Physical Therapists in Canada and the USA. She has taken the Injury and Special Population course through STOTT PILATES twice to obtain as much knowledge as possible. Please contact her at www.pilatesmaui.com for more information. We wants to make your Pilates experience the best it can be.