Low back pain can eat away at the quality of your life, making it hard to do simple tasks that you’ve always accomplished quite easily. Buying groceries, doing laundry, and cleaning the house are all examples of activities that can suddenly become fraught with painful symptoms.
Getting pain relief is the only way to get your life back. So here’s a health tip about how to ease the inflammation that causes back pain. Try some Pilates.
A recent clinical trial at the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine at the University of Melbourne in Australia compared the effectiveness of Pilates to that of exercise in relieving low back pain.
Eight-seven community volunteers who had been experiencing low back pain for at least three months were recruited for the study. The participants were randomized to either a Pilates or general exercise group. Everyone attended 60-minute exercise sessions twice weekly for six weeks, supervised by a physiotherapist, and performed daily home exercises that were continued during the follow-up. In addition, the Pilates group participants received an individualized exercise program prescribed by a physiotherapist following a clinical examination. The general exercise group received a generic set of exercises that were non-specific.
The researchers assessed pain scores and physical outcomes after six weeks and at 12 and 24 weeks. Eighty-three participants (96%) completed the six-week intervention and 60 (69%) completed the 24-week follow-up. At six weeks, there was no difference between groups; both showed significant improvements. Similar results were found at the 12- and 24-week follow up.
The researchers concluded that an individualized Pilates program produced similar beneficial effects on self-reported disability, pain, function and health-related quality of life as a general exercise program in community volunteers with chronic low back pain.
It may seem contrary to what you feel like doing, but exercising carefully can ease low back pain, stretch muscles and encourage sore tendons to flex and move without pain.
For more health advice about treating low back pain, read the article Low Back Pain: The Mind/Body Connection.