Pilates is a great way to get a blend of balance, flexibility, strength, and muscle toning exercises that aren’t too harsh on the body. Through concentrated movements, Pilates focuses more on muscle tone than muscle building, specifically on the core.
It’s a challenging but thoughtful form of exercise that helps you become more aware of your body and the daily movements you make. When paired with physical therapy and rehab, the benefits are exponential!
But Pilates isn’t just good for working out. It can also improve your posture, which for many adults is a common cause of back, neck, and shoulder pain.
Here’s how a physical therapist can help you find relief from pain caused by poor posture.
Poor posture isn’t just about sitting upright
Posture isn’t just about the way we sit in a chair, it also has to do with how we move in our daily life, sitting or not. Several factors impact posture, such as age, job function, or being pregnant.
Your posture also involves everything in the musculoskeletal system — your bones, muscles, joints, and other connective tissue. It’s the baseline for your overall form and stability in the way you move your body.
Thankfully, all of these issues can be avoided by proper preventative care and exercises.
Why poor posture is a problem
It’s common knowledge that we should sit upright and avoid slouching. But how many times do you catch yourself sitting at your desk, or the dinner table, suddenly developing a dull ache in your shoulders or back. Then, you realize your shoulders are slumped over, so you shoot back up with a straight back and find a bit of relief.
That’s because proper posture gives your spine proper alignment, balancing the muscles in your core and allowing them to work as they were intended to. The vertebrae that make up our spines are aligned vertically, which allows them to move efficiently, but when we slouch, we strain the muscles, ligaments, and tendons supporting our spine.
When we slouch too often for too long, we also take our heads out of the neutral alignment, putting more gravitational force on our head, and causing tightness in the muscles at the base of the neck. This can cause frequent tension headaches.
Poor posture and alignment can also cause trigger points to develop in the neck, shoulders, and back. Trigger points are adhesions or nodules within the fascia or connective tissue of the muscles, causing pain and movement deficits.
And finally, poor posture can lead to a weakened core. While poor core strength can make it harder to maintain good posture, poor posture can perpetuate that lack of strength. [core strength blog].
Long-term health issues
Holding your body incorrectly, whether you’re moving or sitting, increases neck, shoulder, and back pain. According to the NIH, “In any 3-month period, about 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has at least 1 day of back pain.”
When you’re slumped over, you’re putting pressure on your lower back, making it harder to breathe and digest well. Additionally, poor posture can decrease your flexibility over time, making your risk of falling much higher as you age.
Simply put: poor posture is bad for your health.
Why we recommend Pilates for poor posture
When we say “good posture”, we don’t just mean sitting upright. We are also referring to maintaining the fluidity of movement and ease of movement in everyday life.
Keeping the proper curvature of the spine helps protect our bodies from placing too much strain on our bones and muscles, and allows better breathing and circulation throughout the body.
Because Pilates isolates even the smallest and deepest muscles, it has been found to effectively strengthen your core with the right control and proper breathing. It helps you build resilience in your 4 sets of abdominal muscles, which leads to better spinal alignment and posture. When that happens, the rest of our habitual movements are more efficient and far less harsh on the back.
And because Pilates promotes awareness of your body, it can help you stay right on top of your posture, correcting it more and more as time goes on.
How long does it take to see results?
As Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, once said: “You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions.”
However, we believe you’ll feel relief and see results from Pilates in just a few sessions. You’ll get to experience what mindful movement really feels like and enjoy back pain relief from poor posture!
Because everyone’s body is different, we recommend pairing Pilates with physical therapy treatment to see maximum results. It’s a great idea if your poor posture has caused other musculoskeletal issues such as muscular imbalances, muscle strains, or trigger points.
If you’re ready to get relief from your back pain, schedule a physical therapy consultation here!