Did you know that 80% of the adult population will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives?
What surprises me is that this statistic isn’t even higher… after all, who hasn’t experienced aches and pains after a day working in the garden? Thankfully, for most of us it’s usually short-lived and nothing a warm bath and rest can’t sort out.
Generally, if back pain persists for more than a few days many of us will seek the advice of a GP, or Physio or Osteopath for treatment. This is a really sensible thing to do as it can highlight any serious underlying cause. However, in the vast majority of cases the back will get better on its own within 6 weeks, without any intervention.
As debilitating as it can be, persistent back pain only really becomes a problem when it goes on for longer than 6 weeks. Thankfully, gone are the days when treatment involved lying on your back for days on end. In fact, research has shown that more than one day in bed is actually detrimental to recovery, due to the joints stiffening. What can really help is a regular programme of appropriate and specific exercise and this is underlined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.
In evolutionary terms it’s still a relatively short time since we changed from walking on all fours, to two feet. Some experts believe that when humans began to migrate across land, it was more energy efficient to walk in a upright position in order to cover longer distances. Whilst the human body has adapted to some degree, this lasting legacy may be that mechanically, as the body weight bears down on two points rather than four, the skeleton has become more prone to knee and lower back problems. Personally, I can’t help but feel that our modern lifestyle choices have a larger part to play. Many of us are stuck in sedentary jobs, commuting long journeys and probably far less active than generations before us. How many of us regularly move three dimensionally? (Think of a dancer twirling, extending and stretching in all directions). Eminent movement therapist and author, Mary Bond (The New Rules of Posture) believes that we have a natural plasticity that is stimulated by moving in this way and advises stretching our skin suit regularly to maintain a supple and flexible body. Sit in a chair too long and you will become stiff and ‘chair shaped’!
Body Control Pilates, Europe’s foremost Pilates organisation, together with leading back specialists have recently developed the Back4Good programme. These Pilates based, multi-plane exercises are gentle, effective and low back specific. They will help you to strengthen your core muscles and re-set poor postural habits. In essence you will learn to control what to move and what to keep still!
If you suffer from low back pain and have received the go ahead from your medical practitioner, why not check out our Back4Good Courses and discover how movement can heal?