Understanding how your back works
When considering back pain, it's important to understand that the human back is a highly functional and robust part of the human body. The back is so important because it functions as the support center for practically every move that we make.
Because the back plays such a pivotal role in the functions of our movement, the structure of the back is designed to be exceptionally durable, making it difficult to cause extreme injury. For this reason, even if you experience severe pain in your back, in most cases, the damage is not permanent. Pilates exercises can help you reverse any damage that you may have caused.
The back is a highly evolved combination of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. There are 31 layered back muscles that tie into the pelvis. These muscles protect the spine by wrapping around it from the neck to the tailbone. Furthermore the spine's 24 vertebrae are protected by intervertebral discs that lie between each vertebrae and act as pads that provide cushioning and absorb shock and impact.
Starting from the top, the spine is made up of three sections, which together form an S-curve. The shape is designed to absorb impact by reacting like a large spring. Impact is also absorbed by the back's core muscles and by the soft pad-like discs between the spine's vertebrae.
Maintaining proper balance in your back is essential to keeping it functioning properly and free of pain. With the help of pilates routines, balance can be achieved by keeping the parts of your back in proportion so they can work in harmony with one another. If a certain muscle group in your body is disproportionately stronger than others, your back will not function properly. This dysfunction can often result in pain.
Achieving proper back balance can also depend on the balance between your body and your mind. This is crucial because the mind provides the input data required to achieve proper balance and body posture. Achieving good posture is a key to keeping your back in balance. The mind constantly works to keep the body properly postured by sending messages from your brain to your muscles. This function is called proprioception. The better your proprioception, the better balance you will have. Pilates routines can help you strengthen and flex the appropriate muscles in your back and train your mind to achieve the balance for your back to function correctly.
Common causes of back pain
The back is relied on for numerous functions in a given day. We're constantly putting strain on our backs, whether by pushing a lawnmower or diving for a foul ball at the company softball game. These everyday movements can cause damage to your back, whether in the form of a pulled muscle or a herniated disc. These conditions are curable, but are often worsened by stress and neglect. Stress causes muscles to tighten and contributes to fatigue.
Posture is also a major factor in back health. One of the biggest contributors to poor posture is the way in which we sit. Sitting for extended periods of time in a modern chair actually puts irregular strain on the back's muscles and discs, while also blocking crucial oxygen from our discs.
Age is another contributing factor towards back pain. Our discs are 80% water when we're born. Water makes them flexible and allows freedom of movement. As we age, the water in our discs is naturally depleted.
The good news is that a pilates exercise routine can help you achieve a healthy mind and body balance. It can also help reverse any damage that may have been caused through years of poor posture, back strain and stress.
Pilates to cure back pain
There are numerous pilates exercises that can be practiced to improve your balance. These exercises are designed to improve your flexibility, strength and endurance, all of which play a major role in our every move.
One of the core objectives of a pilates routine is to increase the flexibility of your muscles. Flexibility allows muscles to absorb pressure and force by flexing before breaking. The more flexible your muscles are, the less likely you are to tear tissue.
The muscles in our bodies work with electrical energy in the form of nerve signals and impulses. Achieving optimal use of your body's muscles will depend partly on creating a smooth flow of these signals throughout your muscle fibers. If we are not flexible, this stiffness can disrupt and block the flow of these important signals.
As the body ages, we lose fluids in our muscles and in the discs of our back. Maintaining good flexibility with pilates stretching can encourage the flow of fluids throughout the body, helping to lubricate the joints and keep our discs flexible.
A good pilates routine can you help you achieve strength in key muscles that contribute to a healthy back. A strong back requires the trunk, hip and thigh muscles to be strong and properly balanced. The stronger your back is, the less prone to injury it will be. The right pilates routine can help strengthen the right muscles and help achieve the balance that your back needs to function properly. Strengthening the wrong muscles, or disproportionate strengthening can throw your back out of balance.
Pilates routines can also help provide the endurance your body needs to maintain a healthy posture. Endurance is particularly important in regaining your body's posture and shortening recovery times after a strenuous event. Necessary levels of endurance vary from person to person. Professional athletes, for example, require exceptional endurance to perform their job. For the average person, maintaining a moderate level of endurance is sufficient.
Bryan Tomek is owner of the health & fitness Web site www.fitstores.com. Fitstores.com carries a unique variety of health and fitness products. You can find yoga, pilates and fitness accessories as well as juicers, jogging strollers, natural personal care products and allergy products by visiting www.fitstores.com.