Whether your back issues are long-standing, caused by an injury, or have developed in the last few months after working from home, the need for relief is universal. At our New Jersey spine surgery practice, we strongly believe in taking a conservative approach to back pain, and encourage our patients to keep moving and adding strength and flexibility exercises to their routines. In many cases, exercise, physical therapy, massage and other non-invasive approaches are all that are needed to improve quality of life and decrease pain, while in others minimally invasive spine surgery may be the best answer. Studies have found that back surgery patients can contribute to the success of their procedure by doing Pilates, and that starting a Pilates regimen before surgery can actually make their recovery easier and faster.
If you are unfamiliar with Pilates, you are not alone. It is a low-impact exercise that strengthens muscles, improves posture, and increases flexibility. It can be done at a gym or studio but can also be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home with the help of streaming and virtual classes. Even those who are averse to exercise can enjoy Pilates: though it is a full body exercise it is slow moving, and in addition to providing real benefits for those suffering back pain, it has the added advantage of improving functional movement, endurance, and boosting mental health — a 2018 study found that people who practiced Pilates reported a reduction in their symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue, and increased their energy.
Pilates is built on six primary principles, including:
- Focusing on the entire body in order to ensure smooth movements
- Controlling and intending every movement
- Every movement originating from the center of the body
- Thoughtful, smooth transitions from one exercise to the next
- Precise understanding of how each movement is done so that it carries over into everyday life
- Paying specific attention to breath
Though you may doubt the impact that Pilates exercises can have on your pre-and post-surgical wellbeing, working with a professional instructor will quickly make things clear. Whether you are working on the mat or with the special Pilates equipment known as a reformer, you will quickly become aware of the ways that you hold and move your body, and how small improvements can make a big difference in the health of your spine. Pilates builds strength in the trunk and hip, increases your spine and hip flexibility, and trains you to maintain a neutral spine. All of these individual elements contribute to your spine’s health and stability and will speed your recovery from surgery.
If you are suffering from tightness or pain in your back, Pilates is definitely worth investigating, and may be included in part of our New Jersey spine practice’s list of recommendations for relief. The best way to find relief is by seeing one of our specialists for an examination and consultation. Contact us today to set up a convenient time for an appointment.