Pilates vs. Drugs: The Long-Term Solution to Back Problems
A recent study from the George Institute in Sydney, Australia, has concluded that drugs often used to relieve back pain, such as ibuprofen, do not offer valuable treatment for back pain. For most patients, such drugs provided no better success than a placebo and doubled the risks of bleeding and stomach ulcers.
Describing back pain as the leading cause of disability, the study concluded that exercise and psychological therapy are the best solutions to permanent back pain relief. It recommended core-stability exercises such as Pilates and yoga as well as stretching. Anyone up for our new evening stretch class, Thursdays at 6:30pm?!
This study reminded me of what brought me to Pilates when I was in college: moderate to severe back pain that was disrupting my classes and studies. Pilates provided both instant and long-term relief. I responded well and developed the core strength I had been lacking. I had no need for pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory drugs that would have served as a crutch and irritated my stomach lining. Fifteen years later, I am still free of debilitating back pain!
On the other hand, recently a few members of my family have experienced debilitating back spasms that stopped them in their tracks! In each case, they have returned to their feet and are now recovering, and anti-inflammatory drugs were temporarily part of their treatment. For the short term, they needed to calm down the inflammation and experience pain relief so that they could get back on their feet and return to their physical exercise (Pilates!) that is part of the long-term solution to their back problems.
The common denominator in each scenario? Seeking a permanent solution! Through Pilates, my clients and I work together to develop a better relationship with our bodies—caring for them rather than neglecting them or being victimized by them. Whether you ever find it necessary to temporarily utilize pain relievers, keep in mind your long-term goals for your body. Mindful core-focused exercise IS the solution to better movement and long-term health for every body!