According to the U.S. Department of Health, chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability. Whether short or long-term, pain is debilitating. How can Pilates help?
There are many causes of pain, from neurological conditions such as fibromyalgia, to musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis and muscle strain. The Pilates approach to the body incorporates both the neurological and musculoskeletal systems of the body, resulting in benefits for both sources of pain.
Muscles and joints are often strained and damaged from overuse and stress. Ideally our body will delegate appropriate work to each muscle and joint involved as we move. However, due to accidents, poor posture, and/or repetitive patterns of movement (or lack of movement) certain joints and muscles will take on more than their fair share of the work, resulting in pain, tension, and wear and tear. A main goal in Pilates is to balance the body by creating strength evenly throughout the body, bringing relief to the overworked muscles and joints. Pilates will teach your muscle groups to work together in movement, resulting in less strain and pain.
Pilates is a mindful exercise. It takes purposeful and present thought to direct the work and engage the right muscle groups. Really, it is a practice of mindfulness with all the known benefits resulting: relieving stress (including anxiety and depression), sharpening and focusing the mind, reducing negative emotions, and, of course, improving chronic pain management.
Breathing properly is an essential element of Pilates. The diaphragm is a part of the body’s core, after all. Proper breathing improves posture and blood flow throughout the body. Joseph Pilates, the creator of Pilates, called proper breathing the “internal shower of the body.” Breathing cleanses the body as improved blood flow washes out old dead cells and delivers essential nutrients, resulting in less inflammation.
Any form of exercise or movement can seem intimidating after dealing with pain over a long term. However, rest assured that Pilates can help you wherever you’re at and build the needed strength according to your current needs. People of all types with a variety of injuries, conditions, and illnesses have found relief in Pilates.
If you have not tried Pilates yet, give it a chance and let us know if it helps you!