If you've ever suffered from back pain you will know it is no laughing matter.................. I really struggled myself following the birth of my daughter 15 years ago and let me tell you..... It really stopped me in my tracks. I stopped enjoying the things I loved. I felt constantly miserable. To put it into perspective...
The dull ache was there when I woke up in the morning. It was there if I was in standing too long, and it was there after walking around the town centre for just ten minutes. I literally could not be on the move very long without that need to have a SEAT. I felt like I was OLD before my time.
I remember thinking, I will go for a back massage, that should help. It didn't. I lay on my belly and the feeling of the therapists hands massaging into the lower back area was horrendous.... I literally couldn't get up off the bed. Then there's the opposite end of the spectrum where movement may not even be an option when you are having a really bad day! For example, I've watched my Mum in agony with excruciating sciatica since I was very young. It happened at least once a year and I remember her crying in pain as she lay in bed. The GP came to see her and immediately administered an injection to give her relief. What actually causes back pain can sometimes be difficult to diagnose but the good news is .... for most people...... it's temporary. ( If you want to know how I improved and helped myself you'll need to read on).
How common is LBP ( Lower back pain)
It is really common and is up there as one of the most common reasons for work absence. According to NICE , all types of back pain cost the NHS more than £1000 million per year. £1000 million a year ?.... yes you read that correct.
There is some good news here though so hold on and check out these facts and figures. They may surprise you. Only 1 out of 20 back pain cases are attributed to reasons such as sciatica, disc problems or spine conditions and will require clinical intervention with a physiotherapist or similar. The other 19/20 cases of back pain cases are non-pathological and known as 'non specific' lower back pain (NSLPB). That means there is no specific reason that can be attributed to why you are suffering and more often than not pain can subside within a week. At least 90% will have healed or eased significantly in six weeks. In a small number of cases sufferers are often prone to occasional niggles or recurrences. A small number of chronic cases may continue longer.
So what are you going to do about it?
Yes you heard that correct. What are YOU going to do about it ?
Picture the scene ( although if you've ever been to one of my PILATES classes you'll have seen the movie, wore the t-shirt and witnessed this in action)
Hi everyone my name is Arleen - Is anyone new today?
A hand (or two) pops up as I wander over for a pre class chat. A quick introduction and I'm told they have a bad back and been told to do Pilates by their .... GP, Physio, chiropractor .... - The usual response ......'I've been told to strengthen my core ' .
BINGO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Self help and self care is paramount in dealing with back pain.
Back Problems = pain
Pain = Fear ( This is known as Fear avoidance)
Fear = Limited movement or exercise
Limited movement or exercise = A much bigger long term problem
Lower back pain Pilates teacher
When I lost my Dad in 2011 I almost gave up teaching fitness. I had been doing the job since I was 17 and knew nothing else but you know ......I'd just had enough. Too many high impact aerobics classes and the like were taking its toll on my body. A chance meeting with an instructor friend had me book to retrain and update my qualifications and that's where Arleen Dingwall Pilates was born. I added on level 3 yoga, level 3 pregnancy & postnatal teacher, Level 3 exercise referral and from here I could choose a specialty. You've guessed it. I chose level 4 lower back pain teacher. So today I'm going to share my top tips with you if you suffer from NON SPECIFIC LOWER BACK PAIN.
How do you prevent or at least manage your Lower back pain?
Promising to prevent lower back pain is as difficult as promising you'll never get a headache.... BUT the following tips may help reduce your risk and help you manage it. I've written my SMARTYPANTS guide when it comes to back pain ....
S SAFE Lifting ( and that includes lifting your children)
M MOVE more in day to day life. Walk more sit less
A ACTIVE you should aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week
R REGULAR stretches help. Especially in the morning before you get out of your bed
T TAKE control. Your NHS practitioners can only do so much. If they tell you to set exercises daily - DO them
Y YOU can help yourself by taking the correct advice
P PILLOW height ? Do you wake up with a sore neck. Is your pillow too high?
A ADAPT your seat heights to allow your screen time to favour correct alignment
N NUTRITION In particular WATER. Your body needs it , your spine needs it. STAY hydrated
T TEMPORARY Bear in mind for 95% of people, Lower back pain is short term
S SLOUCHING Just don't :)
On my level four Lower Back pain teachers course we discussed the Fear factor in pain sufferers. When you have been in pain it can be difficult to gain the confidence to move forward. Find that motivation and help yourself. If you managed to get this far.... I didn't quite tell you what cured my back pain did I ? I was recommended a book by Dr R Mackenzie called 'Treat your own back'. I did the exercises six times a day and voila.... it changed my life. Like everything, you need to put the work in to get results....... and in case you were wondering .... Most of the exercises are things that we do in ............. you've guessed it......
PILATES of course !!!!!!!
One of my favourite reviews comes from Clare. She came to my Pilates classes in crutches in August 2017. Within a few weeks the crutches were gone and I am delighted she is still a regular at my class. If you'd like to attend my Monday evening Pilates classes I do run a wait list. Get in touch if you wish to be added on. As an attendee you'll get online content including educational videos and Pilates sessions to do at home and that includes a fabulous back mobiliser.
COMING SOON - PART TWO - Why is Pilates recommended for Back pain ?