Back pain is one of the main reasons I see people attending Therapy sessions and/or Pilates classes with me.
When you suffer with back pain it can be difficult to know what to do. It is worth knowing that although pain in the back maybe one of the symptoms we suffer, there can be different types of back pain.
In this article we are going to have a look at a few of them.
Before we get started it key to remember your GP is your first point of call when you suffer any pain or discomfort.
Disc herniation/bulge (sometimes known as a slipped disc)
With a disc herniation or bulge, the intervertebral disc which sits in between the vertebrae of the spine are being referred to. The disc consists of a hard outer layer and a fluid like inside. When a disc herniates or bulges the fluid on the inside pushes the hard outer layer outwards (imagine squeezing a water balloon to one side). This “bulge” can then touch on a nerve, which can then give a range of different symptoms. Symptoms of a disc herniation/bulge include: Sciatic pain, weakness in the muscles of the lower body, pain in the back of the leg, ankle & toes. In Pilates it always key to avoid any moves which incorporate spinal flexion with a disc herniation/bulge.
This occurs when the disc that lay in-between the vertebrates start to degenerate. Degenerating discs is a part of the aging process for most people, however symptoms will vary from person to person. Symptoms of degenerative disc can include: Serve episodes of back pain lasting a few days, low grade lower back pain which flares up during activity & pain when bending forward. In Pilates it is key to avoid any spinal flexion (forward bending) movements.
Usually this is when the pain is into the SI joint, rather than the whole of the lower back itself (although there may still be lower back pain). Pain can also radiate down the back of the hip and into the leg (similar to disc hernation pain). Pain can also be felt in the hip and groin area. The pain can be coming from the SI joint being to “tight” or to “mobile”. If suffering with any of these symptoms having one’s biomechanics assessed and corrected (after seeing the GP of course) can be very beneficial. Pilates may help ease the symptoms of SI joint pain, but may not help correct the underlying condition.
These are the most common types of back pain that I find in my studio, however remember there are other types of back pain which we can suffer from (Stenosis/Osteoarthritis for example). With any type of back pain it is also recommended to see a qualified healthcare professional (after the GP) rather than attempting to resolve through such means as self massage, self exercise.
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About the author
I am a Manual Therapist covering a range of different disciplines including massage & Biomechanics. I also run small specialist Pilates classes around Corfe Mullen, Broadstone, Wareham, Wimborne & Poole. Instead of just purely rubbing the pain, I always look to see if I can find a potential cause (or causes of the pain) and then work on treating this.
Pilates Instructor & Therapist, helping you understand why we do what we do!