What Causes Back Pain?
There are a variety of problems and pathology that cause low back pain. These range from joint inflammation, soft tissue and facial tightness, disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, stenosis and lumbar nerve root inflammation or impingement.
Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a reason for doctor office visits in the United States. Why is low back pain so common? Today’s jobs and functional activities are contributing to worsening posture and body mechanics, causing increased load and stress to the spine.
One common pathology we see here (but it doesn't account for all of our back pain patients) is Degenerative Disc Disease, or DDD. It is the process of losing disc height. The inner most part of the intervertebral disc, called the nucleus pulposus, loses fluid and often small cracks or fissures develop in outer annulus of disc.
DDD is not necessarily a "normal" process of aging, but a common process. It is often a progression of previous disc herniation or bulge, but can occur at the same time. DDD can occur in individuals as young as 30 years old, and into 90 years of age.
Common Symptoms of DDD include :
How do we treat back pain?
All current research concludes that the only long-term effective treatment for low back pain of all pathologies is therapeutic exercise. Other modalities, such as massage, joint mobilization, or electrical stimulation are not strongly supported by research at this time.
So what is therapeutic exercise? It is exercise which helps to facilitate support and healing of the injured tissue. The specific exercises prescribed must be related to the type of pathology or structure creating the low back pain.
Pilates has become one of the most commonly prescribed therapeutic exercise treatments for low back pain. The movement principles of Pilates align with what allows for the extremely efficient healing of low back pain.
The Principles of Pilates:
Our clients feel the benefits early on in their program, and most often continue working with us even after symptoms have resolved. Our physical therapists and pilates instructors work together to continue tailoring your exercise program. We grow alongside you at every step of your journey.
Our primary goal is to allow our clients to heal and return to a fulfilling, pain-free lifestyle.
Below is a brief video of intermediate level core exercises generally safe for most low back conditions. However we strongly encourage you to meet with us for an individual evaluation, so exercises can be tailored specifically to your spine condition.
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Ariel Lehaitre, Author