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Your Spine Has Your Back

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I was inspired to write this after reading an article this morning. The article was about a study that was done comparing Pilates with other methods used to alleviate back pain. Pilates came out the victor, of course.

I love that more and more doctors and Physical Therapists are using or recommending Pilates as rehabilitative and preventative care for their patients. It works. I’ve seen it first hand many times over.

Here’s one thing that the article was missing, though. Why does it help? Why is it so effective? Well, prepare yourself for a little anatomy lesson, my friend.

The back, spine, vertebrae, whichever you prefer, is a miraculous structure (as is the rest of the body of muscles and bones.) It’s like our best friend, really. We rely on it, we lean on it, it supports us, it holds our weight, bends with us, and takes us where we want to go. Whoa, that’s a lot of work for one friend, right?

If you were all of that for one person, wouldn’t you get tired and cry out in pain and agony? Yes! Your poor friend, The Back is thinking “What about your other friends, the abdominal muscles? Aren’t they able to help support you, too?”

What an excellent question, let’s get them involved. Oh sweet harmony.

I love to talk anatomy and I tend to go on rants about muscles and how important certain muscles are in a particular exercise (sorry, Kat!).

Maybe it’s just me, but I like to know which muscles I’m using and why.

Let’s pretend you do, too for the sake of this article because you’re about to get an ear (eye) full.

Your abdominal muscles are the back's best friend.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Your abdominal muscles consist of your Rectus Abdominus, Internal and External Obliques, and Tranversus abdominus. What?! Stay with me, here.

Think of it this way. Think of a corset; that’s how these abdominals fit around you and with a simple exhale these muscles contract and support your spine.

Your Rectus Abdominus, most often referred to as the “six pack” abs is the top layer of your abdominal wall and helps with flexing the lumbar spine.

The Internal and External Obliques wrap around us and squeeze our waistline and support our lower and mid back.

Then there’s the lowest and deepest abdominal muscle, the Transversus abdominus. This bad boy supports the low back like a lumbar support belt that Costco workers tend to wear. When this muscle is strong it saves our poor backs a world of hurt.

All of the muscles combined make a great team. When strong, these muscles also help improve posture, and help in our everyday tasks so that the back doesn’t take the brunt of our everyday wear and tear.

If you have chronic or even occasional backaches and pains try Pilates! I promise you, it will change your life.

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