Monday, October 15, 2012

Back Pain

While approximately 80% of Americans will experience at least one episode of back pain during a lifetime, some of the exercises or stretches that we think may alleviate pain may not be so good for the back. For instance, one stretch that is so common is to lay on the back and pull both knees to the chest. I use it a lot in Pilates and  I do this with my clients that have a healthy back. For those already experiencing back pain, it may not be such a good idea. Pulling both knees to the chest, while it may feel good, can actually increase the stress on the back.  A better choice might be to assume a hands and knees position and move from cat to camel (reaching the spine to the ceiling and slowly dropping the belly toward the floor as the crown of the head moves toward the ceiling). Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for ACE, reminds us that while we think of this as a stretch, it is really about motion.