Extracted from The Back Pain Sourcebook by Stephanie Levin-Gervasi
A herniated disc, with little satisfaction or relief from traditional
modalities resulted in Mathews exploration of alternative possibilities.
He had some success with a healing center who taught him how to
relax his upper body, breath and practice visualization. He felt
better, but not cured. He contemplated laser surgery, but when the
surgeon recommended a more traditional approach, Larry changed his
mind. A pain therapist helped Mathew manage his pain, and recommended
Pilates classic exercise has long been the best kept secret of
dancers. Prominent dancers, singers and movie stars discovered Pilates
Method decades ago. Introduced in 1923 in New York, by Joseph Pilates,
the Pilates Method is a form of resistance control exercise.
With Pilates and the pain clinic, Mathew felt like he was on the
road to recovery. After a few months with his Pilates trainer, religiously
taking classes three times a week, Mathew's posture and body mechanics
had altered radically. He walked differently, and says his body
is more open.
More importantly, he feels alive and has few days of back pain.
Mathew also discovered that once he hit 40, his body didn't bounce
back like it did in his 20's and 30's. Mathew still practices Pilates.
Pilates works with muscle resistance in the way muscles are designed
to function, not against natural mechanics. The Pilates Method utilizes
mental and physical training to teach people how to work from the
inside out. Because the method looks at the body as a whole unit,
it helps to improve posture, breathing and releases tension.
Pilates method is different from other body work in that it uses
specifically designed apparatus, which create variable resistance
through a set of springs. The apparatus has no relationship to machines
in a gym.
However, the exercises strengthen supporting muscles in the body.
Each exercise is designed to stretch and strengthen all the muscles
and the joints to release tension.
The holistic method allows each individual to work at their own
pace. While each piece of apparatus permits over a dozen different
types of exercise movements, several work to strengthen the spine
and abdominal muscles. An individual works independently with an
instructor, and each program is individually designed for each persons
need and appropriate physical level. Pilates has become very popular
in the last few years. Risk are minimal. Lack of understanding how
to use the equipment presents the only risk. Pilates can be done
in a group, semi-private or private classes.
Depending on where classes are taken, prices may vary. Typically
a private session can range from $30-$55 Classes are sometimes prepared
in a group of sessions, and again costs may vary. A 12 week session
of lessons can run between $300-$500.