The Importance of Movement Therapies
In treating back pain, movement therapies can be helpful in many ways. They help improve flexibility and posture, relieve muscle spasms, and relax the mind and body. The following techniques may not have been extensively researched in clinical trials, but these approaches are widely accepted as beneficial for various musculoskeletal conditions.
Yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress and backache as it has an influence on both the mind and body. The practice of yoga originated from India many years ago. It involves meditation, proper breathing, and asanas (movements and postures). These aspects help in increasing pain tolerance, minimizing anxiety and depression, and regaining self-control. Regular practice of yoga can enhance strength and flexibility.
There are several types of yoga but the most common are the Iyengar yoga and the Ashtanga yoga. Iyengar yoga focuses on slow and safe movements and postures. The Ashtanga yoga is the more vigorous type; this is not recommended to people with severe back problems as it could worsen their condition.
Although yoga has the potential to relieve back problems, this must be done very carefully and with supervision as it involves a lot of bending and twisting of the spine, which, if not done carefully, can be very harmful.
Pilates is a physically demanding exercise developed in the early 1900s by Joseph Pilates. Chiropractors recommend this practice because it is effective in correcting posture. It also strengthens core muscles, promotes flexibility, and increases body awareness. Unlike yoga, all Pilates movements are low-impact but they work deep into the core muscles, which, as a result, flatten the abdomen and strengthen the back. Pilates also helps improve balance and relieves stress.
Tai Chi was originally created in ancient China as a form of martial art or self-defence, but is now considered a healing exercise. It has been gaining popularity recently as it is able to help manage neck and back pain. Tai Chi has three components: Movement, which improves the body’s alignment, balance, strength, posture, stamina, and flexibility; rhythmical and focused breathing, which helps relax the body and improves circulation; and meditation, which helps ease pain caused by emotional and/or psychological factors. Tai Chi not only relieves backache but also promotes prevention of it.
The Alexander technique focuses more on increasing physical and mental awareness, and proper use of the body in order to reduce low back pain caused by incorrect movements and stress. Unlike other movement therapies, Alexander technique is taught one to one where the therapist teaches the patient how to sit, stand, walk, and attend to their activities of daily living without straining or tensing the muscles. Patients are also taught how to recognize bad movement habits and postures in order to correct them.
The Feldenkrais method is considered both therapeutic and preventive. Feldenkrais practitioners teach patients different ways to move with minimal strain and effort. This method helps increase joint flexibility and helps distribute the body’s effort equally throughout the entire neuromuscular system. It is taught in two ways: Individually and in groups. In individual lessons the therapist uses his hands to guide the patient’s ranges of motion. In group exercises, patients are asked to lie on the floor and taught proper movement sequences to improve the body’s flexibility.
In conclusion, the benefits of these movement therapies include improved posture, strength, flexibility, and stability; decreased stress and fatigue; improved balance and function; and decreased pain.
At our chiropractic clinic in Chester, we teach our patients how to move properly. We encourage and motivate them to exercise, using a combination of these techniques, in order to achieve a fast and long lasting recovery.