Pilates Classes: Backing up your Health

By Shailen Lakhani - Last update


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We Irish are a stolid, stubborn lot. If we have to suffer, then we’d often prefer to do it in silence. An ailment will have to knock us clean off out feet before we’ll even consider having it looked into.

At least that’s what a survey carried out by Chronic Pain Ireland and Pfizer, one of the world’s premier pharmaceutical companies, seems to suggest.

According to the survey results, up to a quarter of a million people in Ireland suffer from nerve-related back pain yet do not seek medical assistance because they believe their condition is not serious enough to require treatment. Instead, many of us prefer to utter the time-honoured declaration ‘sure it’s grand’, which most of us seem to believe has magical, curative properties and will – if repeated often enough – remedy almost any form of discomfort, economic, mental or physical.

The facts tell a different story, however. Chronic pain (i.e. pain that lasts for longer than 12 weeks) costs us over 5 billion per year. Then there is the professional cost of putting off treatment: Healthcare professionals reported that 69 per cent of nerve-related back pain patients requested time away from work in 2011. Even worse than this is the personal cost, with over 66 per cent of those surveyed claiming that their pain leaves them feeling tired, and a shocking 48 per cent of respondents admitting that their pain caused them to give up doing hobbies and activities they enjoyed.

So what’s the solution

Well, seeing as we are so clearly averse to treatment, perhaps the best way forward is to take an interest in prevention. Pilates classes teach people the correct position for their body parts, thus relieving unneccessary stress on joints and muscle groups. Pilates exercises, which are gentle, teach awareness of breathing and alignment of the spine, and they strengthen the deep torso muscles, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain. With time and practice, the muscles automatically hold the body in the correct position so good posture and safe movement become second nature.

Not only are Pilates classes effective for helping reduce and prevent back pain, they are cheaper, more natural and more fun than receiving medical treatment. They are suitable for all ages too. All you need to bring with you are some loose clothing, a bottle of water, and a mat. The ‘ah sure it’s grand’ attitude you can probably leave behind.


Shailen Lakhani

Adult Literacy and Learning
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