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Ouch! Disc problems in the spine are painful but Pilates can help.

Disc problems can occur at any point from the neck down to the base of the spine. Doctors can refer to disc damage in a number of ways- a disc can be torn, herniated, bulging, prolapsed, slipped or degenerated. And depending on whether the disc is pressing on a nerve (radicular pain) and where that nerve leads to, your condition can have its own specific name: for example, radicular pain felt down the leg is referred to as sciatica.

Growing up, our discs are like jam-filled doughnuts and provide us with an excellent suspension system through the natural curves of the spine. After years on the road, gravity gets the better of our discs and they end up rather more like flat pancakes…with a lot less ability to give us shock absorption (a reason why older runners might want to consider less time spent on tarmac).

Discs are also prone to small tears through wear so if you have held a sub-optimal posture for a while (think hunched over a desk, or worse, over a laptop), this may result in further disc damage.

A CT or MRI imaging scan is the only way to see exactly what is happening at any one site in your back. And it is a very good idea to get a proper diagnosis and rule out anything more sinister, even if this may mean paying privately. In Cheltenham we are lucky enough to have one of the leading imaging centres in the UK. http://www.cobalthealth.co.uk/diagnostic-scans/patient-info.aspx

But the way to recuperate from or manage disc damage, whether herniated or degenerated, is invariably the same- prescribed pain relief coupled with exercises tailored specifically for you.

At ONE GROVE, almost 80% of people have presented with back pain. And what we successfully do in almost every case is to make back pain episodes less frequent and less acute through tailored exercise.

How does Pilates do this? By two simple means:

  1. by improving posture so no excess load is placed in any one part of your spine
  2. by strengthening and lengthening all the spinal support muscles so that they function optimally

(The video below has such a lovely model of bulging discs I just had to include it!)