Writer: FLORIE MWANZA | Outlet: Strong Women
The culprits behind niggling neck and back pains are so varied that it can be hard to pinpoint an exact cause. But, according to Phyllis Woodfine, an osteopath of 30 years, common causes include: “static postures such as sitting at a desk for long periods of time, and repetitive actions such as heavy lifting without stretching, and doing something continually on one side.”
After a year spent slouching over my laptop at various improvised workstations including my bed, sofa and dining table, I’ve grown used to waking up with a sore, stiff neck or a crunchy back that hurts when I stretch. But the familiarity of the telltale aches doesn’t make the discomfort or restricted mobility any less frustrating.
Enter pilates. This discipline isn’t just effective at making you long and lean, Woodfine says, it can also be “a really effective way for managing neck and back pain by enabling you to strengthen, stretch and support the muscles.” This is due to the movements allowing you to “improve your posture and use your own body weight to gain correct control around your shoulders whilst maintaining good alignment of your neck.”
Although you can’t completely avoid slouching on the sofa or slipping into an awkward sleeping position, some pilates moves can help to stop these normal occurrences from leading to an achy upper body. We asked a few experts to share the pilates exercises that’ll ease the discomfort of achy strains in our necks and backs, as well as to help prevent them.
Neutral Spine with Pelvic Tilts
Lying Heel Reaches
The Swan Dive
Single Leg Lifts