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Army September 27, 2012
ALMOST everyone will experi-
ence back pain at some stage.
Most will recover rapidly,
however, for some the agony
is long term -- but there is help available
and it all started with a fellow named Jo.
Joseph Pilates developed the system
we know today as Pilates in the early
20th century in Germany. He combined
natural movement with minimal equip-
ment concentrating on posture, core sta-
bility, balance, strength, flexibility and
Although most people have heard of
pilates some still tend to think of it as a
Clinical Pilates uses the principles
developed by Joseph Pilates and incor-
porates current medical research to
bring together an effective way to con-
trol and treat back pain.
Duntroon physiotherapist Diana
Bonner said her classes were about
building a resistance to recurring back
pain by working on restoring a strong
and flexible body.
"Rather than building a strong
inflexible outer shell of muscle, you
are building something flexible that
can absorb movement without causing
pain," she said.
"We look at core stability and the
tiny muscles holding onto the joints and
how they all interact with normal move-
Clinical Pilates teaches patients to
retake control of their body to control
and protect elements such as the spine.
It does this by identifying and reduc-
ing any additional movements that have
been developed to compensate for pain
when people initially hurt their back.
Techniques taught in Ms Bonner's
classes do not need fancy equipment and
use easily accessible items such as elas-
tic bands, balls, free weights, as well as
using the wall and the floor for referenc-
"The body is naturally curvy, so we
use the floor and walls to find these
curves, in an attempt to become more
aware of what is 'normal' and how to
quickly assess and restore and maintain
it," Ms Bonner said.
"You can take these exercises from
the class and use them anywhere to
underpin any and all that keeps you fit
for your lifestyle.
"It's like an insurance policy that is
going to keep your back working well."
Ms Bonner said once patients com-
pleted the program they would be able
to take the principles learnt from the
class and use them in normal training.
"The aim is to give you confidence
to do normal activities again, comfort-
ably, safely and without the fear of hurt-
ing your back."
If you suffer from back pain it's important to
be examined properly by medical personnel
to ensure you get the correct treatment.
When back pain strikes, Clinical Pilates could
deliver a solution to keep it at bay for good,
Cpl Nick Wiseman reports.
Just like Jo: Diana Bonner takes Cpl Nick Wiseman through a Pilates exercise called a four point kneeling
position. It is a good starting position to gain control through the lumbar spine and to start to recruit the
deep abdominal muscles.
Photo by LAC Bill Solomou
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