So I just returned from the FAMI workshop at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in NYC, and all I can say is WOW!! If you're a pilates or yoga instructor, massage therapist, or personal trainer, get thee to FAMI!
I was so privileged to be part of such a fantastic and inspiring group of fellow instructors, and to be taught by such passionate and enthusiastic doctors who are specialists in their fields. If you want to be inspired to learn more about the body, meet people, and spend a week in nyc, check out the FAMI website that I linked below!
Now, onto back pain statistics. I've actually heard these stats before, but now that I heard them straight from a doctor at FAMI (Dr. Adam Bender, a Neurologist who spoke at the workshop), I feel more confident in their validity.
Did you know....
75-85% of people have back pain at some point in their lives
Back pain is the 2nd most common reason for seeing ANY doctor
Back pain is the 3rd most common reason given for surgery
Back pain is the 5th most frequent cause of hospitalization
The age group with the most reported back pain is adults age 45-64
Only 5% of people actually have a difinitative cause of their back pain, AND even less of a percentage actually have a pinched nerve causing their pain.
These stats can mean different things to different people, depending on their situation with back pain. Most importantly, notice that many people seem to be complaining about back pain, and seeking care for their pain, but the true cause of back pain frequently tends to allude doctors.
My Alexander Technique teacher used to tell me to stop trying so hard to figure out "why" my body was in pain with sciatica. She would get quite annoyed with me! Her point was, sometimes we can't focus all of our energy on WHY things are the way they are. When there is no obvious answer, sometimes we have to say, "Ok, let's work with what we have here, the fact is that I'm in pain and what I really need to focus on now is healing".
So what can you do for yourself if you have pain? Seek advice from professionals who you know and trust, and follow whatever seems to make the most sense to you. Of course, I think taking private pilates lessons with an experienced and certified instructor is one of the best things anyone can do for chronic back pain. You'll strengthen your core muscles, learn what correct posture is and how to move your body in proper biomechanical ways. And, MOST importantly, pilates will help you gain a feeling of control over your pain, and hopefully, you'll eventually conquer it.