Last week, I had a chance to interview Chandra Soucek, a Pilates Instructor who works at Regency Sport & Health Tysons Corner location in Virginia.
EO: What percentage of your clients has back pain?
CS: 80 percent. Generally the people who come for private sessions come in because of lower back, neck, hip, and sciatic pain. I get many referrals from doctors or chiropractors, because they need to strengthen their core to improve posture.
EO: What complaints do your clients have regarding back pain?
CS: They feel tired; they don’t have enough energy. They say they have no time to take care of their back pain. No time to leave the office to exercise. No time to visit the doctor. Work takes over their life. They are diagnosing themselves online, and looking for solutions online. They want a quick fix to improving core strength, to improve posture. A good start is a seated exercise ball at work, or be at an ergonomically correct standing desk, not looking down.
EO: What is the source of their back pain?
CS: Sitting too much (TV, computers, smart phones), not enough exercise, and general lack of taking care of oneself (poor nutrition, not enough exercise or sleep).
EO: What types of remedies, other than standing at work, would you recommend for back pain?
CS: Pilates, yoga, massage, good mattress, walking, and light weights. How often? If you want to feel good every day, then do something every day! Everybody is different, so finding the remedy is different for everyone, but I will say doing 10 minutes of any of the above, everyday, is treating yourself to 70 minutes of healing week. Amazing! You become more aware of your body. I would like to add a good chiropractor or wellness doctor can help people with back pain, as well. There is no magic pill for all those things. You have to go. Most people don’t make time to do any of those things.
EO: What habits can we change related to our posture?
CS: Get up and stand up more often; that is the number one thing. Get up once an hour and think about your posture. Be posturally aware. And walk, breathe. Less time sitting! Get a good bed; join a gym that offers Pilates, yoga, etc. Seek professional advice from nutritionist.
Actually, more women and men are getting osteoporosis, due to lack of weight-bearing exercise and lack of vitamin D, and calcium. The problem is our teenagers are inside more, sitting, resulting in more cases later in life. Sitting loads the back. Being trapped in an office/ school, you are not getting sun, which is a source of vitamin D. In general kids and teens are not playing outside enough.
EO: What would you tell someone who says they can’t stand up at work because of knee pain?
If you have knee pain, it’s not fixed by more sitting. If you have knee pain, address what is causing it – if you are overweight, lose some weight; if you have arthritis, or an injury, or some other ailment causing pain, see your doctor. Don't wait, but in the meantime take a Pilates class, or restorative Yoga class. (Try to find small classes or take a private class).
Chandra Soucek is an experienced Pilates instructor who is passionate about overall health and wellness. She is also a Thai Massage therapist. You can reach her by contacting the Mind/Body Director, Morgan Hanzlik, at Regency Sport and Health, Tyson’s Corner. email@example.com
- Ellen O'Hearn