At least three in five of us can expect to suffer back pain at some point in our lives. Many of the treatments offered by conventional medicine address the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. But it does not need to be this way. Practising Pilates gives you a stronger, healthier back and better posture. This in turn provides the best long-term solution to the most common kinds of back problems.

Pilates can alleviate existing back problems and prevent future ones by straightening the spine and improving posture. It does so by strengthening core muscles and by improving your awareness of how you move can stress the spine. Good posture is crucial to the health of your back and good posture is central to Pilates.

Pilates promotes a combination of core strength, flexibility and balance, which lead to improved posture. Learn to stand straight and you will breathe better. You will also walk taller, feel slimmer and look longer, leaner and younger. Place your bones correctly and you will get the right muscles working, supporting your joints rather than stressing them. Stand properly and you will also maintain the natural balance and correct length of your muscles.

Poor posture, on the other hand, can cause many problems - ranging from lower back pain to the sort of rounded shoulders and stooped appearance that can come with age. Poor posture can result in the kind of problems that end up being treated by physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors.

Joseph Pilates discovered that if he hollowed his navel back towards his spine, his back felt protected. He was using the deep postural muscles to stabilize the spine and achieve what physiotherapists call core stability.

Core stability is the basis of Pilates and provides the support your body needs to function correctly