How Working on Your Back Pain Is Like Flying A Balloon

With the Bristol Balloon Fiesta starting today, did you know that working on your back pain is a lot like flying a balloon? (bear with me, it’s less tenuous than it seems…)

1. Know the basics

Just like a balloon pilot needs to know about air pressure, density and wind, so you need to understand the basics of how to locate and activate your core, as it lays the foundation for all exercises you’ll do to strengthen your back.

In this clip, Sally explains how to get into the correct starting position for core work, and how to fire up your core muscles…

2. Understand the terminology

Although we try to help our clients with as little jargon as possible, there are certain phrases we teach you. By the end of your first session, just as the ballooning community throw around phrases like ‘envelope’, ‘parachute valve’ and ‘rip line’, so you’ll be familiar with what ‘fire up’, ‘table top’ and ‘glutes’ means.

3. Stay alert

During ascent, a pilot needs to stay alert and perform all their checks for the safety of the crew on board. Similarly, throughout an exercise, you need to keep in check, focus on maintaining your form and ensure that your core is engaged throughout.

Of course, your therapist will help you maintain your form and remind you to keep your core engaged, but this self-awareness is essential to practice maintaining good technique.

4. Protect yourself

Balloons are hot (who knew?) so the pilot should wear protective clothing and gloves. When you’re doing any activity which requires stabilisation from your back and core muscles, protect yourself by activating your core muscles to provide support to your spine, and your weaker muscles to stop your back ‘going’.

Think opening doors, loading the washing machine and picking up the kids. Sounds weird, but these are all triggers for back pain.

See, balloons and bad backs are more similar than you may think… and as a bonus, I now know A LOT about hot air balloons!