Low back pain and Pilates
Written by: Rene Morelli
Category: General Health
Published on: March 16, 2022

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s and is a method that improves balance, flexibility, strength, coordination and body awareness. All areas that can help improve low back pain.  His method is based on 6 principles which are  control, centering, breath, flow, precision and concentration. As Pilates can be mat or apparatus based it aids in the support of the body or challenge depending on the goal of the exercise and client.

Lower back pain is a common condition affecting the lowest part of the spine, it can be due to many factors including injury, arthritis, poor posture, lack of exercise and / or weakened muscles of the lumbopelvic region.  Due to the many different reasons that could cause Low Back Pain, Pilates offers many supportive ways for people to still exercise and help with reducing the amount of pain. When done in a controlled and supportive environment that is tailored to the individual Pilates has shown to be an effective way to help aid in the reduction of Low Back Pain. Pilates increases strength and mobility to the back, hips and deep core muscles which promote a balance within the lumbopelvic region. 

The main areas of focus with low back pain include

  • Lumbopelvic stability and mobility 
  • Lumbopelvic strength  
  • Spine mobility 
  • Deep core strength 
  • Balance
  • Posture

Some basic exercises for non specific Low Back Pain

  • Breathing – Promotes focus, core activation.
  • Imprints – Helps to mobilize the lower back, activates core.
  • Cat stretch – Opens and releases back muscles 
  • Kneeling swim – Works on core & posture chain strength and pelvis control
  • Pelvic curls – Mobilizes spine and targets hamstrings and glutes
  • Dead Bugs – Coordination, core strength, lumbopelvic control
  • Scooter of reformer – Strengthens legs, balance, pelvic stability 
  • Diamond press – Increase back strength, core strength

References

BMJ Journals “Application of Pilates-based exercises in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain: state of the art” by Małgorzata Eliks

https://pmj.bmj.com/content/95/1119/41

Mayo clinic – Back pain

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20369906

Effects of pilates on patients with chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088161/#:~:text=%5BConclusion%5D%20In%20patients%20with%20chronic,performed%20for%2020%20cumulative%20hours.

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