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Pilates for lower back pain

Pilates is often recommended for people with low back pain. Pilates instructors love the phrase ‘movement is medicine’ and it’s true! Our bodies are designed to move. However when we have an acute or long term episode of low back pain it’s the last thing we want to do.

Lower back pain

Low back pain may have several different root causes. Essentially the result is the same. Our ability to enjoy the things we like doing, is limited by the pain and it reduces our activity. Unfortunately becoming inactive and reducing our movement due to low back pain means we become deconditioned and lose strength. The less we move the worse things then get.


Learning to let the body move again can be really difficult. We have to begin to appreciate the ‘good ouch’ – when our muscles are working. Alongside the ‘bad ouch’ when a certain movement or posture isn’t doing us much good.

Pilates is often recommended for people with low back pain. Pilates exercises that help make our back feel better in the short term also help to strengthen our back and core muscles. As we get stronger this can help reduce the occurrence of future flare ups. As a result is can also speed up recovery when a flare up occurs.

Pilates encourages your muscles to work selectively and correctly. As a result you begin to move more normally reinforcing good posture and movement patterns in all positions. Good posture helps to reduce the ‘overload’ or incorrect workload on your lower back. This encourages the right muscles to do their job correctly!

Pilates for lower back pain

Pilates for lower back pain

Working with a physiotherapist in a clinical Pilates session you will learn to correct bad postural habits. To work muscles selectively and correctly and begin to move more normally again. As you become more familiar with the key aspects of Pilates: correct posture, breathing and correct muscle activation, you will begin to recognise that these principles can be incorporated with all aspects of daily life.

As you increase in confidence and return to normal movement and as your lower back pain begins to ease you can start to enjoy an increasingly challenging Pilates workout and return to all the activities you have been unable to do.