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Pilates for Back Pain

Many of us are all too familiar with back pain. Lower back pain can especially affect most people at some point throughout their lives. In a large number of cases however, Pilates can drastically reduce and alleviate back pain.

The neutral spine position is the most functionally ideal posture for our bodies. The focus on deep abdominal strengthening creates stronger support muscles for the spine. This in turn helps release tension throughout the spine. By integrating these techniques into everyday life, we can fix the problem at the cause, rather than only treat the symptoms.

The exercises below can be used as a guide to relieving general back pain, and are recommended to be done daily to most effectively treat and prevent pain.

Pilates bridge

This simple exercise switches on the deep abdominals, building strength in the support system of the spine.

1. Lie on your back in neutral spine, feel flat on the floor with knees bent.

2. Breathe out, gently engage and “lift” pelvic floor muscles. Pull the navel in toward the spine, tilt the tailbone under and gently imprint the spine to the floor.

3. Continue this movement by lifting the hips off the floor until the shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line.  Hold there and breathe in.

4. Breathe out again, lowering the hips and spine to the mat, returning to a neutral spine.

Roll backs

Rolling through the spine using the abdominals helps to stretch and relieve tension in the back. It also strengthens the core, and creates greater ease of movement through the spine.

1. Sit tall with the legs bent comfortably out in front and feet on the floor. Hands placed on the back of the thighs.

2. Breathe out and begin curving the spine starting from the tailbone, rolling backwards until arms are straight and the whole spine is curved in a C-shape. You should feel as though the navel is the furthest point pulling backwards.

3. Hold there and breathe in. Breathe out and bring the body forward, keeping the C-curve, until shoulders are over the hips, then stack the spine up to a straight, tall position. Repeat 6-10 times.

Kneeling arm and leg reach

This exercise works the the stabilising muscles throughout the spine.

1. Kneel on all fours, with the hands under the shoulders, the knees under the hips, and the spine in neutral.

2. Exhale and reach one arm forward and the opposite leg back. Lift the extended arm and leg off the ground, keeping the navel pulled in to stabilise the torso.

3. Hold the position while you breathe in before bringing the hand and leg back down and to the start position. Repeat the movement for the second side.

The combination of abdominal strengthening, stretching, and postural awareness makes these Pilates exercises effective in the treatment and prevention of back pain.

Please note- If you want any specific advice about exercises to help with your lower back pain please do call us and we will be happy to help tailor a programme to suit your requirements. If you experience any pain during the above exercises make sure to stop and consult your Pilates instructor.

Reform Physio

Based just outside of Saffron Walden, Reform is a multidisciplinary clinic offering Physiotherapy, Sports Massage, Pilates and Nutritional Therapy.

If you would like to come and see us for an appointment or even just to have a chat to see if we can help you, call 01799530650/07399499959 or send us an email by clicking the ‘how can we help’ button below

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