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Your Guide to Pilates for Lower Back Pain

Pilates is a form of exercise that can help improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength.  Pilates aims to establish a ‘stable core’ that will provide support to the back and a strong foundation for broader movement. Pilates offers a variety of exercises at a range of adaptable levels to aid in building these critical improvements.

Back pain is widespread in Australia, and many people are curious how Pilates can help with lower back pain. Each day, 15-20% of the population in Australia experience some form of back pain. Moreover, It is estimated that around 85% of the population will experience back pain at any point in their lives. This blog will help you understand the benefits of Pilates and its role in assisting with the management of back pain. 

Clinical Pilates & Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain can present as mild to severe and relates to pain felt in the lumbar region of your spine. There are multiple factors that can increase your risk of experiencing lower back pain. People in predominantly sedentary jobs, heavy manual labour, and conditions such as arthritis, Scoliosis are some of the few main causes of pain experienced in the lumbar spine. Age can also play are role in the occurrence of lower back pain as their chances may increase due to age related changes in the spine.

With Pilates ‘Stable Core’ focus Numerous of its exercises serve as the basis for many lower back pain rehabilitation programs. Exercises that encapsulate core strength, proper posture, and body awareness are helpful in the management and/or prevention of lower back pain. Even individuals who don’t currently have lower back pain, Pilates can be a great low-impact exercise for clients wanting to perform better in their workouts, improve their form, or even increase their stamina and endurance.

Pilates and your Core

The benefits of Pilates for your core is well known, and this provides a vital link to why Pilates is so beneficial in managing lower back pain. Pilates involves working the whole body as one unit rather than individual muscle groups at a time. This helps to achieve a more complete and functional sense of balance and strength. In Pilates, having a good core is more than just a six-pack. It encompasses our deeper abdominal muscle the transverse abdominis, and the activation of our pelvic floor. These two muscle groups create the front wall and floor of the abdomen and are crucial muscles that support the Lower back and spine through movement. In conjunction with the deep core muscles, the lower back, glutes and hip musculature all work together in movement to a ‘functional brace’ for the lumbar spine. All movement is believed to extend from these important muscle groups; thus, working this whole area together will strengthen the muscles around your spine to aid in the prevention and management of your back pain.

Pilates and your posture

Good posture is important in society today due to the nature of our work and lifestyle. Many people find themselves hunched in front of a computer screen for hours every day. These sedentary positions causes your muscles to tighten and may contribute to the back pain you experience. Pilates workouts focus on aligning your spine and pelvis correctly, increasing your postural awareness. Working on these natural alignments puts your body under the least amount of stress and decreases your risk of experiencing back pain.

How does Pilates workouts increase your postural awareness? It focuses on ensuring during movement the correct alignment of the spine and pelvis is maintained. To do this the deep core must be engaged to keep a neutral spine and level pelvis during an exercise or movement. It is in this positions that the body experiences the least amount of stress on its joints. In other words, it is the natural alignment of your bones, ligaments, muscles, and other tissues. Many exercises in Pilates narrow in on this concept. In turn, with better posture, Less risk of develop back pain. 

Pilates and Overall Flexibility

When the muscles or your lower body, including your low back, become tight, they can cause a limitation to movement which may lead to increased pain. Muscles like your hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors can all contribute to lower back pain. Extended Pilates classes will lengthen these muscles and enable you to have enough flexibility to prevent lower back pain. The exercises taught in Pilates will train your muscles to work as a cohesive unit and will help increase your range of motion. 

A Word of Caution 

Exercising in certain positions can make pre-existing pain worse. The team at NQ Physiotherapy Solutions are more than happy to modify exercises within clinical Pilates to accommodate the best positions that do not aggravate pre-existing pain. Check with your doctor or specialist before starting a brand-new program. Activities performed incorrectly could make your back pain worse, so it is essential that you receive dedicated instructions from a qualified professional before beginning.

For those still wondering, Is Pilates Good for Lower Back Pain? The team at NQ Physiotherapy Solutions in Townsville is delighted to be able to show you all the benefits of Pilates through one of our classes. We are passionate about helping people take the necessary steps to avoid lower back pain or recover from existing lower back pain. Get in contact with us today or book an appointment online with Townsville's leading team of physios.

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