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  • Jude Hirschheimer

Can Pilates Help With Back Pain?


A question I get asked a lot is can Pilates help with back pain?

The answer I give is yes! I believe that movement, especially controlled, co-ordinated, whole body integrated movement is good for back pain. However, I tread carefully here, it depends on what sort of pain you are in. Acute, sharp, take your breath away pain isn't ok and I would recommend getting assessed by a physiotherapist, osteopath or doctor before starting any sort of movement programme just to find out why you're having this pain. Once you know what's going on and whether the pain is caused by something muscular or structural (meaning to do with the skeleton), we can work from there. Most issues and conditions can be helped!

For example, I have a condition called Spondylolisthesis. It means I have a vertebrae that's slipped forward towards the front of my body, it's not a bad slip but it's a slip nonetheless and it's different from the term 'slipped disc' which is something else. It causes pain in an achey, stiff, uncomfortable way on waking, if I do a repetitive movement for a long period of time such as running or I'm sat in one position for a long time – i.e twisted to one side wth my knees up on the sofa!

So back to the question - can Pilates help with back pain – from working on myself, from teaching many people in classes and in the studio, I believe it can but you have to get the right programme and the right level for you which is why for some people one-to-one sessions may be beneficial and for others a more general group class might work better.

For me I work better in a one to one setting with the bigger machines, I love the reformer and trapeze table work, many exercises feel good on my spine because I am supported by the springs and the ropes, they assist my movement as well as give me something to work against. I team this with a lot of remedial work such as breathing drills, core and pelvic floor exercises and simple exercises that involve 4 point kneeling, half kneeling, lunge and squat positions all of which work on improving my core stability, ability to build intra-abdominal pressue and specific muscle groups.

For more information, or to discuss how we can help an issue or condition please get in touch!

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