Pilates and lower back pain

Experienced Lower back pain? It’s not comfortable is it? How can we (Pilates Method) help you in the studio?



I see many clients in the studio that at one time or other have been crippled or just experienced mild back pain. The Pilates Teachers Association in the UK put out a fabulous infographic from an article published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) related to the very many myths that we have regarding lower back pain.  The article recommends movement which we do in the Pilates studio. Pilates is Appropriate Movement for your body. We never recommend not moving. The Pilates Teachers Association is a not-for-profit organisation working to create a distinct occupation for well Qualified Pilates Method and Registered Teachers and provides evidence to stakeholders on risks currently in the Pilates industry, with the abundance of unqualified Pilates Practitioners.  

There are many pain studies recently pointing out that pain is not automatically associated with pathology i.e an issue with muscles/bones etc. Pain is associated with part pain and part fear/stress/psychology. Stress can manifest itself as back pain etc at times, so it is incorrect to directly associate Pain with something wrong. 

 APMA or PAA Registered Pilates Practitioners provide exercise programs that will benefit you by looking at your own needs, history and ability. Why not experience Pilates with a registered practitioner and be safe?  Of course if you have a Medical Condition that does affect your back then you will have back pain that a Qualified and Registered Pilates Teacher will consider, and will  introduce movements that will be appropriate for your own body.


Pilates and Lower back pain comparison with BMJ BackPain Chart

Pilates Studio approach with a Qualified Practitioner:

Yes, its rarely dangerous but it could be, so in the Pilates studio we work around you, we continually assess your movement & encourage mobility through all joints on a functional movement basis. Once we have assessed your  movement we teach specific Pilates movement that will be useful for your own body alone,  we get you to move through comfort and  challenge your movement.  Unduly forcing  inappropriate movement onto bodies that are not ready, psychologically affects movement patterns and hence load on joints, which may lead on to other inuries. We make sure you are ready for challenge by using various approaches to movement cues that suit your needs. 

Pilates in the studio will take your lifestyle into consideration as well as your movement & health history. We will always look at the body we are presented with  regardless of age. If there is a need to consult a medical professional, we will work with allied health professionals, with your consent, to ensure you get the best care.

Pilates in the studio is movement that is  functional in nature, there is always purpose behind our class programing - so you  use the movements that strengthen muscles or stretch muscles. Through movement we help you gain  confidence & body awareness which inturn may help manage LBP.

We are not here for just "strengthening the core" - we are here to balance your muscles so that the load carried around your body is balanced. Excessive strength on one part of your body does put undue load on joints and could potentially  lead to injury eventually - but not necessarily back pain.

Pilates in the studio encourages movement that challenges or assists, and it always works for your own body. You are unique so, a generalised formula is not going to fit everyone in the studio, we work with your body's ability and allow it to dictate the way we proceed with your general goals.

For ongoing  LBP, despite Pilates intervention, we recommend you consult a medical professional. 

Movement + Mobility = Moveability.

© Vrinda Fernando, ShanthYogaPilates 2020



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Different doses of Pilates-based exercise therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomised controlled trial with economic evaluation

Miyamoto GCFranco KFMvan Dongen JM, et al
Different doses of Pilates-based exercise therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomised controlled trial with economic evaluation 

 Back to basics: 10 facts every person should know about back pain
O'Sullivan PBCaneiro JO'Sullivan K, et al
Back to basics: 10 facts every person should know about back pain