Pilates as back pain therapy

Pilates, a form of exercise named after its inventor, Joseph H. Pilates, is often recommended for people who live with neck pain or back pain. The reason for this is because Pilates exercises target some of the main causes of back pain, such as poor posture, weak core muscles and unsupported pelvic muscles.
A top focus of Pilates is neutral spine alignment. This refers to the natural curvatures that a healthy spine should have and is what people commonly think of as good posture. Many people lose a neutral spine alignment after years of improper posture. Proper posture, combined with deep back and abdominal muscle strengthening exercises, often leads to reduced back pain and improved quality of life for many people.

Pilates and posture

Proper posture can be difficult to maintain in today’s busy world. The prevalence of desk jobs, driving and an overall sedentary lifestyle have influenced many to adopt a slouched posture for much of the day, often without even realizing it.

Pilates techniques can help people in this situation achieve better posture and a neutral spinal alignment. This can also potentially offer relief from conditions such as a herniated disc or sciatica. Pilates also teaches techniques for stretching the spine, which is also helpful for these conditions.

Abdominal support

Another key benefit of Pilates for those experiencing back pain is increased core strength and abdominal support. Your core muscles are the support system for your entire torso; not only do they serve to keep the spine straight, but they also keep your pelvic muscles from drooping forward and pulling your lower torso out of alignment. Since Pilates combines abdominal strength training with proper alignment techniques, it addresses two major causes of back pain at the same time.

Getting started

First, be aware that not all Pilates exercises are good for people who have back pain. Many of the motions included in more advanced Pilates involve twisting and stretching components that could worsen your spinal pain. It’s best to stick to simple exercises that do not overly tax your neck and back. Pre-Pilates, which teaches the core principles of Pilates, such as alignment, movement and body awareness, may be a good place to start, especially if your current fitness level is below average. Most importantly, seek a veteran instructor who has experience dealing with neck pain and back pain.

As always, consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. If fully attempting exercise programs and other conservative treatments, such as physical therapy or medication, do not relieve your neck and back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how we can help you find relief from back pain. We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and have helped thousands of patients find relief at our state-of-the-art centers across the United States.

To find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, ask for your free MRI review* from a member of our caring and dedicated team.