Burnaby physio clinical pilates exercises

Is Pilates Good For Low Back Pain?

Pilates exercises are a popular form of physical activity that have been shown to offer many benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels. One of the most profound benefits of pilates is the ability to help with low back pain. In this post, we will explore the ways in which pilates can help manage low back pain and why it is such an effective form of exercise for those who suffer from this condition

Lower Back Pain And Pilates

Low back pain is a common ailment that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Poor posture

The pain can range from mild to severe and can greatly affect your quality of life. While there are many treatment options available for low back pain, pilates exercises have been shown to be helpful in managing certain forms of low back pain.

pilates exercise for lower back pain

Why Pilates For Back Pain

Here are six reasons why:

1. Your core matters

Pilates focuses on strengthening your core muscles which include your deep abdominal muscles, your pelvic floor muscles and the muscles in your lower back. Theses muscles are often weak and imbalanced in people with low back pain and thus worsening any spinal problems. Your deep abdominal muscles act like a corset to support your spine and improve your posture.

2. Posture dedicates function

Pilates exercises place a strong emphasis on proper alignment and body mechanics. Your posture is constantly subjected to the influence of the forces of gravity. If your postural muscles do not have the strength and endurance to maintain your posture, your body will simply find its own way of compensating to fight gravity. This compensation is not always the best solution and one that can often lead to problems such as low back pain.

3. Flexibility is not just for dancers and gymnasts

Pilates focuses on flexibility with strength. Having flexibility means resiliency, agility and mobility. As we age and with increasing sedentary lifestyles, your joints do not get enough movement for proper circulation and fluid pumping in order to keep these structures well-lubricated.

Lack of flexibility is a common finding in people with low back pain, particularly in their hips and lower back. Pilates exercises may help to:

  • Improve flexibility in these areas
  • Increase range of motion
  • Reduce tension
Everyone can benefit from a program that addresses flexibility with strength.

4. Low impact

Pilates exercises are very versatile and adaptable. The movements are often slow, controlled and smooth, thus putting very low impact on your body. It is especially beneficial for people with low back pain as some movement patterns may reproduce pain.

When it comes to low back pain, it is important to strengthen your muscles and improve circulation to the area without causing much discomfort. Painful movements can cause a protective guarding mechanism which can lead to more pain and reduced mobility. This can result in a negative feedback loop.

5. Lower back is stressed out

Pilates can be beneficial for reducing your stress and improving your mental well-being. Many studies have shown the connection between stress and low back pain. The slow, controlled movements and emphasis on breath in pilates help to calm your mind and promote relaxation. This can be particularly helpful for people with chronic pain, as stress and anxiety can exacerbate pain and make it more difficult to manage.

6. Good for your brain

Pilates has many varieties of movement patterns that incorporate the benefits mentioned above. It is often advised to challenge your body with a variety of movement patterns. This leads to a heightened state of your brain as it tries to coordinate these movements.

Your body then goes into a learning phase and transition into a proficient phase when you can execute the patterns while maintaining good form, posture and breaths. Your brain has now learned a new skill. Over time, your body to acquire new movement patterns more quickly and be able to carry these skills forward into your daily activities.

Importance Of Form And Posture

Overall, there are many benefits to adding pilates into your treatment plan for low back pain. The exercises are gentle, low-impact and adaptable to your individual needs. They can also be progressed to strengthen your core and lower back muscles and improve your posture.

Pilates should be done under the guidance of a qualified instructor, especially for those with low back pain. An experienced instructor can help tailor your exercises to meet your specific needs. They can help you with using the equipment and having support to get the ideal muscle recruitment while at the same time avoid aggravating your symptoms.

Safety first

Making sure that the exercises are being performed safely and effectively is key if you have low back pain. As your sessions progress, home exercises with or without equipment can be prescribed to continue your benefits.

Listening to your body

Remember to always listen to your body and avoid any movements that cause pain or discomfort when it comes to pilates exercise. It is also a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or a certified pilates instructor who can help tailor an exercise program to your specific needs and abilities.

Find Out How To Get Started With Pilates

Find out how pilates might be able to help you with your lower back pain. Schedule a visit with your Burnaby physiotherapist or pilates instructor today

Ask Your Pilates Instructor

Phone 604-738-1168


Q: Should I do pilates if I have lower back pain?

A: Pilates exercise can be a very useful addition to your other treatments such as physiotherapy. Pilates offers many benefits including strengthening your core muscles, increasing your flexibility and mobility and improving your posture. All of these can be important when trying to recover from low back pain or injury. Ask your physiotherapist if pilates is a recommended for you

Q: How do I protect my lower back with pilates?

A: When performing pilates exercises, it is generally a good idea to engage your core muscles. They help to protect and guide the movement of your spine and back. Talk with your pilates instructor or physiotherapist on how to further protect your lower back using pilates

Q: Pilates exercises to avoid with lower back pain?

A: If you have lower back pain, certain pilates exercises may be difficult to do. Some examples include exercises where you pelvis is tucked in or where your lower back is flattened. For some patients, this may increase the discomfort in their lower back.

Another example is if you have neck pain. Sometimes stretching your neck downwards with or without your hands may be difficult for patients with neck or shoulder injuries. Always speak with your physiotherapist or pilates instructor about what pilates exercises to try and which to avoid