5 Ways Clinical Pilates Helps Lower Back Pain

 In Pilates

5 Ways Clinical Pilates Helps Lower Back Pain

I have myself suffered from lower back pain in the past. As a client of clinical pilates and now a physiotherapist and pilates practitioner I expound the many benefits of clinical pilates professionally and personally as a physiotherapist and former lower back pain sufferer.

Below are my top 5 ways that Clinical Pilates helps lower back pain sufferers:

  1. It improves muscle strength

Clinical pilates is a type of resistance training which typically focuses on strengthening muscles to improve pain and posture. Here at POGO we use machines called reformers which use spring resistance to challenge muscles. Body weight resistance, gravity and band resistance are also commonly used in pilates classes to improve strength.

Often in lower back pain there is a reduction in local muscle strength due to pain and often immobility. With good clinical expertise and supervision your Physiotherapist can prescribe exercise that targets these muscles to safely improve their strength without flaring up the spine.

  1. It reduces fear of movement

Often when someone is suffering from LBP they may also begin to move abnormally because of pain or the anticipation of pain. This can cause major problems as it reduces their mobility and can encourage poor movement patterns. An example of this would be someone that stops walking with any sort of trunk rotation due to fear of pain. This poor movement pattern then causes excessive abdominal bracing and reduces segmental movement in the spine which only acts to create more pain and stiffness in the spine.

Pilates can help reassure people that there is movement they can do without pain or reassure them with certain movements that they are not making their condition worse by exercising into pain.

  1. It helps change patterns of movement

As briefly discussed above people with LBP often have poor movement patterns. These are habitual patterns that people have are usually adopted since their pain started or may also be patterns they have used their entire lives. Either way these movements patterns become ongoing contributors for the pain. Clinical Pilates allows your physio to observe any of these poor movement patterns and then correct them as they come up. This can take many weeks to change as it is the same as making entirely new movement patterns.

  1. It can improve mental outlook

Having lower back pain can contribute towards feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation. I know when I suffered lower back pain it was hard to imagine life without it. Group fitness during rehab of lbp allows people to take the focus off their own pain, meet people who are rehabbing the same injury or who have recovered from their same injury…simply it can give people hope. Believing you can be pain free is possibly the most important part of any lbp rehab.

  1. It improves flexibility

Clinical Pilates often involves a period of stretching at the end of a session which will naturally improve flexibility. What you may not know however is as you get stronger your muscles don’t have to work as hard to do the tasks you are asking them to do. This then means they don’t have to work nearly as hard and subsequently don’t get as tight.

Lindsay Young (APAM)

Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates Instructor

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