Persistent Lower Back Pain : How Can Pilates Help?

 In Back and Neck Pain, Exercise and Health


Here at POGO we’ve time and time again seen people get fantastic results through reformer Pilates. Individuals achieving reductions in pain, improved movement and confidence to return to the activities that they love most. Let’s talk about the great evidenced benefits for Pilates and persistent lower back pain.

Low back pain (LBP) has been reported to affect up to 70% of people at any one time, with most people experiencing back pain at some point in their lives. Persistent low back pain (commonly defined as pain present for greater than 3 months) is also unfortunately far too common, affecting approximately 23% of people in their lifetime (Well et al., 2014). This leaves many people not only in significant pain, but also experiencing the things that come with it; stress, fear, anxiety, time away from work and being unable to do the things you love to.

Pilates exercise is a mind-body intervention that focuses on core stability, posture, flexibility, strength, breathing, and movement control (Wells et al., 2014). Two systematic reviews have revealed that significant improvements in pain and functional ability for persistent low back pain can be gained through Pilates (Wells et al., 2015; Patti et al., 2015). Additional new research has shown Pilates can help people with LBP to improve pain, function and aspects related to quality of life (Natour et al., 2014).

Pilates also has numerous other benefits including improvements in strength, motor control and endurance (Pattie et al., 2015); reduction in body fat percentage, fat mass, waist-to-hip ratio and blood pressure (Junges et al., 2015). Combining Pilates with persisting pain education and physiotherapy can add to the benefits mentioned above. You’re physiotherapist can help answer our questions and guide you on the journey out of pain and back doing the things you love to do.

Lewis Craig (APAM)

POGO Physiotherapist



Wells, C., Kolt, G. S., Marshall, P., & Bialocerkowski, A. (2014). Indications, Benefits, and Risks of Pilates Exercise for People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Delphi Survey of Pilates-Trained Physical Therapists. Physical therapy, 94(6), 806-817.

Wells, C., Kolt, G. S., Marshall, P., Hill, B., & Bialocerkowski, A. (2014). The effectiveness of pilates exercise in people with chronic low back pain: a systematic review. PloS one, 9(7), e100402.

Patti, A., Bianco, A., Paoli, A., Messina, G., Montalto, M. A., Bellafiore, M., … & Palma, A. (2015). Effects of Pilates Exercise Programs in People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review. Medicine, 94(4), e383.

Natour, J., de Araujo Cazotti, L., Ribeiro, L. H., Baptista, A. S., & Jones, A. (2015). Pilates improves pain, function and quality of life in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical rehabilitation, 29(1), 59-68.

Junges, S., Jacondino, C. B., & Gottlieb, M. G. (2015). Effect of Pilates exercises in risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases: a systematic review. Scientia Medica, 25(1).

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