Pilates for low back pain – a double edged sword

Low back pain and injury can often be due to weakness in the core stabilising muscles.  These are the muscles that should hold the pelvis and spine in correct alignment.  Unfortunately, it’s often the case that they are weak and fail to do their job properly.

If the pelvis is not held in its “neutral” position, then this will cause stress to the structures of the low back. Eventually this will lead to chronic pain and/or injury.

Pilates and low back pain

Pilates exercises for back pain

Pilates is an exercise system that focuses very strongly on core strength and correct body alignment.  It can therefore be helpful in avoiding or improving low back problems.

The drawback is that it’s essential to perform the exercises correctly, or they could do more harm than good.  If Pilates exercises are done without sufficient core stabilisation, they will simply put strain on the low back.  If you already have low back pain this is not something you want to do!

Tips for getting it right

  • You must understand neutral pelvis before you do any of the exercises
  • Be patient.  There’s no point trying to do advanced exercises when your core muscles are weak. You’ll just end up doing the exercises with poor alignment and straining your back.
  • Make sure you fully understand how the exercise should be done and what common mistakes are
  • Always move in a smooth and controlled way
  • Stop immediately if you feel any strain in your low back

How to do Pilates “Rolling like a ball”