Pilates is great for your whole body but can it specifically help with your back pain?
Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasizes the control and stability of the core muscles, which are located in the abdomen and lower back. These muscles play a crucial role in maintaining proper spinal alignment and stability, and are often weak in individuals with back pain. Strengthening the core muscles through Pilates can help alleviate pain and improve overall spinal health.
A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy in 2015 found that individuals with chronic lower back pain who completed a 12-week Pilates intervention experienced significant improvements in pain, disability, and trunk muscle endurance compared to a control group. The study participants performed exercises such as the "plank," "bridge," and "dead bug," which target the core muscles and help improve muscle activation and stability in the lower back.
Another study, published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies in 2017, found that a 12-week Pilates intervention improved pain, disability, and quality of life in individuals with chronic non-specific low back pain. The study participants performed exercises such as the "single leg stretch," "double leg stretch," and "spine stretch forward," which focus on the core muscles and also help improve flexibility and range of motion in the spine.
Pilates exercises are also known for emphasizing proper posture and alignment, which can help alleviate stress on the lower back and improve overall spinal health. Pilates focuses on using the deep abdominal muscles and the muscles closest to the spine to create a stable base for movement and to maintain proper alignment in the spine.
It is important to note that while Pilates can be effective for managing back pain, it should not be used as the sole treatment for a serious condition. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, particularly if you have a history of back pain or injury. A physical therapist can help you design a Pilates program that is specifically tailored to your needs and can also help you progress safely as you build strength and flexibility.
Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Physiotherapy in 2018, found that a 12-week Pilates intervention was effective in reducing pain, disability and improvement in the overall quality of life in individuals with chronic low back pain. The study participants performed exercises such as the "the plank," "the bridge," and "the dead bug" which are specifically designed to target the core muscles and improve muscle activation and stability in the lower back.
Furthermore, a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Physiotherapy in 2019, found that Pilates exercise was effective in reducing chronic low back pain, compared to other forms of exercise or no exercise at all. The study reviewed 12 randomized controlled trials, including a total of 703 participants with chronic low back pain. The results of the meta-analysis showed that Pilates exercise was associated with statistically significant reductions in pain and improvements in functional outcomes.
In conclusion, Pilates is an effective form of exercise for managing back pain. It helps strengthen the core muscles, improve muscle activation and stability in the lower back, and emphasizes proper posture and alignment. However, it should be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. A physical therapist can help you design a Pilates program that is specifically tailored to your needs and can also help you progress safely as you build strength and flexibility. Studies have shown that Pilates exercise can be effective in reducing chronic low back pain, improving functional outcomes and overall quality of life.