Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint in both GP and Physiotherapy clinics. Managing lower back pain can be tricky, but a growing body of evidence suggests that exercise-based rehabilitation under the supervision of a Physiotherapist is the most effective treatment route for the management of lower back pain.
One of the many forms of exercise that can be used for treatment is Pilates, which is becoming increasingly popular due to its focus on strength, flexibility, mobility, core strength, and relaxation, all important components of effective lower back pain management.
Pilates for Back Pain
Pilates is a predominantly mat-based exercise, where most movements are performed on the floor. Pilates encompasses a multitude of different positions and exercises that can be performed at varying levels of difficulty.
This capacity to adapt to different abilities and circumstances is what makes Pilates such a useful tool in the management of lower back pain. Movements can be readily adapted to suit patients suffering acute episodes of lower back pain, as well as those who are not currently experiencing significant pain but need to build their strength in order to reduce the risk of future back pain episodes.
Pilates Exercises to Ease Back Pain
Pilates utilises hundreds of different exercises to improve strength, endurance, mobility, flexibility, and so on. The below exercises are referred to as mobility exercises, and they are intended to move the joints and muscles of the back through their full range of movement, reducing pain and stiffness in the area, an important tool in the management of back pain.
Lay on your back with your arms stretched out to the sides. Bring your heels up to your glutes, keeping your feet and knees together. Now drop both knees down to one side whilst keeping knees and feet together and look in the opposite direction. Reset to the original position and proceed to drop the knees to the other side, and then repeat the movement a few times on each side. You should be able to feel your range of movement increase with each repetition.
This exercise is a great way to increase the mobility of your hips and spine, which commonly lead to lower back pain when they become stiff and tight.
CAT / COW
Start in a 4-point kneeling position with your knees and hands on the floor. Arrange your knees under your hips and hands underneath your shoulders, making sure to maintain the spine in a neutral position.
Curl your pelvis inwards while dropping your head down to look between your legs to create a big curvature of your spine as shown in the bottom picture. Then, fully uncurl your pelvis and look forward, to fully arch the lower back. Mindfully alternate between these two positions to mobilise the whole length of the spine. Make sure to move within a range that feels comfortable and is not painful.
Whereas the hip twist exercise above focuses on rotational mobility, this exercise focuses on creating mobility through flexion and extension of the spine.
When Is Pilates Not Recommended
Pilates can be adapted to suit a wide range of needs and abilities, including medical histories and injuries. As such, most people can enjoy the benefits of Pilates as a regular form of exercise. However, as with any new form of exercise, please consult your GP or Physiotherapist to enquire whether Pilates is a safe and suitable form of exercise for you.
Lower Back Pain Treatment in Sheffield
Here at Katie Bell Physiotherapy & Wellness, we are well equipped to help you manage and treat lower back pain, no matter how acute or chronic your injuries are. Our expert team of Physiotherapists can fully assess and diagnose your injury, and create a treatment and management plan to get you on the road to a pain free back. Our services include but are not limited to: Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Shockwave Therapy, and Massage Therapy.
If you are interested in trying Pilates as a form of back pain management, we offer both online and face to face Pilates sessions, so you can reap the benefits of Pilates no matter your availability and weekly routine! Enquire today to book your free taster session.
Online Pain Management Programme
If a tight schedule is limiting your progress with your lower back pain rehabilitation, we have the programme for you! Our Take Control Of Your Back Pain 90 day online programme, is an easy and simple to follow course for pain management designed to fit into a busy life, allowing you to manage and improve your back pain from the comfort of your own home.