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Article by Infofit

How Pilates Helps with Chronic Low Back Pain

Pilates is a form of exercise recommended for individuals actively involved in rehabilitation.

Pilates is effective for reducing chronic low back

Pilates was a fitness system developed around 1920 by Joseph Pilates a German fitness teacher.  It was originally used as a method of training for ballet and modern dancers that became more popular as both a form of fitness and holistic health. Pilates has recently become a common form of exercise recommended for individuals who are actively involved in rehabilitation. It emphasizes core strength, postural realignment, flexibility and the harmonization of breathing when in movement. Several studies have been published in regards to the effects of Pilates with people suffering from chronic low back pain.

Pilates is beneficial for patients with LBP because it improves overall core strength

Pilates is so effective for chronic low back pain is due to its primary focus on core functionality and strengthening. Core instability and weakness have been acknowledged as a biomechanical insufficiency in patients with LBP. Studies are showing the problem appears to involve poor neuromuscular coordination, or enlistment of the appropriate core muscles, which negatively affects spinal stability. Pilates would therefore be beneficial for patients with LBP because it improves overall core strength, and in addition, encourages the correct activation pattern of core musculature. The basic mat program is a series of exercises that train core stability; when proper enlistment of the biomechanical inefficiencies are demonstrated, more challenging exercises are gradually added to improve core strength, neuromuscular control and increase spinal stabilization.

Improve core strength, neuromuscular control and increase spinal stabilization.

Pilates appears to be a great way of getting fit and helping with LBP. Please note that if you have LBP and looking to start a Pilates program (or any form of exercise), it is important that you get evaluated by a certified personal trainer or other health professional before beginning.   Personal trainers or other fitness instructors wanting to learn more about fixing LBP through exercise, can do so by taking the fitness course Muscle Testing, Function and Exercise workshop put on by Infofit.

Reference Material:

1) Medicine: January 2015 – Volume 94 – Issue 4 – p e383

Effects of Pilates Exercise Programs in People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review

2) US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health – Med.2008 Mar 1(1):39–47.

Yoga and Pilates in the management of low back pain

By Cathie Glennon, BCRPA Certified Personal Trainer / BCRPA SFL