Pilates may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of alleviating back pain, but you can use pilates exercises to relieve lower back pain. It is critical to a back pain patient’s well-being to understand the necessity of neutral alignment of the spine and the need to strengthen the postural muscles that fosters said alignment. Pilates promotes back health through a number of exercises that are effective in the treatment of lower back pain.
Pilates Exercises Proven Effective for Back Pain
Back pain is no joke, but you don’t have to suffer in silence either; instead, you can turn to pilates exercises to remedy your suffering. A 2006 study suggests that pilates used as a deliberate core stability exercise, with functional movements, can cause an improvement in active patients with non-specific, chronic low back pain. Pilates exercise and back pain can go hand in hand to heal.
Pilates Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Pelvic Tilt: As early as the 1980s, pelvic tilt has been recommended for lower back pain relief. Though a simple pilates exercise, it is very effective at strengthening the core and support system of the spine. To do the pelvic tilt:
- Take the supine position, with hips flexed to 45°, knees flexed to 90°, and relax the back muscle maintaining its natural curve
- Inhale, tilt the pelvis posteriorly, flattening the lumbar spine/back against the floor, pulling the navel towards the spine
- Hold for 10-15 seconds
- Exhale, return to neutral spine and relax
- Repeat 2-3 times
Supine Spinal Twist: This move requires a gentle rotation or a soft massage of the spine, targeting the oblique muscles to stretch and strengthen them, which in turn, supports spinal realignment and hydration of the spinal disks. To do the supine spinal twist:
- Begin by positioning yourself on your back, bend the knees, feet remaining flat and arms outstretched horizontally to the sides
- Press the knees together with feet straight, keeping shoulder blades firmly planted into the floor
- Inhale and gently lift your legs up and rotate them from left to right
- After one rotation, exhale and gently pull your legs to the center
- Perform 3-5 five times on each side, holding each rotation for 10-15 seconds.
Articulating Bridge on Reformer: Pilates reformer classes can also help to alleviate back pain with exercises like the articulating bridge, which facilitates mobility and stability of the spine, and loosen the back muscles. To do the articulating bridge:
- Begin with foot bar up high and headrest in a low position
- Position yourself on your back, arms reaching long at the sides, and heels placed on foot bar hip width apart
- With hips and knees bent to 90⁰, inhale and tilt up from your tailbone, lifting the posterior from the carriage
- Exhale as you lower your body down on the carriage
- Hold bridge for 20-30 seconds, for 3-5 reps
- Using pilates exercises to relieve lower back pain is a great option that is not only gentle on the body, but also effective.