Pilates for lower back pain

November 6, 2020
women leave pilates class in brisbane

Hi everyone! Kim here, instructor and administrator at PPF. We have many clients coming to us asking to help with lower back pain. And we are happy to tell them they have come to the right place!   Pilates is a great way to manage and help reduce lower back pain

What can cause lower back pain?

Our sedentary lifestyles too much sitting, not enough movement can lead to poor posture over time, which is a major cause of lower back pain. Heavy lifting, or twisting the spine when lifting, can also cause lower back pain. Trauma such as accidents, injuries and falls can cause lower back pain in the case of severe and/or chronic pain, we would recommend seeking specialist medical advice.

The Core

It is probably common knowledge that Pilates works the core, however Joseph Pilates preferred the term powerhouse because core implies just the six pack.  The powerhouse encompasses the abdominals as well as lower back, glutes (buttocks) and hips. Joseph Pilates believed the powerhouse was the foundation of all movement as the extremities (shoulders, arms and legs) extend from the powerhouse. Pilates also aims to work the body as a whole, rather than focus on particular muscle groups in isolation, thus aiming for balance, control, stability and strength. This is why Pilates can be very beneficial for lower back pain.

Pilaes can be good for lower back pain, as it:

  • strengthens the core to support the back
  • strengthens the glutes to help lengthen and stretch the back
  • increases mobility in the spine through rotation and flexion
  • builds strength in all planes of movement to support lifting, twisting and other functional movements

Typical exercises to assist with lower back pain:

If you are a regular Pilates goer with us or another studio, you will probably recognise all of these exercises! Pilates instructors creep them into most workouts, as they know they are so good for you and for lower back pain.

  • Pelvic Curls (Hip Rolls): to increase mobility through the spine, strengthen glutes and hamstrings, and utilise the core in a way that helps to lengthen and support the spine.
  • Leg Lifts and Toe Dips: to help improve pelvic stability and strengthen core and hip flexors
  • Supine Spine Twist/ Pendulum: to strengthen the obliques, increase spinal rotation, and stretch the back
  • Chest Lift: to strength the lower abdominals and pelvic stability.  This is NOT a crunch, so there should not be any pressure on the neck or tilting through the pelvis as the curl is performed.
  • Mermaid: to lengthen the obliques and shoulders, this is a great way to prepare the body for more intense twists and side bends (Picture below). This is a favourite Pilates exercise and stretch for lower back pain.
  • Back Extension: to help counteract poor posture caused by long periods of sitting etc.  However this exercise should be performed with caution to avoid compressing through the lower spine and overarching the upper back.

Click here to find pictures and details of the above exercises, or better yet, come try a class with us today!

Make Pilates a part of your regular exercise regime and watch your life open up to a new way of living and loving your life without lower back pain holding you back!

Want to Learn about our Classes? This guide breaks down every class type so you know what to expect when to come to class.

Not sure if you are ready physically for Pilates? Have a read of our blog Can All Body Types benefit from Pilates? to ease your mind.

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