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Pilates for Back Pain

If you’re like most people and you get bored pretty quickly with exercise routines and you like to work out in a group, then this is a fun and fantastic to way to get your back into it’s optimum health condition.

What makes Pilates so effective is that it addresses the underlying structural imbalances in the body that lead to back pain. Issues like lack of core support, pelvic instability, muscular imbalances, poor posture, and lack of body awareness all effect back health. They are also issues that the Pilates method specializes in helping people improve.

Pilates is a particularly good exercise for many people with back pain as it is designed to strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, which provide support to the back. Pilates has been found to reduce chronic back pain and the disability associated with back pain. These improvements are maintained over a long period of time.

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In order to effectively improve support for your back, and to prevent injury, you must be able to perform an effective pelvic floor and deep abdominal contraction. The basic Pilates exercises are designed to achieve this contraction. If you cannot contract your pelvic floor or deep abdominals muscles effectively, more advanced exercises may place too much strain on your back and other joints. This is why it is important to be assessed by a Pilates instructor or physiotherapist before continuing with exercises to make sure your technique is correct.

 

SOME MUST-DO PILATES MOVES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR BACK.

Leg folds on ball

Maintain a deep abdominal muscle and pelvic floor contraction while sitting on the ball and alternately lifting your legs off the ground. Maintain good posture, and keep the rest of the body stable and still throughout.

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Angel arms

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Maintain a deep abdominal muscle and pelvic floor contraction while raising and lowering your arms above your head. Keep your shoulders low and your ribcage down.

4-point kneeling series

Kneel on your hands and knees with your back and pelvis in a neutral position. While maintaining a deep abdominal and pelvic floor contraction:

 

  • Raise one arm out in front and put back down
  • Raise one leg up and put back down
  • Raise one arm and the opposite leg up and put back down
  • Raise one arm and the leg on the same side up and put back down
  • Maintain the position of your lower back and pelvis throughout.

 

Prepare for the Cat Stretch.

This Pilates exercise will be performed in four breaths.

  • You will inhale deeply through the nose to prepare, aiming the breath towards the back of the rib cage and exhale deeply through the mouth.
  • Start by positioning yourself on all fours on your mat or towel. Adjust your hands so they rest directly under your shoulders and avoid overextending your elbows. Have your knees directly under your hips.
  • Have your spine in a neutral position. Your neck needs to follow this line naturally.  As you begin to exhale, think of flattening the abdominal region; imagine gently pulling your belly button towards your spine. Pull in your lower abdominal muscles and curl the lower back, middle back and upper back towards the ceiling.
  • Inhale and stay. As you exhale, reverse the movement, articulating back from the neck, upper back, middle back and lower back, returning to neutral without losing the control in the abdominals.