Pilates has long been used as a form of rehabilitation, with Joseph Pilates himself developing it to help injured soldiers. However it wasn’t until the 90’s that Pilates became more commonly used in the rehabilitation of injuries, with many physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons recommending it to their patients, especially those with back or neck pain (APMA, 2013).
Back pain is often associated with the weakness of “core stabilizers” (back and abdominal muscles). When weakened, these muscles are less able to support the spine which results in poor posture and an increased risk of back pain.
Thus people who suffer from back pain are encouraged to do exercises that encourage flexibility. Pilates is one such exercise. Through re-educating the postural (stabilizing) muscles of the spine and shoulder girdle, Pilates has been shown to improve back and neck pain, headaches, and movement function (Moffett & McLean 2006).
Pilates uses techniques that target balance, strength, fluid functional movement, and flexibility which helps build appropriate musculature around joints such as the hip and shoulder. Thus alleviating strain on the vertebral column of the spine, leading to the management of back and neck pain and greater spine health.
A small study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies showed that people with moderate neck or back pain found relief from participation in a 6 week Pilates course. This course involved an hour’s class a week and participants were advised to continue their three times a week home program in addition to the class. At the end of the program, participants had improved function of their neck and back.
Generalised Pilates classes offered by gyms and which are not delivered by qualified, and experienced Pilates instructors can be dangerous for individuals who suffer from back or neck pain. This is due to the large number of participants in gym classes which mean that individuals often do not receive the attention they require to correct technique necessary to prevent injury.
Conversely we at PilatesCan keep our class sizes small so our qualified instructors have the time to focus on your body’s individual needs and advise you on the best Pilates exercises for your specific condition.
If your condition is more vulnerable we provide private and semi-private sessions, which use specialised Pilates equipment, and allows your instructor to tailor an exercise program specifically for you, which can be varied each session, and will enable you to manage back and neck pain safely and successfully.
To get a start and work towards improving your neck and back you can contact us via our contact form or by calling us on 0419 777 477. We have helped hundreds of clients in Canberra in the last 15 years manage and improve their spinal health and we look forward to assisting you.