Overcoming Back Pain With Pilates

pilates for back pain Jun 02, 2024
This person practising Pilates to overcome back pain


Recently, one of my clients of many years was experiencing unexpected back pain. Her much-loved dog, Scout, was experiencing severe abdominal pain, stopped eating and had to be rushed to an emergency vet.  Fortunately, the vet was able to quickly diagnose that Scout had a bowel obstruction due to eating an old bone he had dug up in the backyard.  Surgery was on the cards but the first method of removing the obstruction was successful and Scout and my client were spared the trauma of surgery. With medication, Scout made a full recovery but my client was left with back pain so severe she couldn't stand up straight.  The emotional stress of almost losing Scout combined with holding him still in awkward positions as he is terrified of being in a vet clinic took its toll on my client's back. She has scoliosis which only causes very occasional back pain as she has been practising Pilates for 13 years. She began her Pilates exercises as soon as her back muscles went into spasm so by the time I saw her for her online sessions 5 days later her back pain was 80% resolved.  We worked further to overcome the remaining discomfort and by the following week she was pain-free and back in fine form.

Back pain is a very broad term and includes a wide variety of types of back pain. High levels of stress, physical reasons such as lifting something too heavy, and hormonal changes can all cause back pain.  It can be caused by degeneration of the spinal discs and vertebrae or can be referred pain from something else occurring in the body.


Common Types of Back Pain


When I first started teaching Pilates the majority of my clients came to Pilates to overcome back pain caused by lumbar disc issues.  Herniated, bulging, prolapsed and extruded discs were common and sometimes these Issues caused spinal nerve compression. This is usually felt as nerve pain or tingling pain going down the leg or in the foot.  In severe cases, where there is numbness or foot drop, surgery is the best option to decompress the nerve. In the majority of cases, however, targeted and specific strengthening with Pilates is sufficient to overcome the pain and many clients are have regular checkups with a surgeon to monitor their progress and ensure surgery is not necessary.


Muscular Spasms


Like the client, I mentioned above, muscular spasms of the back muscles are very common. It usually comes on suddenly and can be triggered by sitting for too long, weak muscles, heavy lifting, overuse, sleeping in an awkward position, and many other causes. Spasms can come on quickly or appear shortly after the trigger occurs. One of my clients was regularly experiencing back spasms when she stood and watched her son play sport outside in winter.  She overcame this each time with Pilates and then learned to prevent it from occurring in the future by moving around more and wearing warmer clothing.  With Pilates, it's possible to overcome painful back spams as quickly as it appears when like my client you have the PIlates tools to work towards overcoming the pain.


How Pilates Helps Overcome Back Pain


When you are in pain, the first step is to calm your nervous system and the Pilates breathing techniques are ideal for promoting relaxation. Developing an awareness of the abdominal, glute and back muscles and then working to connect with and strengthen these muscles helps to support the spine and pelvis. The mind-body connection of Pilates teaches you to control your muscles with your mind  which helps you to make the changes in your body you need to to become pain-free 

If you have any questions about overcoming back pain through Pilates or would like to start 1 on 1 virtual Pilates sessions with me email me at [email protected]. Alternatively, sign up HERE and we can schedule an appointment time. If you want to work independently join my online Pilates program of on-demand videos which I specifically designed to help you recover from pain or injury  It would be my pleasure to assist you on your movement journey to pain-free living!






If you are ready to take control of your own health and fitness then download your free copy of my detailed guide.

Learn more about what sort of people benefit from Pilates and how it can help you too. I separate the myths from the facts and share actual case studies of my clients who have achieved life-changing results from my unique Pilates program.