Pilates For Acute Relief Of Lower Back Pain

Faye Prior | 2014-10-17 05:59:29

Recurring lower back pain is a common and significant problem in the UK. It can be painful to the point that it’s debilitating and stops people from even going to work. That’s why it’s described as one of the most expensive and debilitating health problems in this country.

Solutions like physical activity, physiotherapy and correct posture are often recommended for long term eradication or relief of lower back pain, but Pilates may offer a quicker and shorter term solution for troublesome back pain.

Pilates is an exercise which targets core stability, strength and flexibility. It’s in some ways similar to yoga and focuses on control of movement, posture and breathing. Since many of these elements of core stability and breathing include and typically strengthen the back, it’s been suggested as an alternative to general exercise for lower back pain.

A recent review found that taking a Pilates class 2-3 times a week for up to 5 months was as good as or even better than a person’s usual care or physical activity for relieving back pain. However after 5 months the benefits subsided and Pilates tended to only be as good as or not as good as usual methods of pain relief.

Pilates isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but this provides an alternative for people who don’t particularly enjoy activities like cycling, stretching or having massages.

Faye Prior (Researcher)


Wells et al., (2014). The Effectiveness of Pilates Exercise in People with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review. PLoS One, 9, e100402.