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Clinical Pilates for Low Back Pain

The stats:

  • Low back pain is one of the most common presenting conditions to a physiotherapy clinic

  • 50-80% of the adult population will experience back pain at some point in their life.

  • 40% have back pain in any one year and have a high risk of reoccurrence

  • Back pain is the number one most common cause of disability in the working population

With such huge incidences of back pain it helps to understand a little more about what can be such a debilitating injury. Low back pain is an umbrella term that can be used to cover a number of specific structures that can be the cause of pain such as muscles, joints, nerves and discs. Pain can be sharp, dull, constant and can even refer to other body parts. The following information is a guide to help better understand low back pain.

The risk:

  • Heavy or frequent lifting

  • Prolonged positions (such as sitting, standing or driving)

  • Repetitive movements

  • Poor abdominal or leg strength

  • History of low back pain

When to seek help:

  • If symptoms do not settle within the first 24hours

  • If episodes of low back pain are becoming more frequent or severe

  • If you experience any weakness, numbness or referred pain into your legs

  • Most importantly if you want the tools and knowledge to help minimise pain and prevent future episodes of low back pain

What YOU can do:

  • Apply heat to the affected area

  • Take medication as directed by your doctor or pharmacist

  • Avoid prolonged positions

  • Contact your Physiotherapist if symptoms persist

Prevention, better than a cure:

  • Sit for short periods of time: when we sit our lower back is in a loaded flexed position which our spines do not like. Break up your day by only sitting for 20-30min at a time, this will help decrease the load on your back. When you are sitting make sure that you have good posture in a chair with lumbar support.

  • Find a comfortable sleeping position: if you are a side sleeper consider a pillow between the knees and if you prefer sleeping on your back a rolled up towel under the knees can help to allow the spine to relax into a neutral position.

  • Avoid prolonged positions: it’s not just sitting for a long period of time that can aggravate our spine, prolonged standing, lying, crouching can also result in low back pain.

  • Exercise: one of the worst things you can do for low back pain is lie in bed all day when it hurts. 20-30min of non-strenuous walking is good for your body and your mind. Exercise encourages our core muscles to activate and support our spine. Exercise also releases endorphins giving us that feel good sensation.

  • Stretch: your spine is made to move, bend and twist. Lack of movement leads to muscle tightness and can be a warning sign of injury. Regular stretching can help protect your back in the long term.

  • Maintain healthy weight: weight is never an easy topic to discuss, but it must be addressed. Excess weight puts strain on your back muscles and may place you at an increased risk of injury. Working towards your healthy weight range can reduce your chance of getting back pain.

Clinical Pilates

  • Clinical Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing. By addressing these areas through controlled movements Clinical Pilates not only helps to treat low back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries but decreases the incidence of re-injury.

  • Clinical Pilates in run by a Physiotherapist in small groups and the exercises are individualised to your injuries, goals and specific needs.

  • Recent research has found that injury and pain can affect the activation and timing of certain muscle groups that without specific re-training theses muscles may not return to normal function.

  • Poor posture is also linked to pain and muscle imbalances which can increase the risk of injury.

To learn more about Clinical Pilates and how it can help you call us on 8941 8555.

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