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Can Pilates Help Treat Low Back Pain?

Low back pain is a common condition that often is a struggle for physicians and patients to treat.  Management plans widely vary and frequently depend on a patient's age, height, weight and other health factors.  Compared to the other treatments available for low back pain, Pilates is considered a conservative option.  So, is it actually effective?

What is Pilates?

Joseph Pilates, a German gymnast and bodybuilder, is the man behind the creation of  Pilates in the 20th century. Pilates originated as a novel concept known as “Contrology” which integrated a comprehensive system of physical exercise that encouraged the use of the mind to control muscles while focusing attention on core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced to provide support for the spine.  The practice has morphed into what we know today as Pilates, a form that consists of consecutive movements that accentuates strength and durability and similar to other types of physical exercise, Pilates focuses on consolidating body strength. Many versions of Pilates have emerged worldwide, especially in recent years, as Pilates has grown in popularity.   Most of these different types follow the basic nine principles of Pilates:

  1. Breathing
  2. Concentration
  3. Control
  4. Centering
  5. Precision
  6. Balanced Muscle Development
  7. Rhythm & Flow
  8. Body Movement
  9. Relaxation 

Advantages of Pilates

There are many advantages of Pilates as many people, experts and physiotherapists are adopting Pilates in their daily exercise plans.  It is a low-cost treatment and is often preferred in cases where medications and interventional pain injections do not provide pain relief.  Research has suggested that Pilates can be more beneficial than the other methods of pain relief.  One major benefit of Pilates is that it has minimal if any side-effects due to the low amount of strain on the body.

Disadvantages of Pilates

Receiving effective and actual Pilates therapy can be challenging and often misleading.  In 2000, US Federal Courts ruled that the word, “Pilates,” is a general term and hence can be used without restrictions.  This means that the term, “Pilates,” can often be used by anyone who deems themselves to be a Pilates expert, even without any formal training. Organizations, such as the Pilates Method Alliance, were formed to help regulate Pilates teaching and quality.  Many have recommended that patients should opt for a trained and experienced Pilates instructor when pursing this therapy.  Some research also suggested that pilates may not be more beneficial than other types of physical exercise and therapies for the management of pain.  Hence, confusion exists on efficacy.

Similar to many treatments for low back pain, effectiveness, relief and satisfaction for patients using Pilates are highly dependent on a patient’s individual condition and medical history.  A Pilates instructor should really be familiar with each patient's health status to properly devise an appropriate exercise plan.

We believe that Pilates may help complement your pain therapies.  If you are looking for an effective pain clinic in New Hampshire to treat your back pain, you should consult Pain Specialty Group to find out the cause of your back pain and get a proper treatment plan to control your pain.

To find out if you can benefit from innovative therapies for low back pain, contact Pain Specialty Group by phone or request an appointment online today.


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