How Pilates Can Help With Back Pain

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 Physiotherapist discusses how Pilates can help back pain.

 Physiotherapist discusses how Pilates can help back pain.

Video transcript

Featuring Danielle Langford, BScPT, MPT, MCPA Treloar Physiotherapy, Vancouver BC
Video Title: How Pilates Can Help With Back Pain
Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Pilates is working from your core, creating a foundation so that you can move throughout your day better and easier.

Clients often experience the vicious pain cycle between exercise and pain, exercise and pain. People are told especially with back pain that they have weak cores and they need to go strengthen their core.

So then they go and find a class, a community class or whatever, to work on yoga, working on their core, a Pilates class. Even going to a personal trainer. Or they try to return to the gym. With that, they often get frustrated because sometimes they’ll experience more pain with that, and then the cycle continues again.

So basically those community classes can be a little bit challenging in the sense that there’s some competition involved, there is pleasing your instructor, there’s different elements to it. And, and sometimes your lack of body awareness can, can play into that vicious cycle.

With clinical Pilates, it’s one on one. So you, your body’s gonna be different than someone else’s body. So from that we can break down and give you specific exercises, specific cues that can actually have you feel that. Versus it’s a little bit challenging sometimes in a group scenario for an instructor to target everybody’s individual cues and individual imbalances.

So clinical Pilates is good in that sense that it, it helps tie that in for you so that you can feel it for yourself. Then you can go and take that to the class, and then you can feel more confident in your class and have more success with it.

Pilates uses numerous machines. There’s reformers, there’s chairs, there’s trap tables, there’s small apparatuses, balls and so forth. And the nice part of being, about Pilates is the machines that you can use with that as well. Because it helps to support you.

So very often people have a hard time firing their core, but when they’re on one of the machines, they can experience that because of the way the machine moves and the way it supports you so that you can actually access those muscles a little bit easier.

If you’re caught in that vicious cycle of back pain and exercise, contact your local doctor. They can refer you to a physiotherapist or your local clinical Pilates instructor to stop that cycle.

Presenter: Ms. Danielle Langford, Physiotherapist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Physiotherapist

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Quiz: Do You Understand Back Pain?


Lumbar back pain is the most common type of back pain.


Back pain symptoms can be mild or severe, and cervical (neck pain), thoracic (middle back pain), lumbar (lower back pain) or tailbone/sacral (coccydynia). Lumbar back pain is the most common type.


Back pain isn't caused by medical problems involving the gallbladder or kidneys.


Back pain can come from muscles, bones, joints or nerves. It can also be caused by medical problems involving the gallbladder, aorta, kidneys or pancreas.


Scoliosis is a back condition but it doesn't cause back pain.


Back pain causes include injury or activity, arthritis, back strain, sciatica, poor posture, aging and scoliosis.


Back pain symptoms include pain that radiates down your leg.


Back pain symptoms include shooting or stabbing pain, pain that radiates down the leg, muscle aches, pain that worsens when you walk, lift something, bend or stand, and pain that improves when you recline.


Most patients with back pain will require surgery.


In most cases, back pain will resolve on its own with treatment at home and over-the-counter medications. Some patients benefit from spinal traction, a physiotherapy technique that applies a longitudinal stretch to the reachable joints and soft tissues that is commonly used on the cervical, lumbar spine and thoracic spine. Surgery is not usually recommended.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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