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Do you find your Pilates class isn't helping your back Pain? Does it sometimes make your back pain worse? Well your not alone
Helping with back pain is properly one of the main reasons people look to join one of my Pilates classes. Often many of my class participants are recommended by their Physio's, Osteopath's, Chiropractor's and GP's to start Pilates to go along with the work they have been doing. You may even have been recommended to try Pilates yourself.
So sometimes it can be a quite disappointing when we spend the time looking for the class that's right for us, getting the right equipment and attending our class week on week, only for our back pain to not to improve (sometimes even gets worse!).
The question is why, and what can we do to improve this.
Recently I had two ladies enquire about joining my Pilates class to help with their back pain. Both had been suffering from a similar pain (stiffness and aches in the lower back). They had recently tried a different Pilates Class, however one of them (we well refer to as Mrs A) said back felt a lot better after the class, whilst the other (we will refer to as Mrs B) felt a lot worse after the class, despite doing the same exercise and having similar symptoms.
So why could this be.
Well before they started in one of my Pilates classes, they both had a full assessment to determine what could be causing the problem. From the screening with Mrs A I could see her pelvis was functioning what we would consider ok. Mrs B's pelvis however appeared not to be. Her pelvis appeared to be "stuck" in a rotation. The position the pelvis appeared to be "stuck" in, was one that would have no stability. To keep it simple, in my opinion no matter how many "stability" exercises Mrs B carried out, it would not make much difference, because the pelvis is in that position of no stability, so actually by continuing with "stability/core strength" work we could be strengthening that "stuck" position, thereby possibly increasing the back pain. Completely the opposite to what Mrs B was trying to achieve.
So what can we do?
Well in Mrs B's case, firstly we tried to identify why her pelvis was in this position. After few one to one Therapy session's we worked on correcting what we had found in our initial session. Whilst also completing her homework exercises, she was able to get her pelvis into what we would consider acceptable. She then started the a small group class in Beginner Pilates and felt a whole lot better than she did in her previous class with the apparent "stuck" pelvis position. Mrs A & Mrs B still attend weekly Pilates classes and also one to one assessment and have informed me they are feeling a lot better since they started.
If you are finding your Pilates isn't helping (or even hurting) your back, then I would recommend further investigation to see if you can find out why. A full assessment and screening could help some of those questions.
Its worth remembering that Pilates isn't intended as resolution to back pain alone. Many have felt it does improve the symptoms of back pain, however usually it is used in conjunction with the work of a qualified therapist.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all... email@example.com.
Thanks for reading.
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Pilates Instructor & Therapist, helping you understand why we do what we do!