Whether you are an office worker, new mother, sportsperson or retiree, many of us will have an episode of back pain at some stage in our lives.

It’s hardly unexpected. Numerous aspects of contemporary life, such as sedentary habits, poor posture, and rising obesity rates, contribute to the widespread issue of back pain. Technology has fostered a mentality of minimal movement. However, our bodies are designed for activity.

Pilates however, is at the forefront of many back pain rehabilitation programs, as it addresses the common issues that lead to back pain. Let’s find out more about how Pilates can help your back pain.

Who is most at risk of back pain?

Back pain is often brought about by injury.

Those at highest risk for developing back pain include individuals who are overweight or lead a sedentary lifestyle, those who spend prolonged periods sitting at work, and those whose occupations involve frequent lifting, twisting, and bending. Additional risk factors include stress and smoking.

People with conditions like arthritis, scoliosis, depression or cancer are also more prone to experiencing back pain.

Furthermore, the likelihood of back pain increases with age, with the first episode typically occurring between the ages of 30 and 40.

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How does back pain affect your lifestyle?

Back pain can significantly diminish one’s quality of life. Those affected often reduce their participation in work, exercise, and social activities.

Chronic back pain can profoundly affect relationships, hormonal balance, and familial and community roles. These combined effects, along with the pain itself, can greatly impact psychological well-being.

How to Overcome Back Pain

Numerous studies emphasise the importance of maintaining activity levels for managing back pain effectively. Supervised exercise programs aimed at enhancing mobility, core strength, and flexibility, while avoiding exacerbation of symptoms, are crucial aspects of successful back pain treatment.

How does Pilates help with Back pain?

Pilates focuses on proper posture, body awareness, core strength, muscular imbalances and flexibility. It is particularly helpful for those with back pain as it strengthens the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles which ultimately support your back.


Individuals experiencing back pain typically exhibit weaker abdominal muscles compared to those without such issues. The deep abdominal muscles, particularly the transversus abdominis, act akin to a corset, offering crucial support to the back. This collective strength of the deep abdominal, pelvic floor, and back muscles, crucial for stabilising the spine and facilitating movement, is termed core stability. Core muscle strength also allows the diaphragm to function optimally. Weakness in these deep abdominal muscles can leave the back susceptible to injury.

Pilates strengthens the transverse abdominis, as well as the other major core muscles like the rectus abdominis and trains the body on when to activate these muscles.


Bad posture is a big problem in today’s society. With technology being used at a growing rate for all ages, many of us are suffering imbalances and weak postural muscles. And in turn, back and neck pain.

Pilates increases your postural awareness by focusing on the correct alignment of your spine and pelvis. Pilates exercises focus on keeping the spine in a neutral position which allows you to have natural alignment of your bones, ligaments, muscles and other tissues.


If muscles are tight, like hamstrings, hip flexors or glutes, they pull on nearby structures causing misalignment and pain. Pilates focuses on lengthening these muscles which improves flexibility and stops pain and further injury. In general Pilates helps your spine become more flexible and durable. It retrains your muscles to work together and increases range of motion.

Is Pilates safe?

Certain exercise positions can exacerbate back pain, that’s why it’s highly recommended that back pain sufferers do not take part in general group classes run by an instructor with minimal qualifications.

Physiotherapists with expertise in clinical Pilates utilise specialised equipment and exercises tailored to effectively address back pain. Pilates routines can be adapted to avoid aggravating positions and focus on those that provide relief. The intensity and complexity of exercises can also be adjusted based on the level of pain and its severity.

This level of personalised care, ensures Pilates to be safe for everyone, from the elderly, to pregnant women and teenagers.

Note- Before starting any new exercise program, it is advisable for those with back pain, to speak to your chosen healthcare professional.

Clinical Pilates at Sandgate Physical Health Clinic

Back pain sufferers should seek Pilates classes conducted by a physiotherapist or highly trained clinical pilates instructor. They have undergone extensive training in Pilates, have a thorough understanding of back pain and spinal pathology, and are able to create a personalised Pilates exercise program depending on your specific condition.

At Sandgate Physical Health Clinic, we have a large Pilates studio catering for all types of Pilates. Our Clinical Pilates Instructors are fully trained and experienced in helping those with back pain to recover from their injury and reduce the risk of a recurrence in the future. Our friendly team of Clinical Pilates instructors include – Nicole Peavey, Ann Chipa, Kristin Catalano, Ellie Widdicombe and Shruti Patel.

Clinical Pilates sessions initially include a one on one session with their Physiotherapist before they can join a class. A tailored, goal orientated exercise program is then devised that will be delivered in a small group session (either equipment or mat), led by one of our Pilates trained Physiotherapists.

To book your first appointment please call us on 07 3869 1099.

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