Pilates For Back Pain Relief

Pilates is the safest way to improve chronic back pain relief by strengthening your core muscles and stretching tight music groups that restrict movement

In Fall 2008, Scott had been in such back pain that he was confined to a couch. He was having pain from his lower back that shot down the side of his leg. He was hesitant to move. He also had a 2 1/2 year old son. Scott had tried going to Doctors, Chiropractors, and Physical Therapy. He was not getting any relief. Admittedly he was overweight and did not enjoy exercise.

New to exercise

Desperate for relief and an answer to his condition he thought he would try Pilates. At first he was afraid to move at all. We started all movements very slowly. The Pilates Table or Cadillac is perfect for a person with pain concerns. It is based on a four poster hospital bed.

scott-3Holding onto a Roll Down Bar, (a bar with springs) to lower his back down on the table gently, working his abdominal muscles, lying down on his back one bone of his spine at a time, he could control the decent with the bar. The spring’s resistance helped him to come back up without straining his back strengthening could train his abdominal.. With the help of the Springs he could roll up and down slowly and safely. He was able to trust and relax his body.

Next we had Scott lie down on a Pilates Reformer, again comfortable on his back, Scott was able to press his body weight on a platform against the resistance of springs, stretching out the back of his legs in the process. We performed 10 repetitions with 4 different foot positions. This strengthened his thighs and lower legs while stretching out his calves. Scott had very developed (tight) calf muscles. He was not very active, yet he would tighten his lower legs when he worked at his desk, it was a place he held tension.

Next we had him seated on the reformer again stretching-out his legs this time stretching out his lower back and bending his knees with his torso in a flexed position. Modified of course. (Stomach Massage Series). He always started out in a comfortable position. We respected his concerns about his back pain. We added some small torso rotations or twists.

We added standing stretches at the ladder barrel, on the ladder side and then the standing tree stretches on the barrel side. Not enough Pilates teachers utilize the ladder side of the apparatus.

scott-2Lastly we went back to the table and had Scott supine stretching his hamstrings while holding a magic circle. Before we knew it his first session was finished.

“This feels good!”

Scott came to his next session. As soon as he began to feel pain we would stop and move onto onto something else, we would return to that movement at another time. The following sessions proved to be helpful relieving his fear and discomfort. After 5 sessions he acknowledged feeling much better and his confidence improved. We continued to take care not to push him

Scott continued to feel better with each session. An exercise that he was afraid of performing was now easy to accomplish and stretched out his hamstrings and lower back. He was able to straighten out his legs much easier. More importantly he could play with his 3 1/2 year old son without fear of recurring back pain.


To see Scott a year later is to see a new man. One who can move freely and perform challenging exercises easily. Without having back pain for long periods of time. This with 3 private sessions a week to start for one month then two sessions a week for another three months. He continues to have a session (he can work in a Trio setting) at least once a week sometimes twice whenever he can. He had one flare up of back pain, which he was able to manage by stretching at home daily and he was fine after only one week of pain.

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To see Scott a year later is to see a new man. One who can move freely and perform challenging exercises easily, without having back pain for long periods of time.