Daily Pilates vs. Inactivity for Patients with Low Back Pain

April 23, 2017
Kate Hindley 0 comment(s)

Reviewing the Evidence

Low back pain (LBP) is the most common reason why people attend our Physiolates private sessions and classes, and also the most common problem I treat as a physiotherapist. Patients tell me they want less pain, normal function and less stress – but is there any evidence to support Pilates for improving pain, function and even mental health?! Some patients actually believe that exercise will make them worse!

This observational study by Notarnicola et al in 2013 split 60 volunteers with LBP into 2 groups: a Pilates group and an inactivity group. The Pilates group completed 1 hour of Pilates 5 times per week for 6 months and the inactivity group continued with their normal day to day lives, Pilates free. The measurements used were The Roland-Morris Disability, the Oswestry, the SF-36 and the Spinal Functional Sort Questionnaires of all subjects measured at baseline and 6 months.img_6923-c-minAt 6 months the improvements in the Pilates group were increases in physical and social functioning, general health and vitality (P<0.05) and decreased disability and pain (P<0.05).

The inactivity group showed worsening at 6 months.

The results of this study support Pilates exercise for the effective management of LBP, further supporting my clinical practice. The secret is to keep up with regular Pilates workouts, whether it is within a class, private session or following a programme at home. Do whatever works for you! Make it enjoyable – get your friends involved, organise a lunchtime class at your workplace or put your favourite music on while you workout. If you enjoy it you’ll keep up with it a reep the benefits and results… luckily for you, our Physiolates team are on hand if you need any help!

(Notarnicola et al, 2013) img_6939-c-min

About the author

Kate Hindley

I'm a qualified physiotherapist specialising in musculoskeletal care and I started my Pilates training to aid clinical rehabilitation with my patients. Little did I know I'd soon be hooked on the Pilates method after seeing the results with both the patients and myself! I’ve completed APPI matwork level 1, 2 and 3 as well as antenatal/postnatal Pilates courses. I also passed the APPI matwork examination which means I can call myself an APPI certified Pilates instructor. I lead the Physiolates service and run a number of classes from beginner to advanced level. It’s perfect for me as I get to work out at work! It’s amazing to see the Pilates bug catch onto others, whether they are patients, injury free, sports people or they are just coming to de-stress!


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