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Relieve back pain

10 Easy Pilates Exercises to Relieve Back Pain

10 Easy Pilates Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Most people suffer from lower back pain at some stage of their lives. Lower back pain can be reduced or completely relieved with Pilates. Pilates focuses on deep abdominal strengthening, postural awareness and correction and flexibility exercises which makes Pilates the ideal treatment and prevention of lower back pain. It is important to keep the pelvis in a neutral position throughout movement, for efficient posture and ideal alignment. Neutral spine also encourages balanced muscular development of the pelvic complex and allows for correct muscle recruitment. The pelvis is in a neutral position when the front of the hip bones are horizontally level and in line with each other and at the same time vertical in line with the Pubic bone to form a triangular shape. Pilates Dynamics will help you relieve back pain.

Here are 10 exercises which can be used as a guide to relieving non-specific lower back pain.  It is recommended that you do these exercises daily. If you experience any pain while doing any of these exercises, please stop immediately and consult your physician. Pilates exercises to relieve back pain

#1 Pelvic Curl

  • Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Arms down by your side and pelvis is in a neutral position.
  • Inhale to prepare and engage your abdominal's and pelvic floor muscle. Exhale and press your lower back into the mat whilst lifting the tailbone and peeling the spine off the mat one vertebra at a time, the hands and arms continue to press into the mat. (Keep the lower back and pelvis in a slight posterior (slightly rounded) position – avoid popping your rib cage)
  • Inhale at the top, and exhale as you lower your spine down to the mat – vertebra for vertebra to finish back in your neutral spine position.

 

#2 Supine Spine Twist 

  • Lying on your back with the arms in a T position and palms facing upwards. Your hips and knees are bent and together at right angles and in a table top position (if you do not have the strength to keep your legs off the floor, you can also keep your feet on the floor)
  • Draw your lower back into the mat and maintain this slight posterior pelvic tilt.
  • Inhale and rotate your spine, i.e., move the pelvis and the legs as one unit to one side, keeping the knees and feet together. (Do not lift your shoulder blades off the floor, so that the pelvis and legs will rotate around the shoulders which provides a stable base).
  • Exhale to draw your legs and pelvis as one unit back to the centre and repeat the same movement over to the other side.

 

#3 Chest Lift 

  • Still lying on your back, your knees are bent and feet flat on the mat hip with apart.  Interlace your hands behind your head with your elbows in your peripheral view and ensure that your pelvis is in neutral position.
  • Inhale and do a slight chin tuck (bring the chin slightly towards the chest)
  • Exhale while contracting your abdominal's and lift the chest until the base of the shoulder blades have risen off the mat. (Think of squeezing your ribs together and down towards the hip bones on the lift and keep the shoulders relaxed, you want to use your abdominal's)
  • Pause at the top whilst inhaling.
  • Exhale and lower your torso down without releasing your abdominal's. (Think of releasing from the ribs)

 

#4 Chest Lift with Rotation 

  • Same set-up position as the above exercise: lying on your back, with your knees bent and your feet hip with apart with your hands interlaced behind your head and your elbows in your peripheral view with a neutral pelvis.
  • Inhale and do a slight chin tuck (bring the chin slightly towards the chest)
  • Exhale while contracting your abdominals and lift the chest until the base of the shoulder blades have risen off the mat. (Think of squeezing your ribs together and down towards the hip bones on the lift and keep the shoulders relaxed, you want to use your abdominals)
  • Pause at the top whilst inhaling.
  • Exhale and rotate your upper torso to one side with a focus on drawing in the abdominals. Try to move from your waist without any lateral flexion movement. Keep your pelvis in a neutral position throughout the movement and your shoulders relaxed.
  • Inhale and return to the centre.
  • Exhale and rotate to the other side. (Avoid flaring your ribs; you want to rotate and not rock from side to side)

 

#5 Half roll-backs 

  • Sit tall with your legs bent comfortably out in front and feet on the mat, or legs straight forward and together.  You can place your hands on the back of your thighs, alternatively if you are strong enough, you can have your arms forward in line with your shoulders with your palms facing your body.
  • Take an inhale, then exhale as you curl (round) your back into a C-curve starting from your tailbone and roll backwards half way down to the floor- arms remaining in line forward with your shoulders or with your hands on the back of your thighs. (Pull your navel into your spine).
  • Inhale and hold that position.
  • Exhale and deepen your abdominal contraction to roll back up, bringing the torso forward, maintaining the C-Curve shape of your spine.
  • Once your shoulders are above your hips, take an inhale and straighten your spine into a tall position

 

#6 Swimming on all fours

  • In a 4-point kneeling position (hands shoulder width apart and wrists in line with your shoulders) Knees are hip width apart and the pelvis in neutral, your eyes are gazing at the floor.
  • Inhale and without moving the body, reach the left arm forward and simultaneously lift the right leg up and reach it away from your body.
  • Exhale to place the left arm and right leg down on the floor and inhale and repeat the same movement with the right arm and left leg.
  • (Keep your shoulders down your back and away from your ears and do not dip in your mid and lower back when doing this movement. Try to keep your hips square. Squeeze your abdominals to stabilize your back and your pelvis throughout the movement).

 

#7 Modified Plank (Ladies Plank) and Full Plan

  • From a 4-point kneeling position, walk your hands forward until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders and keep this body position throughout the movement. Make sure that your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Squeeze your abdominals and keep your head in line with your spine and your shoulders down your back and away from your ears.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can, before placing the knees back down on the floor.
  • To advance the Plank Hold position, you can also straighten the legs with the weight on your toes and hands.  Keep the body in a straight line with the shoulder blades down your back and away from your knees and do not dip into your mid or lower back.  Keep squeezing your abdominals throughout the movement.
  • If your wrists hurt – go onto your elbows with the elbows directly in line with the shoulders – hands either inter-laced or directly forward in line with the elbows.

 

#8 Side-lying Clam 

  • Lying on your side with your bottom arm straight and the side of your head (cheek) on top of your bicep. Your head and arm form a straight line with your spine. Bend the knees into a 45-degree bend and line the feet up with the back of the pelvis. (Make sure that the lower waist does not sink or collapse into the mat). Your other hand is placed in front of your chest for support or on your hip as in the video.
  • Exhale and lift the top knee whilst keeping the feet together, then inhale and lower your leg back down to the start position with control. (As you lift the knee, ensure that your hips are still and stable and not moving)
  • Repeat on the other side after a few repetitions.

 

#9 Prone Swimming 

  • Lie down on your mat, face down, placing your arms straight forward of the body, palms facing down. Keep your shoulder blades down your back and away from your ears. Your legs are hip width apart.
  • Inhale to draw in the abdominals while raising the chest, arms and legs slightly off the mat (length is important, not height)
  • Keeping the lifted position, exhale and raise the right arm and left leg and inhale and switch sides (you want to make little flutter movements).
  • When finished, inhale and stabilize, then exhale to lower the body slowly.
  • If this movement is too difficult, then omit lifting the head, chest, arms and legs off the floor and merely proceed to lifting the opposite arms and legs (lift right arm and left leg and place it down on the floor before lifting the left arm and right leg).
  • Go into a Childs’ Pose / Resting position after this movement: On your hands and knees, reach your hips back resting them on your feet or in between your feet.  Keep reaching your fingertips forward as you breathe, your forehead is down on the floor or on a pillow. The knees can open wider for a deeper stretch.

 

#10 Cat/Cow Stretch 

  • Kneeling on your hands and knees with the knees hip width apart and hands shoulder-width apart, ensure that your spine is in neutral and the weight is evenly distributed on the legs and arms, with the head in line with the spine.
  • Exhale and with the abdominals engaged, draw the spine into a c-curve, rounded position. Focus on rounding the lower back (Avoid rounding the upper back too much and allowing the head to go too far between the arms and avoid tucking the pelvis under).
  • Inhale and return to your neutral spine position – keeping the abdominals contracted.
  • Exhale and extend the upper back by arching the back while you maintain stability in the pelvic-lumber area (try to keep the lower back in a neutral position). By externally rotating the shoulders slightly, it will help with the upper back extension.
  • Inhale and return to neutral spine (flat back) again, before repeating the movement