Using Pilates to Prevent and Heal Lower Back Pain: Stretches



Millions of us live with moderate to severe back pain on a daily basis. Our hectic lives of spending long hours at a desk, in front of a computer, or behind the wheel of a car makes it difficult to maintain good back health. Many of us are learning what professional athletes have known for years–Pilates is the key!

Pilates has been incredibly popular within the field of professional sports for years, and now the general public is also experiencing how Pilates can help improve physical function and control pain. Building strength, flexibility, posture, balance, and coordination are all emphasized within any Pilates exercise.

We want to use the following Pilates-based stretches as a way to avoid future problems in the low back, hips, and knees and/or to repair damage that’s already been done.

Doing these very simple stretches on a daily basis will also help you with your Classical Pilates mat and equipment work. These stretches will open the lumbar spine, allowing the lower spine to easily undulate between flexion and extension. So mat exercises such as the roll-up, the roll-over, corkscrew, bridging, and teaser (to name a few) will start to feel smoother and less strenuous on the low back and hips.

Try this three- to four-minute routine daily for two weeks and see what a difference it makes in your daily activities, as well as the improvements it brings to your Pilates and other exercise endeavors.

Exercise: Standing Side Bend Stretch

• Stand with your right side toward a wall.
• Cross the right ankle over the left and side bend toward the wall, fanning the left ribcage. Place one hand on the wall to help stabilize you.
• Hold for twenty to thirty seconds and switch sides.

This stretch will help to lengthen the whole side body which will translate into more freedom in the lower back and hips.

Exercise: Chair Twist

You’ll need a chair with a back for this one.

• Sit on the chair with the right side of your body facing the chair back.
• Your hips and shoulders should be square to the front. Keep them there!
• Keep the hips square to the front and rotate the ribs so that the shoulders and eyes move to the point that they’re facing the chair back. Again, keep those hips in their original position: don’t let them move.
• Use your hands on either side of the chair back to stabilize the rotation.
• Make sure the hips, knees, and feet have not shifted as the ribs rotate.
• Hold for twenty to thirty seconds on each side.

This stretch is great for mobilizing the spine and increasing flexibility which takes stress away from the hips and lower back. This creates openness and freedom in these areas.

Exercise: Sitting Pigeon

• Sit on a chair facing front.
• Cross the right ankle over the left knee, making sure the ankle joint is situated past (to the left of) the leg.
• Flex the right foot. (Bend your toes up toward your shin.)
• Sit up tall with the sternum over the pubic bone.
• Apply a bit of gentle downward pressure on the inside of the right knee.
• If you want to go deeper, start to hinge from the hips while keeping the back flat.
• Either hold the torso in this flat back hinge or round the back over the leg, whichever is most comfortable and gives you the best stretch.
• Keep the weight equal on each sitting bone. Don’t let the body rock to one side.
• Hold this for twenty to thirty seconds and then switch sides.

We hope you found these tips and exercises helpful! Let us know your thoughts below!

Leave A Reply (No comments So Far)

Please - comments only. All Pilates questions should be asked in the Forum. All support questions should be asked at Support.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

No comments yet.