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Concluding part on the benefits of Pilates and managing lower back pain

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Lower back pain and pilates Part 2



Hamstring tightness and decreased low back flexibility have been highlighted as risk factors for low back pain. Pilates exercises encourage a combination of static and dynamic stretching, pushing the muscles to an end of range of tightness rather than discomfort. The response of contractile tissues to stretch is improved muscle length, which allows a more efficient pattern of movement and reduces stress on stiff muscles and joints.

What does Pilates entail?

Pilates exercises are primarily floor based. Some exercises are also performed in standing, which have the added advantage of training balance and proprioception (the body’s ability to sense joint position). Resistance equipment such as fitness circles or therabands are commonly incorporated with the exercise to provide more of a challenge to the core muscles.


The key principles of Pilates include:

  • Centering - this movement encourages drawing the navel to the spine and involves co-contraction of all the abdominal and buttock muscles and tilting of the pelvis in a posterior direction.
  • Control - managing posture and movement during the exercise.
  • Concentration – attention required to perform the exercise.
  • Breathing – co-ordination of inhaling and exhaling throughout the movement for increased contraction of the stabilising spinal muscles.

Who can do it?

Pilates is suitable for men, women, sports people, and teenagers. It is recommended for those with back pain, but also for those are who are in sustained positions for long periods of time – such as standing, sitting, and bending. Pilates can also be undertaken as a pre-emptive strength and conditioning program and has the added benefits of toning the abdominal, buttocks and legs. For those with low back pain, an initial screening with a Chartered Physiotherapist is recommended before commencing Pilates.


Sustained poor postures such as slumping on a couch or bending over a computer can place a considerable stretching force on the joints of the spine, resulting in aches and pain around the back. Often, learning how to correct poor posture can alleviate this type of pain. Pilates focuses on how the body is positioned and controlled and encourages ‘good’ postures and activity tolerance. This can help alleviate stress on the spine, thus having a positive impact on pain.

1st Contact Physio

 1st Contact Physio with Chartered Physiotherapist, Kevin D’Arcy. MISCP. Located in the private consultation suite, upstairs at Whelehans Pharmacy, 38 Pearse St, Mullingar

1st Contact Physio services include sports injuries, spinal injuries, back pain management, neck, and shoulder pain, post operative physiotherapy, sports rehabilitation, orthotics, and sports massage.


Physiotherapy is €60 for initial session and €50 for follow up sessions, Kevin offers reduced physiotherapy rates for Medical Card holders, children, and sports clubs. Book your appointment on the Whelehans website or Call Kevin on 0873813473 or Email

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