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Pt 1 of 2 examining the potential benefits of Pilates in managing Lower back pain

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Lower back pain and pilates Part 1

Low back pain is a common problem associated with significant negative effects, physically, emotionally, and socially. The majority of low back pain (LBP) cases are diagnosed as non-specific low back pain, meaning there is no known cause for the pain. Acute non-specific low back pain (ANSLBP) is defined as pain lasting less than 4 weeks duration, while chronic non-specific low back pain (CNSLBP) refers to pain persisting for longer than three months duration.

There are a range of evidence based therapeutic interventions designed for the management of low back pain. Among these, exercise therapy has continuously been associated with positive outcomes for those suffering from this condition. Exercise therapy may be provided as a single treatment, although in most cases exercise is recommended as part of a more comprehensive multi-modal rehabilitation plan.  

Pilates, a ‘core’ based strengthening form of exercise, is an increasingly common exercise regime, recommended for those with LBP.  The original concept of pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s and was traditionally recognised as a comprehensive mind–body conditioning method, with the main goals of efficient movements, core stability and enhanced performance. More recently, it has been adapted, modified and simplified to specifically target the issue of lower back pain. The goal of pilates training for LBP is to improve general body flexibility and movement, core strength and posture, using breathing techniques to facilitate muscle activation.


LBP is often linked to weakness of the stabilising muscles of the spine, pelvis, and trunk, such as the transversus abdominis (TA), multifidus (MF), diaphragm and pelvic floor. The main focus of therapeutic based pilates training is to assist in strengthening these muscles and hence, increase the support around the lower back, minimize pain and improve function.


A key component of any low back pain rehabilitation program is promoting everyday functional movements and mobility. Pain is associated with fear of movement and can lead to limited activity (e.g. walking, bending, and sitting). These protective habits can result in muscles becoming taut and tight and joints become stiff, thus leading to a vicious cycle of pain. Pilates encourages mobility of the spine, hips, pelvis, and shoulders. This facilitates normal patterns of movement, which promotes improved function and a decrease in pain.

To be Continued…next week


 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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