There are hundreds of different reasons why people have back pain and it is impossible to prescribe a remedial exercise programme without a proper diagnosis. I cannot stress enough that you must seek medical advice before you embark on any exercise regime. Having said that, the majority of back problems are caused by poor posture, muscle imbalances and misuse resulting in faulty movement patterns. Pilates exercises are perfect for these cases.
In a healthy back, all the different segments of the spine work together to create the desired movement, each vertebrae contributing to that movement – a bit like a bicycle chain. When one level is locked, the movement of the chain is upset. What often happens is that the levels above and below the locked area become over-flexible to compensate for the area that will not move – you can be hypomobile (not enough movement) and hypermobile (too much movement) above and/or below. This puts an enormous strain on the back.
Many Pilates exercises work towards this goal of promoting flexibility and stability, exercises such as the Pelvic Curl in this week’s video encourages this segmental control.