Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal condition affecting the adult population, with a prevalence of up to 84% in the world.
The complexity involved in treating LBP symptoms is that they come from many potential anatomic sources. These can include nerve roots, muscles, fascial structures, bones, joints, interverterbral discs (IVDs) and organs within the abdominal cavity. It can also be caused by neurological pain processes from the brain. To add to this, low back pain can also be triggered or exacerbated in the presence of other psychological factors such as stress, depression and/or anxiety.
Low back pain can be categorised into time frames and are treated accordingly. They are of the of the following:
- Acute: 1-4 weeks
- Subacute: 4-12 weeks
- Chronic: > 12 weeks
- Recurrent episodic
There are many treatment options for low back pain – from rest, medications, massage therapy to exercise prescription – i.e. McKenzie’s extension exercises. Another alternate treatment is clinical pilates. This form of exercise is commonly prescribed to people with chronic low back pain (> 12 weeks). It places emphasis on core stability, strength, flexibility, control of movement, posture and breathing. Pilates often includes the use of specialised exercise equipment with spring resistance, such as a reformer or a trapeze table.
A review by Wells et al. 2014 (The Effectiveness of Pilates Exercise in People with
Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review) collated the results of studies looking at the effects of pilates interventions on people with chronic low back pain, whilst comparing it to normal massage and standard physiotherapy and exercise interventions. The studies that were included in this review were mostly completed in 30 to 60 minute sessions, 1-3 times per week over 4-15 weeks.
This review found that participants in the pilates exercise groups resulted in significant improvements in pain and functional ability in the short term compared to usual care in people with chronic low back pain.
If you’re suffering from low back pain, book yourself in to see one of Stay Tuned practitioners today to assess whether you are an appropriate candidate for one of our amazing clinical pilates classes!