Telephone: 01788 560646
69 Albert Street, Rugby,
Warwickshire, CV21 2SN.
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Saturday October 5, 2019 at 12:31pm

I regularly recommend either Pilates or yoga to my back-pain patients for both prevention and management of back pain. Although Pilates and yoga have become incredibly popular over the years, their benefits on back pain and injury treatment/prevention are not as well-known publicly. In this post I will talk about the benefits of these disciplines and their similarities and differences.


Pilates is based upon the idea that the health of the body is dependent on it being thought of as a total package: abdominal strength, stability, balanced muscles and good posture. The benefits of Pilates are shown below:

  • CORE STRENGTH This is the foundation that Pilates was originally built upon. The core muscles are an important muscular group that aid stability of the spine and a well-balanced posture. The core muscles include the muscles of the lower back, abdominals, pelvic floor muscles and the gluteal (buttock) muscles. Strength, stability and flexibility of these muscular structures can both prevent and relieve back pain as the trunk is stabilized and the spine and associated joint structures are allowed to move efficiently and freely.
  • FLEXIBILITY Pilates incorporates the use of aids such as, resistance bands and reformers (a frame with a moveable carriage). These can be beneficial in encouraging flexibility in the spine and hips, which can reduce pressure on spinal joints and encourage good muscular mobility.
  • CLINICAL CONSIDERATIONS There are several conditions of the lower back that can cause particular areas of muscular weakness. For example, spinal disc injuries can lead to weakness of the gluteal muscles and abdominal muscles. Once a patient is headed towards the end-stage of recovery, I will slowly introduce Pilates techniques to promote muscular balance and good postural alignment.


In similarity to Pilates, yoga promotes strength of the core muscles in order to create a strong and neutral spinal posture. In slight comparison, certain yoga poses can be more extreme with regard to encouragement of flexibility. Additionally, many aspects of yoga focus on breathing techniques. The benefits of yoga are shown below: ·

Osteopath recommends yoga for preventing and treating back painFLEXIBILITY Yoga involves many poses that are extreme forms of flexion and extension (forward and backward bending) at the spine and hips. These poses, when held for sufficient time, can encourage good joint and muscle mobility. With persistence, many people will be able to touch their toes for the first time! This flexibility, when maintained, can help to prevent the occurrence of back pain. ·

RELIEF OF STRESS/TENSION Yoga involves a wide variety of specific relaxation and breathing techniques, which can be beneficial for relieving tension. It is well known that stress and tension can negatively affect back pain recovery and can also be one of many predisposing factors of back pain. ·

CLINICAL CONSIDERATIONS Due to the nature of some yoga poses, I would not recommend yoga for acute back pain or a spinal disc issue. However, due to the all-round flexibility benefits, I recommend yoga to patients with “mechanical back pain”, aka, irritation and restricted movement of the spinal joints and muscles.


Whether you decide to try Pilates or yoga, I advise that you look for a recommended class/instructor. At The Rugby Osteopathic Centre, we can provide recommendations in the local area. We can also recommend whether pilates and/or yoga would be better for you.




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Rugby Osteopathic Centre, 69 Albert Street, Rugby
Warwickshire, CV21 2SN, Tel: 01788 560646, Fax:01788 571318