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Yoga and Pilates to Treat Low Back Pain

Thirty-one million people suffer from low back pain at any given time. And what’s more, one-half of working Americans admit having back pain symptoms each year. What’s to be done?

The Significant Benefits of Therapeutic Exercise

There are many interventions for low back pain, but most have modest efficacy. And when back pain becomes chronic, even fewer interventions have proven beneficial. There is, however, one intervention shown to make the biggest impact: therapeutic exercise. Dr. Stilp, along with two other professionals, authored a paper outlining therapeutic exercise’s “significant benefits for managing patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP).”

Yoga and Pilates and their Evolution Into Treating Lower Back Pain

Yoga as Treatment

Yoga has already been known to improve flexibility, strength, balance, and agility. But for those suffering from low back pain (LBP), yoga “appears to address imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, affecting spinal alignment and posture.” Yoga lengthens tightened muscles and strengthens underutilized or weak core muscles, all factors in alleviating low back pain.

Pilates as Treatment

Core weaknesses underlie many issues with LBP. And its not just about doing more sit-ups. It’s about being able to use your core effectively. Pilates helps those suffering with LBP “because it improves absolute core strength and moreover encourages proper activation patterns of core musculature.” Essentially, pilates teaches you how to use your core correctly. Neuromuscular control and spinal stability are crucial to alleviating or preventing LBP.

The Mental Components of Yoga and Pilates

Both yoga and pilates utilize breathing and concentration to relax muscles, reduce stress, and improve mood and well-being. Therapeutic treatments are not just physically beneficial for alleviating back pain, they are mentally beneficial as well.

Read the whole paper on “Yoga and pilates in the management of low back pain” authored by Dr. Stilp.

Dr. Sonja Stilp delivers innovative, individualized physical medicine and rehabilitation services in non-surgical spine and sports medicine. If you’re suffering from low back pain, schedule an appointment to meet with her. 


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