Two Reasons Pilates May be the Ideal Tool to Treat Your Neck or Back Pain

Back, shoulder and neck pain due to poor posture are extremely common right now with work from home situations being the norm.

Pilates-based exercise can help immensely in the treatment of these postural issues.

Read on for two reasons Pilates reformer exercises can be key to improving body awareness and treating posture-related pain.

1. Our scapulae (shoulder blades) are the core muscles for our shoulders and neck

Poorly controlled scapulae can lead to shoulder pain and a tendency to over use other muscles around the neck and shoulders. With working from home set-ups being less than ideal, we are seeing that many of our clients have developed or exacerbated already poor postures and further weakened the core muscles in their neck and shoulders.

Pilates allows us to work on full body stability, while focusing on building our scapular strength through practical exercises that utilize our scapulae in all the planes of movement, similar to how we move in our daily lives.

On the reformer (one of the key pieces of Pilates equipment we use at Alaia) we can also vary functional postures, such as kneeling, standing and lunge positions, in addition to altering resistance and base of support to further challenge and replicate the movements we do in real life. All this allows for the session to translate to moving better in our daily lives – which is always the ultimate goal.

2. Neutral pelvis to achieve better alignment and stability

Our optimal spinal alignment should allow for a natural curve to exist within our low back.

This position has many benefits, including improved spacing between the vertebrae and decreasing stress on the surrounding muscles and joints. Unfortunately, due to slumped sitting postures and working from home, we tend to avoid this neutral pelvis and instead develop a shortening of muscles, particularly in the hips. As a result of this tightness and reduced pelvic awareness, the back becomes stiff and our core musculature weakens, leading to postural pain.

The Pilates reformer allows us to teach and target this neutral pelvic alignment, while completing dynamic exercises to strengthen the musculature while maintaining this alignment.

Research shows that exercising in neutral pelvic alignment allows for optimal strengthening of the pelvic floor and stability muscles, which are all key in preventing secondary muscles from taking over and causing additional postural imbalances.

Due to poor posture complications, each of us will present slightly different in regards to pelvic and scapula range.

Wondering if Pilates may be the right treatment tool to help with your neck or back pain? An initial Clinical Pilates assessment with one of our Pilates-trained physiotherapists can determine a treatment plan tailored specifically to your postural deficits and issues.

In the words of Joseph Pilates:  “You are only as old as your spine!”