Pain in your lower back? Pilates can help.
Many of us have experienced pain the lower back at some time. I remember, when my kids were little, it was lifting the heavy pram in and out of the car, which would trigger pain.
I have some simple exercises you can do to release your lower back and keep it moving. Also, strengthening your abdominals and low back muscles can help prevent injury and look after your back. It is important to check with your physio and doctor if you are not sure about these exercises.
I guess the main thing to remember is that Pilates should make your back feel better, not worse. So listen to your body, and don’t move into any pain.
- Firstly, come onto your hands and knees. Align yourself well. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. A little softness in your elbows.Curl your tail under and lift your abdominals, creating a rounded spine. Breathe out.Look forward and reach your tail out. Open up the front of your chest and spiral your arms outwards. Breathe in. – Only go as far as feels good. Just repeat this movement, making a wave and smoothness of movement through your spine.
- Gently come over onto your back. Have your feet on the ground and your knees bent. Glue your knees together and your feet together.Take your knees over to one side, breathing in. Keep your feet stacked and the knees in line or together. Think of using your side tummy to bring the knees back to centre. See if you can keep your shoulders on the ground. Feel a nice stretch in your lower back.
- Lift one knee over the hip. Keep your chin level with the ground. Feel your thigh bone sink back and down in the hip socket. Lightly pop your foot back down on the ground. Keep your pelvis level and stable. Deepen through the abdominals as you arc your thigh away from you to put the foot down. Try 8 on each side. Lift one knee up to 90 /90 and then the other. Arc one leg away from you, being careful not to arch the lower back, and then bring the knee back over the hip. Alternate from side to side. Draw the belly in as the thigh dips away and breathe out.
- Press your lower back gently into the ground, then release. Continue tilting your pelvis forward and back. Make the movement as smooth as you can. Breathing out as the pelvis comes towards your ribs and in as you reach away. If all is going well there, tilt your pelvis towards your ribs and then lift your spine up off the floor until you are resting between your shoulders. Reach your knees over your toes, breath in, then roll your spine back down onto the floor. The trick is to articulate your spine, laying each vertebra down with a feeling of length. Try to do about 6.
- Hug one knee to the chest and lengthen the other leg away from you. Feel an openness at the front of the hip. Just stay there for a little while, resting and taking some nice deep breaths. Then swap sides.
Roll to one side and press your hand into ground to get back up.
I hope these gentle exercises help you regain some movement through your back and leave you feeling wonderful!