Reduce Back Pain – with Yoga and Pilates

Reduce Back Pain – with Yoga and Pilates


It is hoped that it is understood that  the title to this post is somewhat general.  Anyone who has suffered, or is indeed suffering, will understand that any article to reduce back pain with Yoga and Pilates, is bound to touch on stopping it and preventing it.

It is not surprising that some eight out of ten adults suffer from some form of back pain.  In the majority of cases this is caused by poor posture, and the stress which is placed on our bodies every day.

Usually originating from the joints, muscles and vertebrae of the back, it is the result of aching, stiffness, tension or pain in these areas.

It is a known fact that Doctors and specialists recommend regular exercise and stretching to reduce back pain.

Many who suffer from back pain do exercises without consulting either a Doctor or a therapist, instead of relieving the problem, this can lead to making matters worse.  However mild the pain, you should always seek advice, as to which exercises you should undertake before doing any.

Yoga and Pilates To Reduce Back Pain

A common mistake made by those who suffer from back pain, is by staying in bed, or resting too long when the suffering begins.  This can hinder not help treatment.  Back pain relief is more effective when the sufferer remains active, as this not only soothes, but strengthens the muscles, this can not only reduce, but prevent future occurrences.

Stretching and resistance exercises which are recommended to aid back pain relief are used by both Yoga and Pilates.

Pilates – How Exercises Help

Using Pilates exercises can correct not only bad posture, but also relieve tight muscles. When  Joseph Pilates originally created the exercises it was to help in the rehabilitation of injured athletes.  These exercises are designed to help in the recovery from strain and injury to the back.

They  have been proved to not only reduce aching, but to stop back pain permanently, when regular exercise is undertaken.

It is important however, that the right exercises are chosen, the idea being that not only are the muscles strengthened, but that by stretching out the tensions, any future muscle stress is prevented.

Some of the specific benefits Pilates offers:

  • Your abs, or core muscles are strengthened
  • Shows you how to improve the alignment of your spine.
  • Makes you aware of your posture, by reducing the slouching habit.
  • Aids and improves your flexibility.

Yoga – How These Exercises Can Help

Whilst back pain, especially lower back pain, will affect the majority of people, it is often linked with a number of other conditions, including depression, arthritis and sciatica.  This affects our lives in general, including work, leisure time, sport and probably more importantly, time with our families

Here are three suggestions to relieve and stop back pain using Yoga.

  1. Be very careful that you do not sit for too long.

When you do sit try to be more upright, do not slouch or lounge in your chair.  When working at or on the computer sit upright with your back supported if need be.

Our bodies are not designed for us to sit about all day,  in fact researchers say that we should spend at least two hours standing daily.  If you do have to sit for long periods, either have a break and move about, or try one of two yoga poses, the tree pose or the chair pose. The body does need movement, try to do a little yoga when you are alone, it does not have to be a full blown workout.

As they say every little helps, as sitting badly encourages bad habits, in addition to back pain, this can lead to poor circulation, fatigue and poor digestion.

  1. Improve your Core Strength

When we talk about  improving your core strength, we do not mean just the abs, but the spinal muscles that keep you upright not forgetting the lower back muscles.

If you improve your posture more each day and by simple yoga practice gently work on your core, your core will slowly be strengthened.  Holding your head more erect also helps.

Something that I do when I am sat the computer for a while, is to rotate the neck several times in each direction, I can often feel the muscles cracking when I do so.  Make sure that you are sat upright and that the head is also held upright.  Not saying that this is either Pilates or Yoga, just something that I do, that works.  If desired you can even move the head backwards and forwards a few times.

3.     Do a Yoga Practice that is well balanced

To improve the health of your spine it is important that your yoga practice embraces all of the six movements of the spine.  These include back banding and forward folding, as in the Cat/Cow pose.  When doing both spinal twists and side bending do them to both the left and the right.

In addition to these poses, a balanced practice regime as we get older  helps us to maintain our mobility and vitality.

As well as the suggested poses, breathing techniques and meditation, play a role in the management of pain.

If by practising yoga, the pain in your back increases, please seek specialist medical help.


To prevent getting back pain in the first place there are several things that you can do, some of which are also helpful in reducing the severity of back pain. If you keep your back strong and supple by doing the following:

  • Take regular exercise, such as going for a good brisk walk, or swimming.
  • Reduce stress levels to a minimum.
  • When you lift or carry, do so properly, by bending at the knees do not just reach forward to lift.
  • Always ensure that you maintain a good posture.
  • Do exercises designed to reduce, stop or control back pain.

Back pain is mainly caused by a number of factors, these include:

  • When bending doing so awkwardly.
  • Injuries caused by sporting activities.
  • Carrying items which are too heavy.
  • Muscles being over stretched or strained.
  • Carrying too much body weight, so you need to diet.
  • When driving, doing so for long periods, without a break, to ease your muscles.

As can be seen by these few notes this is a complex subject, there are a number of poses, postures or exercises in both Yoga and Pilates which can help, there is not enough space here to be even begin to explain them.

This article is for information purposes only, any medical or practical advice needed must be sought from those qualified to give it.

To a back pain free future.


4 Comments for “Reduce Back Pain – with Yoga and Pilates”
  1. Stuart,
    I work from home and sit way too much. I have set up a workstation that requires me to stand to get to the computer. I have a timer set up to make sure I get up and around, not to sit too long.
    The Pilates are something I could work into my schedule, should I do them before working or after I have sit for a while.

    1. Hi John,
      What a good question, whilst i am not qualified as an expert, first of all the standing bit is good, but do stand upright to maintain a good posture, it does not hurt to do a gentle warm up before working, and do have a break from sitting, either walk round the room or do some exercises. Will try to find one of the sites that i use and send you the details, if that is OK. I do my neck exercises about every hour whilst sat at the computer.

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