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March 12 2013


A guide to pilates

Pilates can be as beneficial as frequent exercise for lower back pain

Pilates was noted to be as effective for lessening general back irritation as a frequent exercise routine, research has found.

Lower back pain affects a great deal of people and in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Health, United States 2006" report, lower back ache was amongst the more frequent pain-related problem. But as the authors in this investigation reported, there is argument regarding which is more beneficial for pain relief: broad exercise or specific, individually prescribed workouts.

Australian investigators randomly assigned 44 people to a Pilates regimen and 43 people to a broad fitness routine for six weeks. All ranged in age from 18 to 70 and had suffered serious general back pain for no less than three months. Overall the research participants were a little overweight, had a long history of back ache and about a third were taking medicine for their problem.

Both fitness sessions were held twice a week for an hour, and lasted six weeks. Both were supervised, but the Pilates group got individualized instruction based on their requirements that involved exercises on the reformer and trapeze equipment and emphasized exercise movement precision, breathing control, trunk stability and posture alignment.


The regular exercise subjects were given all-purpose routines that included cardiovascular exercise, stretching, strength training and body toning and resistance. Participants in both sets were also given exercises to do on their own at home.

They received questionnaires at six, 12 and 24 weeks that pertained to pain and function and general health-related quality of life.

After six weeks both groups presented considerable advancement in pain and disability compared with the start of the investigation, although the Pilates subjects had a small advantage over the broad exercise group.

At the start of the pilates classes the authors thought the Pilates subjects may see more progression than the normal health group. The indifferent outcome, they state, could be due to the fact that some people with lower back irritation might respond better to Pilates exercises than some subjects, but the subjects were very alike to notice differences. Also, as both fitness routines had back workouts they might have been too much alike.

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