Here at Body Sense Physiotherapy we promote physical activity and exercise as medicine. Physical exercise produces many benefits for people suffering from chronic pain, which includes overall better health and wellbeing, greater pain tolerance, elevated mood, improved joint mobility and muscle flexibility.

Pilates for Pain at Body Sense Physiotherapy helps you to understand your own body better, how to move smarter and how to do the exercises at a level that you are challenged, grow stronger and become more flexible. Your physiotherapist will be able to guide you in knowing how much pain is ok to exercise with, and how you can modify the exercises to suit your body and your pain.

Why is Pilates among the most popular exercise programs for chronic pain patients?
Pilates combines strength training with endurance and flexibility exercises. It involves you to become aware of not only muscle strengthening but also your ability to relax muscles and use breathing to enhance your movement. This low-impact exercise program is therefore beneficial for strengthening muscles, improving posture and flexibility.

Finding the right exercise for you and for your condition. It is crucial to find a form of exercise that minimizes health risks while producing the most benefits. Pilates has proven beneficial for many chronic pain conditions, including

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Hip pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis

The Benefits of Pilates for Chronic Pain

If you suffer from a chronic pain condition like lower back pain or joint pain, you might consider Pilates as an exercise option to start with.

  • Reduces pain physical activity is known to stimulate the production of our body’s natural pain killers called endorphins. Endorphins interact with your brain in the same way that opioids do. They attach to opiate receptors which block pain impulses. Pilates is powerful in the fact that it works muscles across your whole body and will help to enhance the release of your body’s natural pain killers
  • Elevates your mood chronic pain often produces secondary emotional conditions like stress and depression that worsen pain symptoms. Endorphins produced during physical exercise also provide stress relief and enhanced mood.
  • It relaxes your muscles muscle tension can be so intense, that it can generate pain symptoms of its own. Pilates helps to minimise this by using controlled relaxed breathing combined with gentle controlled stretching to help relax the tense muscles and improve general circulation. Working your muscles in a positive manner helps to warm up the surrounding tissues and relax the muscles.
  • It improves joint mobility and muscle flexibility moving your joints through different ranges helps you to gain more mobility. Feeling more flexible helps you to be able to do more, have greater confidence and independence.
  • It improves your posture much of Pilates involves awareness of positioning of your body which gives you greater awareness of your body in space.
  • It offers low impact exercise many Pilates exercises can be performed while sitting or lying on the floor which means there is minimal impact on your joints.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pilates is a total body exercise that started about 100 years ago. The main purpose of this exercise was rehabilitation. Pilates is a low-impact exercise. It helps you to focus on strengthening muscles, improving posture and flexibility. Pilates offers many benefits no matter your fitness background.

Pilates as a physical activity uses a mind to body connection. It focuses on breathing with good movement control and flow. Both mat-work and reformer Pilates exercise classes are popular for this reason. They are both very effective for recovery from injury and as a general exercise for good health. So the question then is: “Which is the best option for me and my abilities – mat or equipment Pilates? Let us look at the two types of Pilates to take the guesswork out of choosing.

Before getting started, we recommend a 45-minute screening assessment by your physiotherapist. During this session, you have the opportunity to share your goals and ask any questions. Your physiotherapist will explain what to expect during the class. You will get the opportunity to go through the basic exercises that are part of the class. This will help you to enter the class feeling confident and prepared.

Both Mat and Equipment Pilates work on the concept of muscle control against gravity. It does not work to exhaustion where you lose control of how you are moving.

Mat-work classes teach you how to use the resistance of your own bodyweight. There are many exercise variations. There is also the ability to use small equipment such as weights, bands, and Pilates balls. The equipment has the ability to complement, change or challenge the movements performed.

Equipment pilates involves the use of many different pieces of equipment. To name a few – Reformers, Cadillac tables, Wunda chairs, ladder barrels, and so forth. The reformer machine has a carriage that slides forward and backward. Pulleys and springs underneath the carriage create resistance and challenge the body movements.

In both types of Pilates, the goal is to build strength with control. We encourage you to take your time with each exercise, focus on the task at hand and connect to your breath.

If you are a newbie, mat Pilates is an excellent starting point. Mat work is a great option for beginners. You learn how to control your muscles during exercises. Once you are confident with the exercises, you can do them almost anywhere!

As your control develops, reformer classes are an excellent progression. Equipment can be daunting; it is advisable to take part in a few one on one sessions. This would help to improve your confidence using the machine. The tailored feedback from the instructor is useful to help you get the most from your classes.

Pilates exercises are not considered to be high intensity. The slow and controlled nature of the movements challenges muscles all over your body. Even the muscles that usually don’t get much attention!

You may feel your muscles burn during the class (this tells you that you’re working hard). You might even experience some muscle soreness the following day. As you become more familiar with the movements, the soreness after exercise will ease.

Open communication with your physiotherapist is essential. It would be best to remain comfortable throughout the workout(even when you are working hard!). It also helps the instructor to know when your exercise needs a modification to suit your needs.

To find out more about our classes and availability of space please call 08 6401 3346 or email us at frontdesk@bodysensephysio.com.au.


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Please do not attend the clinic, if you are planning or have booked an appointment at Body Sense Physiotherapy and:

Please contact us by phone to allow us to assist with alternative appointment options. Body Sense Physiotherapy follows WA Health Department COVID-19 guidelines and these are subject to change.