Pilates not a back pain super-fix

Pilates not a back pain super-fix

Pilates has become one of the most trendy exercises of our day, especially for attempting to heal back pain, but new research by the George Institute for Global Health has found it is not the super-fix that some believe.

Director of the Institute’s Musculoskeletal Division Professor Chris Maher said the popular pastime did have some benefit, but it was no more effective than many other exercises when it came to lower back pain.

“Non-specific low back pain is a major health problem world-wide and is the leading cause of ill health in Australia,” Prof Maher said.

“Everyone is looking for the solution, but what these results show is that there is no quick and easy, one-size-fits-all approach.

“Many people have turned to Pilates, but we have found that it is no more effective than other forms of exercise.”

Lead author Tie Parma Yamato said the research looked at more than 500 people and compared Pilates with minimal activity as well as more substantial exercise.

“People in the study used Pilates for anywhere between 10 and 90 days, with a follow-up period up to six months long,” Ms Yamato said.

“There was some benefit when compared to low levels of activity, but no more than other forms of exercise.”

Professor Maher said the results would come as a surprise to many people.

“Going to Pilates is a common recommendation, even from clinicians, and it’s easy to get caught up in the attention,” Prof Maher said

“Exercise is an important element in the recovery from back pain, but it will be different for everyone and that’s the important message.

“Some exercises will actually be more effective, but each case can be different.

“The best thing is to seek advice from your doctor or physiotherapist and find the exercise or activity that works best for you.”