Why Am I (Still) In Pain? And what can Pilates really do?

This is a question we are so often asked as Pilates teachers. Many people come to Pilates looking for a solution to long term pain- sometimes even unrealistically promised that Pilates will solve their pain. 

I say unrealistic as we can’t promise to even reduce pain as pain is complicated, no-one fully understands how pain works, pain is different for everyone and is multifactorial.

If we consider that about 90% of low back pain is non-specific, meaning that the pain experience can’t be accounted for by tissue damage, pathology or disease, then the search for something being “broken” or “misaligned” in the body and then fixing it by doing the Shoulder Bridge in a certain way, just does not work.

The more we try to understand pain, the more we realise pain is complex, often misunderstood and completely individual.

So as Pilates teachers what can we do to help people with long term persistent pain?

Be honest and don’t make promises you can’t keep!

Instead of trying to analyse and assess physical ability, look to create positive movement experiences by:

  • Creating a safe and calm environment
  • Encourage confidence and belief in their ability to do exercises
  • Know their favourite, feel good exercises and do them A LOT!
  • Bring fun and enjoyment to the sessions
  • Build up over time, knowing there may be bad days as well as good days.

If you are interested in delving deeper into the types of pain, nociception, fear-avoidance and other aspects of pain science and how Pilates can practically help those in pain, please join me for the Pilates for Pain Management online workshop on 10th November 2023. For more information click here.

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