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Pilates for Back Pain

There’s nothing fun about back pain.  Trying to find its root cause can be equally frustrating.

We’ve all heard strengthening the core is key, but that takes time.  When you’re seeking more immediate relief, there are simple stretches that help relieve the tension that builds in the lower back.

I. Legs Up A Wall

Note:  You may be unable to straighten your legs completely if your hamstrings are tight – that’s perfectly OK.

  • Sit facing a wall and scoot your rear as close to it as possible
  • Lie back on the floor and stretch your legs up the wall

The goal is to let the muscles of your legs and hips relax completely and to let the weight of the leg drop into the hip socket.  This will allow the muscles of the lower back to release.  Don’t stay in this position too long without taking breaks or bending and stretching the knees every couple of minutes because your legs run the risk of falling asleep!

II. Child’s Pose

Note:  If you have knee issues, you should avoid child’s pose; however, if not, this is a very relaxing position that gives muscles in the back a break.


  • Come onto your hands and knees on an exercise mat or carpeted floor.
  • Sit back onto your heels letting your upper body relax on your thighs (it may not be possible to sit back completely.  If this is the case, you might have tight glutes.  Just seat yourself on a yoga block or prop up on a blanket)
  • Your arms can be straight out in front of you or by your sides, and your forehead rests gently on the mat.
  • Once you are comfortable, concentrate on your breath.  With each exhale imagine your muscles releasing and the tension melting away.

    III. Lunges

    Note: This is a more active stretch.  Lunges help release the muscles at the front of the hip.  Tight hip flexors can cause the pelvis to tilt anteriorly exaggerating the curve of the lumbar spine.


    • Start with a narrow stance and take a large step forward with the right foot.
    • Keep the back leg straight and reach the left heel towards the floor.
    • Bend the front knee so that it is directly over the ankle.
    • Gently reach the front of the left hip forward, keeping the pelvis square until you feel the stretch.
    • At the same time, reach long with your back leg gently pressing your heel toward the floor.

    Hold this for 30 to 60 seconds on each side and then alternate lunges at a faster rate coming back to a neutral standing position in-between each rep.

    To prevent future pain, strengthening your core can help and of course, acupuncture works miracles!

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