Pilates is a great form of exercise to help with chronic pain. It focuses on controlled movements and incorporates stability of the pelvis, core strength, balance, strength, and flexibility. It also focuses on posture, which is vital in relieving chronic pain. The overall strengthening of the body's muscular support system can reduce the pressure on the back, knees, and other joints. This can lead to a reduction in pain levels. Other benefits of Pilates for chronic pain is that the exercises are low impact and can be adjusted to fit the abilities of an individual's body. The mind-body connection helps to shift the focus away from painful areas and into the body as a whole. Many of the exercises can be done in reclining or sitting positions that are more comfortable for chronic pain sufferers. Also, many of the exercises are partial weight bearing and can be supported by using different spring tensions to help facilitate the movement. Breathing is also a key element o Pilates. The focus on deep breathing can help calm the nervous system and reduce the levels of stress that can accompany chronic pain. Here is a list of benefits that Pilates has for managing chronic pain:
Improves joint mobility
Reduces muscle stiffness
Increases control over pain
Helps with injury recovery
Reduces the risk of future injury
Helps attain better posture
Improves overall sense of well-being
Boosts brain power
Pilates can help with a variety of chronic pain conditions. A few examples are listed below:
Arthritis: Pilates is often recommended by doctors due to the gentle, low-impact movements and the reduction of pressure on the joints. It is a great way to get a workout without the intensity level that can be intimidating for people coping with arthritis.
Chronic back pain: Pilates works on stabilizing the lumbar-pelvic region and can help to reduce chronic back pain by providing the necessary strength to support the back.
Fibromyalgia: The breathing techniques in Pilates exercises help to reduce muscle tension and increase the circulation of oxygen in the bloodstream. The connection of the mind and body in Pilates can help overcome the disconnect that can be associated with fibromyalgia due to the increased pain sensations that affect the brain.
Some helpful suggestions for doing Pilates with chronic pain:
Always listen to your body. A low amount of repetitions with proper form and control are key to Pilates exercises.
Exercise when your body feels ready - if you are having a pain flare up, take the time to rest and recover.
Pilates can be a great way to fight fatigue. Try to get your workout in the morning if possible to increase energy levels.
Being consistent is important to gain strength and improve health.
Consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.