Highly regarded as an effective treatment/exercise technique, Pilates has been taught by Physiotherapists for years to help patients alleviate backache.

There has been much scepticism and an article that was published in The Times newspaper entitled ‘The Core Stability Myth’ – An article that was widely criticised as being inaccurate and misinformed – was no doubt contributory to shaping public opinion.

The article suggested that the quest of a strong core through Pilates is not only unhelpful for people with backache, but it can actually make it worse! – an opinion that many Physiotherapists including Glenn Withers (Director of The APPI – Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute) and myself, Claire Yuill (Physiotherapist and Pilates teacher of 12 years) at The Westminster Physiotherapy & Pilates Centre (WPPC) have strongly disagreed with having helped hundreds of patients over the years using the Pilates technique.

On closer inspection the core exercises that the Journalist (Peta Bee) described aren’t actually Pilates at all, giving a very misguided argument.  In Pilates the deep lower abdominals are engaged with the pelvic floor to increase spinal stability (as scientific research shows), while continuing to breathe.  However, the article talks about the more general sucking the stomach in (abdominal bracing using rectus abdominis – the 6 pack muscle) which drops the pelvic floor and can cause the exerciser to hold their breath (a technique that does not help to support the back).

Physiotherapists at WPPC have completed additional training by the APPI, to expertly teach each individual patient a tailored Pilates program, that can be incorporated within their regular Physiotherapy treatments.   The many benefits of Pilates can include:

–          Improved posture and body alignment

–          Decreased stresses and strains on joints

–          Increased flexibility and mobility

–          And, most importantly…. A decrease in backache!

By Claire Yuill