Pilates for Back Pain?

Laughs aside, is pilates good if you suffer from back pain?

Yes and no… it all depends on if the exercises and movements you perform are strengthening the areas where you are weak and stretching the areas where you are tight…

Because if not, it can makes things worse for you. In order to know which areas you need to stretch and which you need to strengthen, you need to identify your muscle imbalances.

Filed Under: Pilates, Video
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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14 thoughts on “Pilates for Back Pain?”

  1. Dr P.D.Juyal says:

    The techniques are wonderful and extremely useful.I personally feel you are doing yeomans service to the mankind
    Dr P.D.Juyal

  2. Jeff says:

    I do Malibu Pilates, and I can say for a fact it
    has helped my back.

    There are different types of Pilates other than
    the video.

    Of the Malibu Pilates, I had to modify one exercise,
    and one exercise I dot do at at (at back hyper extension).

    Pilates has helped me, and after an injury, has helped get me over a back episode faster.

  3. TJ says:

    Is that all that Pilates is about? Leaving someone unsupervised on an unstable reformer in the middle of the gym floor? Not like any Pilates I’ve ever practiced or taught. There are irresponsible ways to approach any mode of exercise. After all the good info you’ve put out here, please don’t paint Pilates with this broad brush. It’s a valuable, beneficial option for many people, when it’s practiced safely…just like anything else.

  4. Andrew says:

    I agree with the above statements. ANYTHING, when done inappropriately and devoid of wisdom, can be painful and harmfull (healthy food, sunshine, weight lifting, stretching, heck, even HUGS!).
    I like a lot of what this website has to say, but you guys are getting a little fast & loose with your generalizations.

  5. Bo says:

    The video was a crack up!! I’ve used and taught Pilates for a number if years and it has kept me from the OR.

  6. Samuel says:

    clearly this post was not bashing pilates, just a laugh for the day. If you read anything that these guys say, they always talk about strengthening your core and weak muscles. Get a grip people….

  7. Jesse says:


    Good lord… it is funny… no where did we say pilates is a waste of time or anything of the sort…

    though, while pilates can be helpful, it can also worsen things for some people if they don’t know which muscle imbalances they have… same with yoga and every other type of exercise.

    If this really offends you, unsubscribe… no whiners are welcome on my email list.

  8. Sandy says:

    Thank you Jesse for the funny video, it gave me a good laugh when I was down. Kudos!

    Seems like Dr. PD Juyal,Jeff,Bo,TJ,Andrew,Dan & Cecilia have let pilates effect more than just their physical health!

    Lighten up people! Don’t tighten up!

  9. Sandy says:


    Please remember, opinions are like #@*holes, they stink, as the guy doing the pilates found out.

  10. Gale says:

    I loved it; thanks for the laugh.

    This is not to imply that pilates is a joke, but in life, funny things happen to us, and sometimes in the oddest ways and places.

    I was wearing a linen dress my mother had worn when she was 20, just like I was, and I felt like a million dollars. I had gone shopping after running all my errands, taking public transport, and I was looking at some shoes in a window when I felt a hand go up the back of my linen dress…… I turned around to face the pervert, and found a little old lady, who told me softly that my slip had got caught in the top of my panty hose. Yikes! That meant that my rear end had been visible all day, as I had not stopped to use the washroom at any time during the day. I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or laugh….


  11. Geri says:

    That was too funny……….my loud laugh for the day….hope the guy didn’t get hurt.

  12. Judit says:

    I replayed it several times and laughed.
    This was funny….

    I do Pilates 3 times a week at the YMCA in the last couple of years. I love it. It helped me when I had back pain. I did the exercises what felt good and skipped the one which was giving me pain. My instructor always tell “Listen to your body”
    and I do and know I am a happy camper.

  13. Garth says:

    I’m a qualified fitness/aqua fitness personal trainer. Also I’ve done yoga from 12 years old and now teach it. I’m 57, still have my six pack abs and weigh the same as when I was 21.

    Yes yoga deals with Body, Mind and Spirit, it’s a wholistic program. It is also the original physical fitness regime documented some 4000+ years ago.

    My simple observation is this ‘Joseph Pilates did yoga and adopted almost exclusively the postures and movements as laid down in the original Raja Yoga’.

    Yes Pilates is very beneficial but credit should also be given to the origins of Pilates which is without doubt Yoga as laid down by Patanjali.

    People should always work within their own unique limitations and with regular practise will notice those limitations extending, whichever regime they follow. The important thing is do something, do it regularly, and results will be evident.

  14. Lisa says:

    Hi Jesse
    I must say that I am very surprised at these comments about your video,I see that it has been taken down and was about Pilates, Like any other work out DVD or video,that you buy and do at home,you have to be responsible and take it easy at 1st,listen to your body,I have several workout video’s,and I like Pilates for my low back pain!!! Yes,it gives you the stretches you need,my pain is more S1,so I need to tighten the lower abs and buttocks.

    After doing Pilates for a couple of weeks, I do feel better and less pain,feel better about myself,since I do sit a lot…I have been planning a date to start back on doing my pilates,it WORKS!!!

    I Thank you for posting the information on your site,unlike others comments,I do enjoy your e-mails,and information,there is alot of unesseccary back surgeries going on way too much,I myself am trying my best to avoid it!! Also,any reasonable,responsible person can work out with a DVD or Video at home!!! I personally use a mirror to make sure I am doing the correct poses and stretches,which I think helps alot!!

    Thank you for mentioning Pilates for back pain,building muscles back,streching,etc…I Love your site Jesse!!

    Great work,keep it up!!!

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