Clinical Pilates and Low Back Pain – Exercise for Pain Management

Andy Hague

May 15, 2023

physio, physio gym, training, back physio, old physio

Pilates is a popular form of exercise that focuses on abdominal strength and stability, breathing, proper technique and postural alignment. Clinical Pilates differs from generic Pilates classes, as they consider the participant as an individual, and take into account an their specific injuries and physical needs. Clinical Pilates instructors are also clinically trained, and often Allied Health professionals such as Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist or Exercise Scientists. Classes can be either mat based, reformer based or use a variety of Pilates equipment.


Low back pain (LBP) is a very common type of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Exercise is the principle treatment for addressing low back pain and is recommended by international clinical guidelines for treating both acute and chronic low back pain. There has been a current update in the evidence backing the treatment of LBP through therapeutic exercise, and research has found that Pilates had the highest likelihood for reducing pain and disability when compared to other forms of exercise. A recent study has found that the most beneficial types of exercises are those that include the following:

  • At least 1-2 sessions per week of Pilates based or strength exercises
  • Sessions consisting of core-based, strength or body awareness exercises
  • Programs that span a minimum of 3 weeks

Other self management technqiues for LBP include:

  • Minimising bed rest
  • Remaining active
  • Returning to work and usual activity as soon as possible


There are many Pilates classes around the local Torquay-Geelong area and are usually run out of gyms or Pilates specific studios – these classes are great for general fitness, however they do not have the facilities to assess
and individually tailor programs an provide Clinical Pilates for specific injuries.

That’s where Grand Slam Physiotherapy’s “Strength & Stability” classes come in. Our physiotherapists have expertise in assessing and diagnosing low back pain, which allows us to create tailor made exercise programs to improve your symptoms. Programs are reviewed regularly and progressed to allow the quickest recovery of symptoms possible and reduce the likelihood of low back pain recurrence. In these classes our physiotherapists correct technique, monitor load and exercise volume, as well as provide education on load and symptom management, which has been recommended by recent clinical guidelines.

At Grand Slam Physio we offer small group classes that use Pilates reformers, Wunda chair and strength training equipment. These sessions take place in our newly built Clinical Pilates studio-gym at our Torquay clinic, in addition to our Belmont practice. An initial 1:1 assessment is undertaken prior to joining our classes, to develop an individualised program to address you goals and needs. Our strength and stability classes are always instructed by one of our Physiotherapists, who will be present in the session to correct technique and progress the program. These classes are not only for low back pain clients but can be used to treat a range of chronic or recurrent conditions including tendinopathy/tendinitis and neck pain. They also offer a great adjunct to the sporting athlete who has multiple injuries or needs to improve their core stability. We have a variety of classes in the mornings, afternoons and evenings at both our Torquay and Belmont locations.


Andy is a physiotherapist with extensive experience in treating low back pain and running clinical Pilates-based classes. Andy has worked at multiple clinics instructing these classes, in addition to treating these conditions in the clinic setting. Andy enjoys working in all streams of low back pain rehabilitation and getting people back to their goals. He also has completed training with APPI (Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute), and prioritises staying up to date with current research. Andy treats from our Torquay clinic Tuesday to Friday.


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