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Flowing Through Challenges: Pilates Practice with a Tweaked Back

Having tweaked muscles can put a dent in anyone's day. It's especially troubling when those muscles are in a foundational part of the body. Like the abdomen, the back is a unifier that connects the upper body with the lower body. So many Pilates exercises require utilizing the back for focus and alignment. So having a tweaked back can absolutely affect your practice. But it's also important to understand how Pilates can help an injury rather than aggravate it. A tweaked back is no different.


Like any aspect of Pilates, the first step is having an instructor who understands your body and accommodates it. That means working with someone who is aware of your injuries, both past and present, and knows how to adjust your session accordingly. On your part, this includes communicating exactly what happened to cause the injury, how it feels currently, and also how it feels during the session. We get so focused on our practice that sometimes we forget to speak up, but communication between a client and an instructor is key to a productive lesson.


For practicing with a tweaked back, it's best to focus on core exercises. Small extension exercises can be another focus, but always while engaging your core. Rounding exercises should be avoided as should any folding in half to touch your toes. Small rounding is okay, but not where the injury is located. That should be avoided as it will only exacerbate the area. And of course, the tweaked section of your back should be iced thoroughly following your session


It's important to remember that although Pilates can be used to help assist recovering from an injury, it should not be viewed as a substitute for focused strength training that can be done in physical therapy. If you do have an injury where a doctor prescribed physical therapy, it's important that you continue to go while using Pilates as a supplement. Prescribed rehab should always be viewed as the primary road to recovery.



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