Why Pilates is often prescribed to mums in pain by health professionals

The Pilates focus on core strength, flexibility, breath and mindful movement is commonly prescribed by health professionals concerned with musculoskeletal problems as one of THE most effective forms of pregnancy rehabilitation and holistic health promotion for mums. It’s the go-to solution to sort out the physical aches, pains and issues relating to issues experienced by mums following childbirth and in the years beyond, as kids get bigger and more physical too. Pilates is the perfect tool recommended by physios, chiropractors and osteopaths in various clinical settings. Here’s why!

I’m talking about remedial movement and rehabilitation following issues caused by for example:

  • repetitive strain injury from functional movement: repetitively picking kids up, slinging them on the hip, putting them down into the cot, sitting for long hours feeding – which can result in hip, shoulder, back joint and muscular pain;
  • distasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles some women experience as a result of pregnancy),
  • SPD (symphis pubic dysfunction or pelvic girdle pain);
  • Leaky bladder
Hands on back pain
Pilates is recommended by health professionals

The list goes on, right?

So how can Pilates help?

  1. Improved Posture: Pilates focuses on strengthening the core muscles, helping to support proper alignment of the spine and improve posture. Better posture = reduced strain on the muscles and joints, reducing issues associated with poor posture.
  2. Enhanced Body Awareness: Pilates emphasises mindful movement – everything is done with a smooth, slow and considered quality. By developing a greater sense of body awareness, individuals can clock and address movement patterns both during and outside of the Pilates class, that may be causing or exacerbating pain. This can lead to more efficient movement, better posture as a habit, and decreased strain on the body.
  3. Increased Flexibility: Pilates incorporates stretching exercises that target muscles throughout the body. Increased flexibility can reduce muscle tension and tightness, which are often contributors to pain and discomfort. Always try to warm up in some way before stretching – e.g. after a walk round the block or a (careful!) dance.
  4. Strengthening Weak Muscles: Pilates targets both large and small muscle groups, including stabilising muscles that are often neglected in traditional forms of exercise – especially focusing on strengthening the core with every movement. Back pain can be caused by weak abdominals for example, and in the UK, mums are unfortunately unlikely to get the support and education they need to rehabilitate the pelvic floor which can lead to issues not just in the immediate future, but into the long term future too.
  5. Injury Prevention: By strengthening weak muscles in the core and the whole body, Pilates can help to improve joint stability and reduce the likelihood of compensatory movements that can lead to future pain and injury.

Pilates is often prescribed as a form of rehabilitation by health experts for individuals recovering from injuries or managing chronic pain conditions. Its low-impact nature and focus on controlled movements make it suitable for people with various physical limitations. Pilates exercises can be adapted and modified to accommodate specific needs and abilities, allowing individuals to safely progress in their recovery journey.

Overall, Pilates offers a holistic approach to pain management by addressing underlying physical imbalances, promoting proper body mechanics, and fostering a mind-body connection that supports overall well-being.

If you have existing musculoskeletal pain it’s best to get checked out by a professional before taking part in group classes – or before switching on Youtube and picking up a recorded class where the instructor won’t see you. A Pilates instructor will assess if clients are fit to participate in physical activity before they work with them. It’s a good idea to see a Pilates instructor on a 121 basis to start with if you do have underlying health conditions, so the instructor can chat to you about your specific pain, and may direct you to a health professional for an assessment before working with you if they consider your symptoms to be severe. Once you’ve got the green light, 121s are a good way to get the foundations under your belt before taking part in a group, online or Youtube class.