Back Pain and the Power of Exercise

Most of us will, at some point in our lives, encounter back pain, whether it be of the niggling, dull-ache variety or of the eye-wateringly acute type. Those with the former frequently go about life trying to ignore it in the hopes that it will go away, whilst those with acute episodes can find themselves sporadically immobilised whilst self-censoring their movement patterns and activities in between, in an attempt to avoid another bad patch at all costs. Neither situation is much fun, and both can be costly on many fronts: days off from work, expensive trips to see physios, osteopaths and chiropractors, and an inability to take part in perfectly normal day-to-day activities, such as carrying the shopping or bending down to get something from the bottom cupboard.

Those of you who have suffered from back pain and been to see your GP will also have noticed that you were, in all likelihood, only really given the option of taking pain killers and anti-inflammatories, alongside a suggestion to seek out a local Pilates class. It is, of course, the suggestion of Pilates which interests me. Research has shown that exercise can be pretty powerful when it comes to managing backache. It doesn’t even have to be Pilates: walking has been shown to be helpful, and careful exercising using weights has too. The frequent reference to Pilates is due to this discipline’s focus on posture and mobility, alongside strengthening of the core deep abdominal muscles – perfect for alleviating back pain.

It never fails to amaze me, on a practical level, what a difference my Pilates classes make. It’s when people tell me that after the couple of weeks I have off for holidays, they feel stiff and achy again that it really brings this home to me. So the long and short of it is to keep moving. With this in mind, I have put together a short video with what I have found, over the years, to be some top exercises for relieving back pain. They are perfect for pregnancy and new mums but, to be frank, they are just great for all of us!

So give them a go, ideally every day – they don’t take long to do – and you will very soon feel the difference. Just make sure you listen carefully to the instructions that I give and, of course, use your common sense: if you have acute back trouble and the exercises feel sore to perform, then please don’t do them.

So pull on something comfortable and let’s get going!


Give these exercises a go every day over the coming week and let me know on facebook how you feel. Does your back feel any better? More mobile, more fluid, less painful? I bet it does!