Back pain: Six easy Pilates exercises you can do at home to reduce back pain

Back pain is often caused by poor posture or a muscle strain. Spending elongated hours cooped up at a desk does nothing to help, with lack of mobility being one of the main causes of back pain. Often when sat a desk, people let their posture fall by the wayside and begin to slouch which only exacerbates the issues, leading to poor stability, a weakened core and more serious problems such as pinched nerves and compressed discs. But if your back pain persists after a few weeks, you should see your GP who can rule out any serious causes.

If backache isn’t caused by anything serious, then one of the most important things to do to relieve it is to keep being active.

Kate Burden, head trainer at Classical Pilates studio, Raw Pilates, offered six of the best exercises to reduce back pain.

1. The 100

Lying on your back, raise your legs and bend them at the knee, so your shins and ankles are parallel to the floor. Bring your head up with your chin down and use your abdominal muscles to curl your upper spine off the floor. At the same time extend your arms and legs.

This exercise teaches your body stability and helps you develop a stronger lower back, creating a solid foundation for spinal support.

Kate said: “It’s all about breathing, which will really help you develop a deep core connection and engage your lower spine, helping you to even out the pressure throughout your whole back.

2. Roll up

Lie on your back on the floor with your legs straight. To start, bring your arms straight up over your head and back and curl your body in an up and over motion towards your toes.

Articulation of the spine – this is a really relaxing movement that is great to do at the start and end of a workout, said Kate.

She added: “It helps stretch the whole back line of the body, and teaches you to move with your breath, ensuring you use your core abdominal muscles instead of straining your back.”

3. Leg circle

Start on your back then draw one knee in towards the chest, before extending it straight towards the ceiling. Cross the extended leg up and over the body, then begin a circular motion with the leg. Repeat on the opposite leg.

This exercise is a great one for the core muscles, said Kate.

She explained: “It helps strengthen the upper torso and also allows the hip to stretch and feel freer. 

“Tight hips can have a compromising effect on the back causing pain and tension so using an exercise such as the leg circle is perfect for reliving any unwanted tightness.”

4. Rolling like a ball

Sit on your mat and clasp your hands over your skins just above the ankles. Lift your feet off the mat and balance on your bottom. When you’re ready, roll back to the shoulders (not onto the neck) and then roll back to your starting upright position.

If you suffer from poor back mobility this exercise is a great way to improve flexibility in the spine and have some fun at the same time.

Kate said: “Teaching you balance and core stability, it also helps stretch the hips and gives you a spinal massage.”

5. Single leg stretch

Start laying down on the floor, then when you’re ready, curl your head and shoulders up , extend one of your legs and keep the other in a tabletop position with the right hand grasping the ankle and the left hand on the knee. Switch legs.

This movement helps stretch the hips and encourages lower back stability.

Kate explained: “As with all Pilate’s exercises, breathing is an important component and it needs to be synchronised with the movement.

“This exercise also offers the triple threat of hip stretching, core toning and improving coordination.”

6. Double leg stretch

Lay on your back with your arms and legs stretched outwards and your upper body raise slightly off the ground. Keeping your upper body in this position, bring your knees in to the tabletop position and raise your arms over your head to grasp your knees. Return to the starting position after, controlling your legs and arms.

The Double leg stretch is a great movement to activate all core muscles, according to Kate.

She added: “It requires balance, strength and composure. This exercise makes people more aware of their back alignment and encourages positive postural improvements.”

Some experts believe supplemnets can help treat back pain.