Pilates for Chronic Pain: What It Is, The Benefits and How to Do It Safely

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 9 March 2020
  • 3 minute read
Pilates for Chronic Pain: What It Is, The Benefits and How to Do it Safely | The Health Sessions

This article is written by Sarah Williams.

Often termed as “Contrology”, Pilates is a wonderful exercise for anyone looking forward to getting killer abs and core strength. However, the usefulness is not limited to that only.

Beyond that, Pilates can significantly help ease chronic pain. The way this exercise is designed, it simply diminishes the pains of several kinds through physical movement. But that can never be enough information, right?

For a better understanding, it’s required to dig a little deeper than this. Aiding to the same, here’s what you need to know about Pilates and their usefulness as a remedy for chronic pain of different types.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise and physical movement that focuses on control, balance, core stability, strength, and flexibility. It strengthens the core postural muscles supporting the spine. It also helps improve posture, which also helps relieve and prevent back pain. 

Pilates for Chronic Pain: What It Is, The Benefits and How to Do It Safely | The Health Sessions
All images by Andrea Piacquadio via pexels.com

The Benefits of Pilates for Chronic Pain

“A stronger core means a better back”, says Pilates instructor Tracy Zindell. Clinical Pilates for chronic pain works by enhancing the primary muscular support system of the body, to reduce the pressure off the back, knees, and joints, leading to a reduction of pain. 

The exercises are great for people with chronic pain as they are low impact, increase muscle strength, and are altered to fit an individual’s body ability. It works by shifting the focus of your brain off painful areas to concentrating on the body as a whole. 

Benefits include:

How safe is Pilates for chronic pain?

Since many of the exercises require reclining or sitting positions, for chronic pain sufferers, there are many low impact exercises that are partial weight bearing. The focus of such exercises is not on the number of repetitions; it is on breathing and the movement of the body.

Pilates has something to offer to people of all ages. The exercises are pretty safe because experts at Bodytonic Clinic use Pilates in conjunction with osteopathic treatments and massages to rehabilitate after injuries. 

Pilates for Chronic Pain: What It Is, The Benefits and How to Do it Safely | The Health Sessions

What Conditions Does Pilates Help With?

Considered to be a ‘low-impact, big result’ workout regimen, Pilates was intended to be a workout for dancers with injuries. Knowing it’s intended purpose, doctors started to see how the series of movement that works out the entire bodies can help with various health conditions.


Many people coping with arthritis refrain themselves from exercising as they are concerned about the intensity. But since Pilates exercises are low-impact, gentle movements that strengthen muscles and reduce pressure on joints, doctors recommend Pilates for people with arthritis. 

Chronic Back Pain

Pilates can help with chronic back pain by stabilizing the core’s lumbar-pelvic region and alleviating the stress on that area. It works on the weak muscles that often create pain. Pilates ups mobility and is considered the best choice of therapy for chronic pain sufferers.


Pilates is not only good for low-impact exercise and stability, but it also helps people with fibromyalgia. It emphasizes breathing techniques to prevent muscle tension so that muscles can relax. Breathing techniques enrich the blood with oxygen and increase its circulation to all regions of the body. 

People with fibromyalgia tend to disconnect with their bodies due to the amplified painful sensations affecting the way their brain processes pain signals. And Pilates is all about the connection of the mind and body. It reduces the fatigue symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and helps prevent hypermobility. 

People with diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases can participate in Pilates, as well, but it is advisable to check with your doctors first.

Pilates for Chronic Pain: What It Is, The Benefits and How to Do it Safely | The Health Sessions

Tips for Doing Pilates with Chronic Pain

  • If you want to push back fatigue, try to do Pilates right away in the morning.
  • Pilates doesn’t work like other exercises, so try to keep repetitions to a minimum. You don’t need to push yourself to the extent that your muscles go weak.
  • If you feel discomfort doing any exercise, reduce the speed of movement so that your muscles are comfortable throughout the exercise.
  • Simplify the exercises that you feel are extremely challenging. 
  • If you want to get the most out of Pilates, look out for a personalized program from an instructor or find a medical practitioner for Clinical Pilates.
  • Keep your calm and be patient. Gains in muscle strength might be slow, but eventually, you will gain strength and improve your overall health.

Pilates for Chronic Pain: What It Is, The Benefits and How to Do It Safely | The Health Sessions

8 Scientifically Proven Points That Indicate Pilates Leads to Peace of Mind

Pilates exercises help create a body and mind relationship, where focus, meditation, and concentration come together to boost your mental health and enhance your mood. This in turn helps you to cope better with chronic pain. 

  • Trains your brain. Adopting a new Pilates routine can help challenge the mind and the body.
  • Improves Memory. Various studies have revealed that exercising improves the formation of new brain cells and protects existing cells. Other research shows that people performing Pilates experience superior brain function than those who don’t.
  • Relieves stress in the body. Pilates helps release the tension in the muscles, which further reduces the number of stress hormones in the body. Once the stress from the body is reduced or removed, you also get it out of your mind.
  • Deeper muscle movement and activation results in the better functioning of the nervous system.
  • Calms your mind and helps regulate emotions.
  • When the mind is without stress, the endorphins are produced in a high amount, making you feel good and happy. Mindful meditation also makes you more creative.

Have you ever tried Pilates to help you reduce or better manage chronic pain? 

Author bio: Sarah Williams is a successful business woman who has a great interest in diverse subjects. She has learned a lot at the hands of every experience – good or bad. Her write-ups are a true manifestation of her rich experiences and her eventful life.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like:

Related articles in Healthy lifestyle

7 Tips for Managing Your Arthritis Symptoms Naturally

7 Tips for Managing Your Arthritis Symptoms Naturally | The Health Sessions

8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity

8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity | The Health Sessions

How to Deal with Uncontrollable Stress

How to Deal with the Uncontrollable Stress of Living with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions