Sadly, chronic back pain ranks as one of the most dreaded nightmare of many people around the world.
This bad rep on back pains is truly a well-deserved one due to the inconveniences and trauma that comes with it.
For this reason, everyone is thrown into a deep search for what can be the best treatment or management protocol for back pains.
Luckily, Pilates and Yoga have continued to prove to be some very effective exercise regime in bringing solace to different people experiencing the cruel hands of back pains.
However, a lot of people, including you keep asking “Pilates vs Yoga, which is the best relief approach to back pains?”
Well, in case you find yourself bothered with this kind of question, that is exactly what this post will guide you through.
Sure, at the end of this article, you will find the perfect spot for you when it comes to curbing back pains. Without much ado, let’s start from the basics.
Pilates for Back Pains
Pilates is a physical system that utilizes specific exercises to improve mobility, flexibility, posture, and overall strength, with a particular focus on the core.
During Pilates exercises, deep breathing is used to promote circulation and aid movements.
Joseph Pilates developed flowing movements in the early 20th century to revitalize wounded soldiers during World War I.
Since then, Pilates exercises have made great strides in enhancing body mobility and relieving pains even after the world war.
However, Pilates is a methodical practice that must be done regularly to be beneficial. Each exercise necessitates a specific set of motions, positions, and breathing ranges centered on core stabilization.
Although Pilates can be done on mats, but some developed workout sessions require specific machines.
Nevertheless, both are low-impact and ultimately strengthen the entire body while strengthening the core.
A reformer class involves the use of machine equipment with spring resistance, whereas most mat classes, as the word implies, only require the use of a mat to implement body-weight resistance.
Health Benefits of Pilates
Pilates exercises gives the following benefits to its practitioners.
Pilates enhances core strength
Pilates considers small movements that necessitate the use of essential core and back stabilizing muscles.
There is a major emphasis on beginning each strengthening exercise with nothing more than a controlled breath which further causes the core to contract.
Pilates exercise and Yoga exercise both have a variety of poses that are good for toning the core muscles.
However, because Pilates exercises are much more intense and focused, results may be obtained much faster than with yoga.
Pilates help with recovery, rehabilitation, and injury prevention.
Pilates, because of its limited intensity and targeted movements, can be an excellent exercise, particularly for people recovering from injury.
Pilates exercise addresses and rectifies improper movements or posture, allowing your body to realign and find some balance.
As a result, you can not only heal from injuries sustained but also prevent future injuries or pain. Pilates, while challenging, does not overwork any one body part.
Pilates include strengthening exercises
Pilates is primarily a form of resistance and strength training. Pilates exercises use your body weight, as well as other pieces of equipment, to develop sensitivity as well as strengthen your muscles.
Pilates also employs very repetitive motions and tends to focus on strengthening the body's small stabilizer muscles.
It also emphasizes neuro-motor control, training your nervous system and brain and to fine-tune and regulate your movements for the intended result.
Pilates incorporates a lot of passive and active stretching, which contributes to enhanced joint flexibility and mobility. Furthermore, its moderate strengthening exercises protect the joints.
Other important health benefits of Pilates include:
- Pilates increases muscle strength and endurance
- Pilates alleviates lower back pain
- Pilates decreases joint pain
- Pilates improves muscle tone
- Pilates stress reduction and mental stability
- Pilates aids relaxation
- Pilates improves posture and flexibility
- Pilates assists in weight control and weight loss
- Pilates improves sleep cycle
- Pilates enhances better balance and coordination
- Pilates increases lung capacity
- Pilates supports physical rehabilitation such as neck pain, scoliosis, and back pain.
How Pilates helps with lower back pain
Pilates can aid and boost your level of recovery from back pains through various well-designed Pilates exercises. These include;
- Lie supine with your knees bent, your legs parallel, your arms at your sides, palms down, and your pelvis in a neutral position.
- Exhale and lift one leg until the knee are higher than the hip joint and the thigh is perpendicular to the floor.
- Inhale and lower the leg to the mat to return to the initial position.
- 5 times with the very same leg, repeat the exercises. Place the foot completely on the mat.
- Repeat the process with the other leg.
- Lie supine, knees bent, feet flat on the mat, hip-width off from each other, interlace your fingers behind your head, and bend your elbow sideways.
- Curl the head and upper trunk up slowly, lifting the shoulder blades off the mat while keeping the back part of the waistband in contact with the mat.
- Inhale deeply, drawing the core muscles in deeper as the trunk height is maintained, and pause.
- Exhale to return the head and chest to the initial position while keeping the abdominals tight.
- Repeat ten times through the sequence.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat, hip-width off from each other. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down.
- Relax the muscle in your neck, shoulders, and lower back. Exhale to set the core and gently curl the pelvis and spine off the mat, one vertebra at a time.
- Inhale deeply and keep at the top. The pelvis must be at its most posterior tilt, and the hip flexors should be stretched.
- Finally, exhale and lower the trunk slowly. Return to the starting position by rolling down one vertebra at a time.
- Repeat ten times through the sequence.
Yoga for Back Pains
Yoga is a centuries-old holistic physical therapy that originated in India. The practice entails physically moving the body, mentally focusing the mind, and tapping into the mindfulness spiritual experience.
In other words, yoga is a form of exercise that engages both the body and the mind by combining muscular movements with an internally oriented mindful focus on different facets of awareness such as energy, self, and breath.
However, Hatha yoga is the most common form of yoga, and it is mostly practiced by pain sufferers.
It consists of a series of postures coupled with a sequence of poses aimed at balancing the body tissues, as well as the muscles, skin, and bones.
Hatha yoga postures are intended to open the pathways of both the spine and the body, to facilitate the free flow of energy within the body.
Health Benefits of yoga
Just like its closes rival – Pilates, yoga has also proven to be very effective in pain relief as well as other overall health benefits.
Yoga ease stress and anxiety
Yoga incorporates deep breathing, which works specifically to reduce stress and soothe the nervous system. Movement and breath are critical components of many yoga practices.
Combining these two effects is said to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces anxiety and stress, and induces a focused, calm, and relaxed state.
Yoga enhances balance improvement
Yoga improves balance by incorporating certain balancing exercises that rely solely on your muscular system.
For instance, there are various poses in which you place your weight in your arms rather than your legs or even remain on one leg – which mostly promote balance generally.
There is a focus on toning muscles that will aid in balance and working to ensure that all muscular systems are activated in poses so that balance is more easily obtainable and retained in a pose.
Yoga enhances focus on the mind-body connection
Yoga can be thought of as a type of mind-body fitness. It incorporated both mindful focus and physical activity.
Yoga, with its deep spiritual roots, provides an in-depth sense of spiritual awareness and connection. Many yoga classes include meditation, music, or chanting.
With a rich history, yoga is also considered a lifestyle practice, centered on everyday life concepts of mindful meditation, humility, compassion, and peace.
Yoga is an effective way to connect with yourself more deeply while also feeling connected to the larger whole.
Yoga improves cardiovascular health
Despite the focus on mental connection and reduction of stress in yoga, faster-paced forms of the practice can significantly raise your heart rate.
Other juicy benefits of yoga include:
- Yoga eases chronic pain such as neck pain, chronic low back pain, joint pain
- Yoga reduces postpartum anxiety and sadness
- Yoga strengthens muscles
- Yoga stabilizes blood pressure
- Yoga improves flexibility, digestion, and blood circulation
- Yoga increases lung capacity
- Yoga relieves symptoms associated with menopause
- Yoga enhances sleep cycle and lowers insomnia
- Yoga lowers depression
- Yoga supports weight loss
- Yoga can ease off the pain of arthritis
- Yoga supports those with respiratory conditions
How does yoga help with lower back pain?
Even the most basic yoga poses or exercise, as described below, can help you enjoy the benefits of the practice.
These poses, and a couple of times you do them each day, are, however, general guidelines that helps with low back pain.
Cow and cat stretch
- Begin on all fours.
- Hands and arms should always be shoulder-distance apart, and knees should be hip-distance apart.
- Inhale, then exhale slowly, drawing your navel toward your spine but also lightly tucking your tailbone.
- Repeat the pose as you inhale again. Make a point of connecting your breath to your moves.
- Once a day, do this pose five to ten times.
- Begin by lying on your back, feet flat on the floor, and knees bent. You should have your feet hip-distance apart.
- Lift your hips off the floor slowly, with your arms straight by your sides and your palms on the ground. Hold this pose for three seconds.
- Roll back to the floor slowly.
- Once a day, perform the bridge pose three times.
Yoga classes are widely available at yoga studios and gyms. There are also numerous yoga videos available, some of which provide specific guidelines on poses that can help relieve chronic lower back pain.
Pilates vs Yoga: Which Is Best For People With Lower Back Pain
Although a very tricky question, the interesting truth is that both Pilates and Yoga are both very effective in relieving pains.
So, choosing one over the other may be a bit misleading since no two persons have the same body structure, composition, and even the same level of back pain.
So, here is a candid advice for you if you are battling with back pain: give both Pilates and yoga a shot and see which of these therapeutic exercises is easy and convenient for you to adopt as a long term approach to curb back pain.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pilates vs Yoga for Back Pains
Which burns more calories: Pilates, or yoga?
Yoga and Pilates both burn calories at a comparable rate, but Pilates burns more than yoga.
Can Pilates worsen back pain?
Exercise may aggravate some conditions that cause back pain. Therefore, before beginning Pilates, you should consult with your doctor. During Pilates exercises, it is possible to lose your balance, fall, or inure your back.
Pilates or Yoga: Which is better for toning?
Pilates and yoga-based exercise improve muscle tone while also being more effective at fat loss.
If Pilates does not have body weight, external resistance, such as a Pilates Reformer, can be used; if Yoga does not, external resistance is required.
Is it safe to practice Pilates or yoga while injured?
Yes, Pilates and yoga can be tailored to everyone, making them safe even for those who are injured.
It depends on your injury and your doctor's advice; you may need to stick to privates to avoid injuring yourself or slowing down others in a class.
Pilates or yoga for back pains?
Finally, the decision between yoga and Pilates for chronic low back pain relief may come down to personal preference.
Yoga may be right for you if you want to combine physical healing with spiritual experiences and breathwork.
Consider Pilates if wanting to stay in the physical realm with your exercise routine certainly feels more appealing. And combining the two may provide you with a more well-rounded healthy lifestyle.
Take home – Pilates vs Yoga for Back Pain: Which Is The Most Effective?
Yoga and Pilates are both known to have a great benefit and a relieving effect in back pain. This is because both enhances flexibility and mobility, stretches various parts of the body, and helps their practitioners to relax and release tension from the body.
Choosing between Yoga and Pilates for low back pain is a function of your personal preference in terms of convenience and other health considerations.
Finally, your fitness coach or physical therapist will also be in the best position to recommend which of these physical healing approach in reducing pain will serve your best interest.