Lower Back Pain


These can be extremely painful and debilitating, taking anything from six weeks or longer to recover depending on the severity. Once on the recovery and given the go ahead from a physio or GP, Pilates with out doubt is the best way to get people safely back on the move again! The discs in the Lumbar spine tend to be more susceptible to disc injury, because this region carries most of the body’s weight. This vertical download also involves movement and if the movement is sudden while at the same time lifting a heavy object for example, this could be enough to cause injury.

Pilates is an important part in the treatment of a Herniated disc, helping to safely strengthen, mobilise and stabilise the Lower back. Effectively improving the strength in the muscles which surround the back along with strengthening the core muscles. All of this combined helps support the joints long term and off loads unnecessary pressure on the spine.


Spondylosis often affects the joints in the Lumbar spine, most noticeably in people over the age of forty. Common complaints are morning stiffness and pain. This age related degenerative condition occurs in the bones and discs  with a loss of cartilage, often described as wear and tear, a little like the tyres on a car  wearing, except they can be replaced, unfortunately cartilage cannot. Sitting for long periods of time can sometimes cause pain due to the pressure on the Lumbar joints, plus repetitive movements such as lifting and bending may also increase pain.

Pilates is very effective in helping to maintain the mobility in this part of the spine and has been proven to assist in the prevention of further complications. Improvements with posture as well as learning how to use the body’s own natural corset in day to day activities are key in the teaching of Pilates.


Sciatica is another extremely common complaint amongst Low back sufferers and is actually a symptom that the Lumbar spine is receiving pressure. Often these symptoms can be painful and act as a warning sign for many people, sometimes the pain and discomfort can linger on for days, resulting in  people loosing days off work. There is often burning or sharp needle like pains, even numbness which can be felt in the butt or backs of the thighs sometimes traveling down the leg as far as the big toe.

Pilates is a life saver when it comes to Sciatic pain, and there are lots of effective stretches and mobilising exercises which make a huge difference to sufferers, who quickly learn how to manage these symptoms by following the movements which they know give the best relief.  Many people report that  including these stretches and release movements on a daily basis can ward off Sciatica.


Edinburgh Pilates - Suzie

My physiotherapist suggested I try Pilates to stabilise and strengthen my pelvis and lower back after a difficult pregnancy. I had very poor core strength, difficulty walking short distances and considerable pain during everyday activities.

After only 6 weeks of 1:1 instruction from Karen, I feel like a new woman! I am so much stronger; I’ve found muscles I didn’t know I had and learned how to use them to support myself correctly. Karen’s understanding of my needs and her thorough and professional style have given me the confidence to really go for it and the results speak for themselves. I am walking comfortably to and from school and even carrying my toddler without pain when I need to.

Karen’s explanations are easy to follow and she is a very patient teacher. As a complete beginner, my many questions are always welcome and I feel I have learned such a lot in a short space of time. I look forward to continuing in the group class now and would heartily recommend Edinburgh Pilates.

Alison Reynolds

Hi Karen I have just finished my Pilates programme so I know I’m earning brownie points here!! I have it pinned on my office wall and I’m following all of the exercises you’ve given me and it is helping. I have appointment with physio tomorrow so hope to see you next week. If anyone else out there is attending physio and hasn’t tried Pilates I would recommend getting in touch with Karen I have been attending her sessions as a 1-1 for 4 months and what a difference it’s made. I had to take so much time off work in the past with really bad back pain and now I’m back full time again.

Paul Manning

I started Pilates after my chiropractor, who I was seeing because of a severe back injury recommended it as a form of rehabilitation. Before starting, Karen assessed my situation through a health history questionnaire and physical assessment. Pilates has really helped, especially with my core muscles and I can feel my back getting stronger. With Karen’s help I have been able to take up my hobbies of running and mountain biking again and I strongly recommend Pilates to aid recovery from back injuries.


My name is Susan I’m 28 years old and have been attending one to one sessions with Karen for a two and a half years. I had always suffered lower back pain which wasn’t helped by sitting long hours at a desk. I was seen by a physiotherapist who suggested Pilates as a way of strengthening my lower back and helping me with my posture and core stability.

The sessions Karen sets out for me have taught me how to do the movements in such a way that my lower back is safe. I found out that using my core muscles really did make a big difference to the way my back tended to feel, I became conscious of how I should be sitting at my desk in order to prevent the horrible discomfort I used to feel. Karen also gave me useful exercises which I can do at my work and these have made a massive difference to the way my lower back now feels. Thanks Karen for your patience and support.


Edinburgh Pilates - Evelyn
Karen has been teaching me on a 1-1 basis for over 8 years and the benefits to my physical well being have been huge. Had I discovered Pilates earlier, I needn’t have suffered years of lower back pain and the cost of endless osteopathic appointments. Utilising my core has become second nature and my back is now protected at all times. I’ve had no serious pain in years, but if I do feel a niggle, I have the tools to address the problem at source, negating the need to take painkillers. Pilates, with Karen’s carefully considered classes, tailored for me, have given me back control of my body. I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Ann Craig (67)

Edinburgh Pilates - Ann Craig

I am a 67 year old woman who has been doing one to one Pilates Instruction with Karen for about 3 years now. I have a long history of lower back problems and have gone down many avenues to try to alleviate the pain, including acupuncture, reflexology etc, but nothing helped for any length of time.

I decided, on the advice of one of my daughters, to try Pilates, and it was she who “found” Karen for me. I had never done Pilates before so I felt more comfortable in a one to one situation. Having specific problems I felt they could never be dealt with in a class of 10 or more.

Karen took a full medical history before I started to pinpoint any specific areas that needed looking at and this is updated annually which is very professional.

Each lesson is specific to the way I am feeling on any particular day. My mobility has increased and my posture is so much better and I have learned what my core is all about. Pilates also helped me correct a bout of Plantar Fasciitis and Karen suggested it might be worth while having an MRI Scan for my lower back pain, since I had never had one taken. The scan revealed disc compression in my lumber spine, however, I was told that only surgery would “cure it”.
I wasn’t happy about going down that road, so I have continued with my one to one Pilates with Karen. I have learned so much from her, that I also do lots of the exercises at home. I have improved to the extent that Karen now has me circuit training, specific to my needs of course. Never thought that I would ever be able to say that!

I should also say, that we have fun and I would recommend Karen to anyone who is not feeling as young and as fit as they used to be!

Sandy Linton


I had been landscaping the garden on a week’s holiday and at the end of that my back was sore with all the lifting and digging this quickly deteriorated and I had what felt like muscle cramps around the buttocks, calf and occasionally down the side of my foot, at times I couldn’t walk more than 100m without having to stop because of the pain – Sciatica was the initial diagnosis. I tried several chiropractors without success, so I thought I’d try Pilates, in the first session, Karen recommended I seek a medical opinion as I had suffered with sciatica too long and she didn’t want to risk further damage  – I booked privately to see a spinal consultant and have a MRI scan where they diagnosed a disc prolapse at L4/L5 which was pressing on the sciatic nerve – I opted to have an injection in my lower back that contained a slow release steroid and anaesthetic within a few weeks I was more mobile and the pain had reduced so I returned to Pilates and with Karen’s patience and guidance (and a bit of homework) four months down the line I am leading a fully active life again which I am very grateful to Karen for.