pilates and chronic pain

So, you’ve been dealing with chronic pain. And frankly, you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. 


Have you been told that exercise can make your symptoms worse? Have you avoided working out because you can’t find a movement modality that feels safe for you? Do you want to start a workout routine, but need to find someone who can help you adapt exercises and find what works for your specific body? 


You’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn about the benefits of Pilates for chronic pain– and how to experience them for yourself.

Pilates for Chronic Pain: How Can It Help?

1. Pilates can affect the nervous system to reduce chronic pain symptoms.

Here’s the deal: your body interprets physical and mental stressors (both internal and external) as threats to your safety. So, whether you’re worked up about that project you need to finish or you’ve just fallen and hit your head, your nervous system reacts with alarm bells. 


When you have chronic pain or chronic stress, those alarm bells go off repeatedly. In the long term, that can take a serious toll on your nervous system’s overall function. It becomes a vicious cycle that can cause fatigue, digestion issues, and so much more. So, how do we break that cycle? 


In the past, doctors have told chronic pain sufferers to “rest” or limit activity. But, more recent studies have shown that a long term exercise routine can actually improve pain levels over time (even if the first few workouts seem to lead to an uptick in pain).


It boils down to this: a consistent exercise routine can actually improve chronic pain symptoms, and a low-impact modality that focuses on biomechanics (ahem, like Pilates) is a great starting point to ease into exercise wisely and reduce your risk of injury.

2. Pilates helps lubricate your joints and soft tissues.

Think about the function of oil in a car engine for a moment. It’s meant to lubricate moving parts so there’s less friction and higher performance, right? 


Your body is not a machine, but it does have mechanisms for lubrication to help things move easier. The more you move, the more those mechanisms are activated. Your muscles and fascia become more elastic (and able to better recover after working), and your joints move with more ease.


Pilates specifically targets often-neglected joints and tissues in the body, like fascia, tiny stabilizing muscles, and spinal joints. With a consistent Pilates practice, those joints and tissues boost your body’s overall efficiency and ease of movement – which can lead to less inflammation and pain, too. Check out this Pilates and back pain research study if you want to dive deeper!

3. Pilates can support your mental health, too.

Let’s be honest: chronic pain is an emotional journey just as much as a physical one. And when you wake up in pain day after day, it’s easy for depression and anxiety to creep in, too. 


I want to be clear that Pilates is not a substitute for mental health therapy or counseling, but it does offer you benefits for both your body and mind. A consistent Pilates practice can:


  • Increase your confidence and motivation to try new things
  • Improve your mood, sleep, and energy levels
  • Reduce overall stress levels
  • Help you build community and connection with other people living with chronic pain (source)

Pilates for Pain Management: Where Do I Start?

Many of us who live with chronic pain or a chronic condition are acutely aware that our bodies are a bit “different”– and that feels especially true in a large group exercise class. Feelings of inferiority or internal messages like, “I can’t keep up, so why bother?” can sabotage our movement routine before we even start. 


What if there was a better way? What if you could have the undivided attention of someone who lives with chronic pain, too, and has studied human movement to help relieve it?


Friend, I’ve been there. I deal with chronic pain, too, and Pilates has changed my life for the better. I want nothing more than for you to experience the life-changing benefits of Pilates for yourself. 

Chronic Pain and Pilates: Your Journey to Freedom Starts Now

When you work with me for a one-on-one session, we talk through what you’re facing and what goals you have for your unique body. Whether you want to increase your endurance so you can go on that hiking trip you’ve been dreaming of or you want to learn how to stay ahead of neck pain at your desk job, I’m here to support you through targeted, tailored Pilates sessions and practical tools that fit your lifestyle.

Book now for a private session in my Franklin, Tennessee Pilates studio, or schedule a virtual Pilates session and work with me from anywhere in the world. I can’t wait to meet you!

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