When should I start pilates after an injury?


You’ve suffered an injury – maybe its another episode of low back pain, perhaps you rolled your ankle at netball or woke up with a stiff and painful neck. You may have heard that pilates is a great way to recover from injury, build your core strength up or “fix” your posture.

We use pilates regularly at Equip to help people transition from pain to performance. It’s a great form of exercise that can help: build strength, improve mobility, increase balance and control, develop better posture awareness, improve your tolerance to movement, increase your confidence and reduce fear of movement….

But how do you know if pilates is right for you and when is the best time to start?

There’s always a risk of generalising too much when answering this sort of question. Everyone’s story is different and there are a number of factors to consider if you’re looking to start something new after injury. There are some key guiding principles that can help.

1.Make sure you understand your injury first

This might seem odd. What I mean is make sure you know what the root cause of the problem is. A lot of injuries and pain presentations respond to movement. They can get better or worse with different types of movements, this is really common for spine presentations like low back pain.

Certain movements can make the pain better or worse. If you can understand how movement affects your pain first then the right program can be developed to make sure you get what you want out of the class without aggravating your injury/pain.

A thorough physiotherapy assessment that tests the effect of different movements on your pain is the best way to get to the root cause of the problem. But you may have a pretty good idea yourself. You can monitor your pain throughout the day and take note of the types of movements that make you feel better or worse – is there a pattern present that suggests a direction of movement is better or worse than others?Pilates Winston Hills

2. Know what you want to achieve from the class

What is it that you want to get out of the class? Is it strength, balance, posture control, better flexibility? The key is thinking how pilates fits into your overall recovery.

  • Are you hoping to build strength? Then a slow consistent approach over time is needed.
  • Are you wanting to help reduce symptoms? Then the right type of movements is key.
  • Are you wanting to build your confidence up? Then safely progressing into more complex movement is important

3. Know how to monitor your symptoms

If you have a current injury that you want to work on via a class then learning how to monitor your symptoms can help you do it safely and successfully.

For a lot of injuries reproducing tolerable levels of pain is safe (please note this is a generalisation – this advice will vary widely with different injuries. If you’re unsure about your injury – best step is to consult with your physio first).

Tolerable pain could be defined as between 3-5/10. Its the sort of pain that would make you take notice but could still move through. Reproducing tolerable pain that doesn’t worsen with repetition or is not worse the next day is typically safe and productive to work with.

The human body is amazing and we often see the pain improve over time as your tissues and nervous system adapt to the exercise!

Book an online appointment with one of our team today!

Equip Physiotherapy is here to help reduce your pain & manage injuries! Booking through our online appointment form is the most convenient way to lock in the team member & time you want.