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September 27, 2012
ALMOST everyone will experi-
ence back pain at some stage.
Most will recover rapidly,
however, for some the agony
is long term -- but there is help available
and it all started with a fellow named Jo.
Joseph Pilates developed the system
we know today as Pilates in the early
20th century in Germany. He combined
natural movement with minimal equip-
ment concentrating on posture, core sta-
bility, balance, strength, flexibility and
Although most people have heard of
pilates some still tend to think of it as a
Clinical Pilates uses the principles
developed by Joseph Pilates and incor-
porates current medical research to bring
together an effective way to control and
treat back pain.
Duntroon physiotherapist Diana
Bonner said her classes were about
building a resistance to recurring back
pain by working on restoring a strong
and flexible body.
"Rather than building a strong inflex-
ible outer shell of muscle, you are build-
ing something flexible that can absorb
movement without causing pain," she
"We look at core stability and the
tiny muscles holding onto the joints and
how they all interact with normal move-
Clinical Pilates teaches patients to
retake control of their body to control
and protect elements such as the spine.
It does this by identifying and reduc-
ing any additional movements that have
been developed to compensate for pain
when people initially hurt their back.
Techniques taught in Ms Bonner's
classes do not need fancy equipment and
use easily accessible items such as elas-
tic bands, balls, free weights, as well as
using the wall and the floor for referenc-
"The body is naturally curvy, so we
use the floor and walls to find these
curves, in an attempt to become more
aware of what is 'normal' and how to
quickly assess and restore and maintain
it," Ms Bonner said.
"You can take these exercises from
the class and use them anywhere to
underpin any and all that keeps you fit
for your lifestyle.
"It's like an insurance policy that is
going to keep your back working well."
Ms Bonner said once patients com-
pleted the program they would be able to
take the principles learnt from the class
and use them in normal training.
"The aim is to give you confidence to
do normal activities again, comfortably,
safely and without the fear of hurting
If you suffer from back pain it's important to
be examined properly by medical personnel
to ensure you get the correct treatment.
A pain of
When back pain strikes, Clinical Pilates could
deliver a solution to keep it at bay for good,
CPL Nick Wiseman reports.
JUST LIKE JO: Diana Bonner takes CPL Nick Wiseman through a Pilates exercise called a four point
kneeling position. It is a good starting position to gain control through the lumbar spine and to start to recruit
the deep abdominal muscles.
Photo: LAC Bill Solomou
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