BPL1: Pilates for Back Pain with Gillian Greenwood

by | Jul 26, 2017 | Podcast

The first ever episode of the Back Pain Liberation podcast is all about the benefits of Pilates for back pain.

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I’m very pleased to introduce Gillian Greenwood who’s been teaching Pilates in London for 17 years.

I was fascinated to hear Gillian’s take on the unconscious posture habits that can lead to back problems, as well as the effect of our state of mind on chronic pain.

You’ll hear how Pilates has been the way forward for the students in Gillian’s classes who fixed their back and neck problems through this training.

It’s easy to feel that you are struggling alone with chronic back pain; so it’s heartening to hear that plenty of other people have had this same problem and found ways to get themselves out of pain.

Excerpts from the Show

pilates for back pain
  • I’m going to give you the best exercise for your lower back now and it’s very easy. It’s all about lengthening the spine…..this exercise isn’t in the book, it’s an extra for your podcast.
  • There’s a myth called ‘No Pain No Gain’.
  • A lot of back pain comes from people trying to stabilise using their lower back, their jaw, their neck, their feet. They have this armour that they use to cope with life….and if they didn’t tense up that part of their back they would go a little crazy. We need to do something….if we’re thinking about something we have to react to it.

On Posture

  • We want to have length in the spine and the compression taken out of the spine so that it can move in a fluid way and the nerves can operate freely without triggering pain.
  • ‘Core strength’ has been bandied about…..people don’t understand it really means using their pelvic floor a little bit, their tummy a little bit and lengthening up.
  • It’s not that important to be able to touch your toes. What’s more important is that your flexibility, and areas that are not so flexible, are in balance….so we don’t want one area to be extra bendy, because that will be the movement that the body always does, and an area that’s tight and tense won’t do any movement.

Pilates for Back Pain

  • Pilates helps people to promote better muscle recruitment……when they are walking, running, anything in daily life their back won’t be strained.
  • Whatever the task is, Pilates will help them do it more efficiently, using the correct muscles, with their postural muscles holding them properly.
  • Pilates helped with the tension I got when I worked in an office.
  • Pilates helps you to stand, sit better – have better posture.
  • Way back in the 1930s Jospeh Pilates discovered the secret to solving back problems.
  • Most of my students had, or have, backache/neckache. I’ve either beeen able to get rid of it or help them to maintain it (when they don’t come to classes it starts to come back, they do a few exercises at home and that helps to keep it at bay).

The Book


Gillian’s new book Pilates and Lifestyle with an introduction by Julian Clary is out now on Kindle.

  • I want the book to be something that everyone can get something out of.
  • Julian Clary does Pilates in the shower.

Today’s Guest

Pilates teacher and author Gillian Greenwood.

Thanks for Listening!


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Thanks to Karen for joining me this time.




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