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Planning Retirement Online

Home Exercise and Rehab

May 2012  


Gina John Gina John is a Pilates Practitioner and Registered Osteopath who has spent many years offering help and advice, especially to the over 50 age group.

She is founder of The Osprey Clinic in the St. Johns Wood area of London and now specialises in Home Exercise and Rehabilitation Programmes. For further advice on exercising safely, and a selection of exercise films for general fitness and medical conditions, visit the website:




This month Gina looks at lower back pain.

Q: I have read that exercising my abdominal muscles will strengthen my low back? Does that mean that I won’t suffer back pain any more, if I follow this advice?


A: You can improve the strength and support for your back muscles by exercising, and in many cases patients completely resolve their back complaint. But, it very much depends on the cause of your back pain.

Photo by Lynn HiltonIt is essential to seek a medical diagnosis of your condition as back pain may be referred from the internal organs including, the womb, prostate, gallbladder, kidneys and stomach.

If a muscle of joint problem is diagnosed, then you would be wise to consider a short daily exercise programme for resolving or managing the problem. By strengthening the abdominal muscles, you can provide a corset- like support for your low back, thereby helping your deep spinal and postural muscles to work more efficiently while standing or engaged in physical activities. Pilates-based exercises are very effective for this, when practised regularly.

Gentle stretching exercises for your back as well as you buttock, hip and thigh area, will also help to relieve your symptoms.

In aiming to resolve chronic back pain, it is essential to consider your posture. For example, if you are aware that your shoulders slope forwards, then make a habit of always trying to stand and sit up straight and pull the shoulders down towards the back of your waist. Photo by Lynn HiltonAnd, if your back aches during or after car journeys or when sitting at the computer, try to support your low back with a pillow. Over time, just by making these adjustments during your daily activities may help to resolve or manage your back pain. Pilates Instructors or Physiotherapists will also be able to give you advice on correcting your posture.


Please send your questions for future columns, or feedback, by email to Gina John on



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