It really depends at how you interpret the relevant research.
I think the really important thing to consider in answering this question isn’t the form of exercise, but the instruction given with it. I strongly believe in Clinical Pilates not because of the exercises it uses, but because of its value when the instructor is well qualified to deliver it.
At its best Clinical Pilates is provided by someone who has completed in-depth study in Pilates as a form, but, more importantly, possesses knowledge of the human body and its ailments. When this is the case, the exercises aren’t given as a formula but dependent on the particular needs of each individual.
As we now know, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to treatment for back pain.
For the most part, Pilates provides a great combination of strength and flexibility, and putting this into practice can be quite challenging for a patient. I especially enjoy it when I work with gym junkies who come into my clinic thinking that they’ll have a quiet, relaxing Pilates session only to find themselves collapsing in a heap because they have had to use muscles they didn’t know existed.
Clinical Pilates is not easy and it will put pressure on your back. But contrary to popular belief our backs are very strong, and they love to be challenged. This is why Clinical Pilates can be a great treatment.
Another factor when considering what type of exercise is best for your back is whether or not you enjoy it. There is no point jumping into a pool and doing laps if it’s something you are not going to maintain, as consistency is key. If it is the case that you enjoy Pilates, you have an educated instructor who understands your specific requirements, and you find that you are able to maintain a consistent practice, then Pilates is the best form of exercise for your back.
That being said, replace the word ‘Pilates’ in that last sentence with another appropriate form of exercise and you’re most likely onto a winner.