As much as we do to keep healthy and stay fit, the Westwood lifestyle can sometimes wreak havoc on our bodies. The long hours spent commuting to and from work and then sitting at a desk all day, rushing off to weight training sessions and basically over-doing it with CrossFit, and wearing heels to go from function to function can all lead to bodily pain. Many of us don’t want to pay attention to it, but there is an effective way that we can learn pain management skills.



Pilates can help.

Pain Management with Sheppard Method Pilates in Westwood, CA  

Four out of five people will complain of pain at some point in their lives. Sheppard Method Pilates can be a great help to those suffering from any type of pain. Practitioners use Pilates exercises to control neck and shoulder pain, lower back pain, and pain in the legs and hips. Research has shown that using proper breathing techniques while doing the exercises can generate enough intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize the lower back. Keeping the head, neck, and shoulder girdle aligned helps the Pilates participant to coordinate the placement of the lower body for maximal muscular contraction. These contractions stimulate sore muscles to relieve tension and ultimately bring about relief.

Even mild injuries can sometimes leave us with annoying pain management issues for the rest of our lives. Our daily activities, or lack of activity, can also be to blame. Sitting all day can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders, and lower back. The exercises that we do may aggravate muscles throughout the body. Wearing high heels on a regular basis or for long periods can cause pain in the hips and legs. According to the Pilates Method, core strengthening is the key to rehabilitation and pain management.

Pilates Mat Exercises for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain can be caused by activities like sitting too long at a computer, poor posture, or working too hard on the weight lifting bench. The neck is vulnerable to wear and tear conditions like arthritis, injury, and postural misalignment. The following Pilates exercises help to relieve that pain by first tensing affected muscles and then releasing them.

Swan Dive

  • Lie face-down with your forehead resting on your hand.
  • Breathe out and allow your breastbone to hover off the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat.

Shoulder Blade Press-ups

  • Kneel on all fours with hands beneath shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Drape a band around shoulders and hold it beneath hands.
  • Draw in abdominals and breathe in.
  • Breathe out and push the floor away with your hands so rib cage is slightly lifted.
  • Breathe in to relax keeping elbows straight.

For Help with Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the most common form of pain experienced by those who come to Pilates seeking relief. Pain in this region is often brought on by injury, overuse or disuse of the muscles. Also, with age, the cushioning discs between the vertebrae shrink and wear away leading to sometimes excruciating bouts of pain. These exercises may help with lower back pain.

Pelvic Curl

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-length apart and flat on the floor.
  • With arms at your sides and palms facing downward, consciously relax your neck, shoulders, and lower back.
  • Inhale to prepare. Exhale to set the core.
  • Slowly curl your pelvis and spine off the floor, one vertebra at the time.
  • With pelvis at maximum posterior tilt, inhale and hold at the top.
  • Exhale while slowly lowering the trunk, one vertebra at a time.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Spinal Twist

  • Lie flat on the floor with legs in a tabletop position.
  • Stretch arms out to the side with palms facing up.
  • Exhale and pull the abdominals in with a slight posterior pelvic twist.
  • Pull the inner thighs together.
  • Inhale. Rotate the spine and pelvis to one side, touching the knees to the floor.
  • Exhale and rotate back to center.
  • Inhale and rotate the spine to the other side.
  • Return to the center.
  • Repeat sequence, 5 times on each side.

Exercises for Hip and Leg Pain

Wearing high heels too often and for too long or simply wearing the wrong shoes can lead to pain in the legs and hips. If left untreated, pain in this region will only get worse. These exercises may help to ease that pain.


  • Lie on your side with hips slightly bent and knees bent to 90 degrees.
  • Push the top hip away slightly to lift your weight off the floor.
  • Breathe out and lift your top knee keeping your heels together.
  • Breathe in while lowering your knee.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side.

Donkey Kicks

  • On all fours, lean on your elbows and knees.
  • Tuck your tailbone in so your spine is straight.
  • Breathe out and tighten abdominals.
  • Lift one leg out behind you with your knee bent.
  • Breathe in as you lower your knee.
  • Breathe out and lift it again.
  • Repeat exercise 10 times on each side.

These are just a few of the many exercises used as part of the Pilates Method. A studio with professional teachers who can target your needs and offer a personalized program is the key to getting relief from your pain.

Sheppard Method Pilates 

For help with pain management, contact us at Sheppard Method Pilates. We provide high quality, personalized Pilates for all ages and fitness levels. Our facility at 2180 Westwood Boulevard supports private Pilates, semi-private Pilates classes, mat classes, group fitness classes, and nutrition consultation for clients in Westwood, West LA, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood Hills, Century City, Cheviot Hills, and Westwood. We also offer Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) certified teacher training.

It’s time to create a healthier pain-free life with a strong mind-body connection.