Pilates and Back Pain with Sonje Mayo

I Have A Client With Back Pain

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With decades of experience as a Physical Therapist and a direct student of Joseph Pilates, Sonjé Mayo is here to help you know what to do when your client arrives complaining of backache. In this 2 hour workshop for teachers, she explains in easy to understand terms the causes of back pain from anatomy to how it’s presented by your client. You'll learn what to do (and what to avoid) for specific issues like herniated discs to spondylolisthesis. To demonstrate how to work with your clients, Sonjé takes students with different causes of pain through specific exercises that will bring relief and strength back to the body. Click HERE to view or print out the handout from this workshop. For lessons, workshop requests, teacher training, and Schroth work, visit Sonjé at http://Sonjémayo.com/.

What Others Are Saying


  1. Edita 9 months ago

    Thank you, Sonje! You made the class so interesting by sharing stories and explaining things in such a simple and fun way! You are an amazing teacher and so knowledgeable too! Love your videos…learning a lot from you! Thanks again! <3

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 9 months ago

      Thank you Edita for being such a loyal follower. It is always gratifying to hear that you are enjoying and learning!

  2. Ly 1 year ago

    Amazing! Thanks

  3. davister
    davister 2 years ago

    Wonderful. Love the teaching style. Great job made to get this information to be so easily understood. Although are there not 5 different grades for Spondylolisthesis? (as opposed to 3 as stated at 47mins). Perhaps there are different grading systems in different countries.

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

      Yes you are quite correct. There are 5 classifications for Spondylolisthesis. A grade three Spondylolisthesis is probably going to require surgery, but it can still be treated conservatively. Usually grades 4 and 5 need surgery, so we usually don’t see those until after surgery.

      • davister
        davister 2 years ago

        Oh yes.. 3 grades in context relevant in what would be presented to us. I really appreciate the clarification and the time taken to reply. Again I would like to say I’m amazed how how the 2 hours of information you have presented sticks in my memory so clearly. I feel I can recall almost every detail you gave which is remarkable given the subject matter. Normally I need to watch these kind of videos over and over (and over!) again…… Thanks so much sharing your experience and wisdom. I love the way you so correctly mimic exactly what our clients say even to the intonation! I’m How wonderful through this platform to be able to help so many teachers worldwide (I’m in Spain) and all their client base that benefit too. Brilliant..:)

        • Sonjé Mayo Author
          Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

          Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback! Pilatesology does indeed create a wonderful network and brings us all together.

  4. Victoria Sommer 2 years ago

    Dear Sonje, I have a question about refered pain down the leg. The Quadratus lumborum has a similar pattern disguising as false sciatica with pain down the back leg, if she has a all clear xray and mri would that not be worth looking intö? . I am asking, cause you said, to not touch her if the pain runs down the leg…

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

      Hello Victoria,
      Quadratus Lumborum syndrome can cause referred pain but it is usually down THE FRONT OF THE THIGH. This is also accompanied by constant low back pain, outer hip and buttocks pain and groin pain.
      Commonly disc prolapse occurs at L4 and L5 causing referred pain down the back of the entire leg in to the foot.
      Piriformis syndrome will also manifest differently because the pain is mainly in the buttocks/hip area with some referred pain down the back of the thigh.
      Uterine and ovarian masses can also cause L5 neuropathy, which mimics sciatica.
      So you are quite correct in that every possibility has to be investigated medically. Usually the area of neuropathy points us to the cause.
      Once the cause is clear, you will know to proceed taking your lead from the PT who will deal with the acute condition.
      Hope this helped…

  5. Mileta Smith
    Mileta Smith 2 years ago

    Awesome workshop! Thank you for posting this. Very helpful…thank you again!

  6. katarinka 2 years ago

    Great workshop. Thank you

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

      My pleasure Katarinka….I am pleased that you found it informative

  7. Tami Nixon 2 years ago

    Great workshop! So honored to learn from such a talented instructor. Thank you!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

      Thank you Tami. Pleased that it was of value to you!

  8. ewapilates
    ewapilates 2 years ago

    An unprecedented example of knowledge, wisdom and intelligence:) That is Sonje as such …. plus her unique ability to teach others – a huge THANK YOU:)

  9. Sonjé Mayo Author
    Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

    Always good to have your comments…..I look forward to seeing you in Nashville again!!

  10. pilatesangel 2 years ago

    Thank you Sonje for the reminders of the various pathologies. When it comes to the spondy’s it can be confusing to remember the differences and your detailed breakdown and emphasis building a solid trust and rapport with the client is so true in a post physical therapy environment. Homework is key… and you can tell who does it and who says they do 🙂 Love to you from Bama! Hope to see you soon in Nashville!

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