This single-assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial aimed to compare the efficacy of physiotherapy-delivered clinical Pilates and general exercise for chronic low back pain.
Eighty-seven community volunteers with low back pain for ≥3 months and age 18–70 were randomized to either the Pilates (n = 44) or general exercise (n = 43) group. The primary outcome was pain/disability measured with the Quebec scale. Secondary outcomes included pain on a numeric rating scale, Patient-Specific Functional Scale, Pain Self-efficacy Questionnaire, quality of life, and global perceived effect of treatment. All participants attended 60-min exercise sessions twice weekly for 6 wk supervised by a physiotherapist and performed daily home exercises that were continued during the follow-up. Participants from the clinical Pilates group received an individualized direction-specific exercise program prescribed by the physiotherapist after a clinical examination. The general exercise group received a generic set of exercises that were multidirectional and nonspecific. Outcomes were assessed after 6 wk (primary time point) and at 12 and 24 wk. Differences in mean change were compared between groups using ANCOVA adjusted for baseline values of the outcome.
Eighty-three participants (96%) completed the 6-wk intervention and 60 (69%) completed the 24-wk follow-up. At 6 wk, no difference was found between groups for change in the Quebec scale (3.5, 95% confidence interval = −7.3 to 0.3, P = 0.07); both groups showed significant improvements. Similar results were found at the 12- and 24-wk follow-up and for the secondary outcome measures.
An individualized clinical Pilates program produced similar beneficial effects on self-reported disability, pain, function and health-related quality of life as a general exercise program in community volunteers with chronic low back pain.
Supplemental digital content is available in the text.
1DMA Physiotherapy and Clinical Pilates, South Yarra, Victoria, AUSTRALIA; 2Back in Motion Health Group, Mulgrave, Victoria, AUSTRALIA; and 3Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
Address for correspondence: Dr Henry Wajswelner, DMA Clinical Pilates Physiotherapy, 1 Yarra St South Yarra, Victoria 3141 Australia; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted for publication November 2011.
Accepted for publication December 2011.
Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (www.acsm-msse.org).