Evaluation of Functional and Neuromuscular Changes After Exercise Rehabilitation for Low Back Pain Using a Swiss Ball: A Pilot Study

Paul W.M. Marshall and Bernadette A. Murphy

The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate deficits in patients with low back pain (LBP) over the course of a 12-week rehabilitation program using the Swiss ball.  Twenty patients with chronic nonspecific LBP performed 12 weeks of progressive exercise using a Swiss ball. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and at a 3-month follow-up.  The results show that the Oswestry score for self-reported disability significantly decreased over the intervention. Significant improvements in pain and disability maintained to the 3 months of follow-up. There were significant changes in perceptions of physical and mental well-being, erector spinae fatigue, and flexion relaxation measures. Change in flexion relaxation explained 38% of the improvement in Oswestry scores at the 12-week measurement.  The authors concluded that the Swiss ball may be successfully used in a rehabilitation context for patients with LBP.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 29, Issue 7, September 2006, Pages 550-560

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