Does core stability exercise improve lumbopelvic stability (through endurance tests) more than general exercise in chronic low back pain? A quasi-randomized controlled trial.

The aim was to compare core stability and general exercises (GEs) in chronic low back pain (LBP) patients based on lumbopelvic stability (LPS) assessment through three endurance core stability tests. There is a controversy about preference of core stability exercise (CSE) over other types of exercise for chronic LBP. Studies which have compared these exercises used other outcomes than those related to LPS. As it is claimed that CSE enhances back stability, endurance tests for LPS were used. A 16-session CSE program and a GE program with the same duration were conducted for two groups of participants. Frequency of interventions for both groups was three times a week. Forty-three people (aged 18-60 years) with chronic non-specific LBP were alternately allocated to core stability (n = 22) or GE group (n = 21) when admitted. The primary outcomes were three endurance core stability tests including: (1) trunk flexor; (2) trunk extensor; and (3) side bridge tests. Secondary outcomes were disability and pain. Measurements were taken at baseline and the end of the intervention. After the intervention, test times increased and disability and pain decreased within groups. There was no significant difference between two groups in increasing test times (p = 0.23 to p = 0.36) or decreasing disability (p = 0.16) and pain (p = 0.73).

CSE is not more effective than GE for improving endurance core stability tests and reducing disability and pain in chronic non-specific LBP patients.