The purpose of this study was to determine and compare the effects of core stability exercise programs performed in two different environments in lumbar disc herniation (LDH) patients.
Thirty-one patients who were diagnosed with LDH and were experiencing pain or functional disability for at least 3 months were randomly divided into two groups as land-based exercises or water specific therapy. Also, 15 age-sex-matched healthy individuals were recruited as healthy controls. Both groups underwent an 8-week (3 times/week) core stabilization exercise program. Primary outcomes were pain, trunk muscle static endurance and perceived disability level. The secondary outcome was health-related quality of life.
Level of static endurance of trunk muscles was found to be lower in the patients compared to the controls at baseline (p < 0.05). Both treatment groups showed significant improvements in all outcomes (p < 0.05) after 8-week intervention. When two treatment groups were compared, no differences were found in the amount of change after the intervention (p > 0.05). After the treatment, static endurance of trunk muscles of the LDH patients became similar to controls (p > 0.05).
According to these results, core stabilization exercise training performed on land or in water both could be beneficial in LDH patients and there is no difference between the environments.
An 8-week core stabilization program performed in water or on land decreases pain level and improves functional status in LDH patients.
Both programs seem beneficial to increase health-related quality of life and static endurance of trunk muscles. Core stability exercises could be performed in water as well, no differences were found between methods due to the environment.