The objective of this study was to determine whether interferential current (IFC) before Pilates exercises is more effective than placebo in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain. The random sample consisted of patients (N=148) of both sexes, with age between 18 and 80 years and chronic nonspecific low back pain. In addition, participants were recruited by disclosure of the treatment in the media. Patients were allocated into 2 groups: active IFC + Pilates or placebo IFC + Pilates. In the first 2 weeks, patients were treated for 30 minutes with active or placebo IFC. In the following 4 weeks, 40 minutes of Pilates exercises were added after the application of the active or placebo IFC. A total of 18 sessions were offered during 6 weeks.
No significant differences were found between the groups for pain (0.1 points; 95% confidence interval, -0.9 to 1.0 points), pressure pain threshold (25.3kPa; 95% confidence interval, -4.4 to 55.0kPa), and disability (0.4 points; 95% confidence interval, -1.3 to 2.2). However, there was a significant difference between baseline and 6-week and 6-month follow-ups in the intragroup analysis for all outcomes (P<.05), except pressure pain threshold in the placebo IFC + Pilates group. These findings suggest that active IFC before Pilates exercise is not more effective than placebo IFC with respect to the outcomes assessed in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.