The purpose of this study was to determine the short- and long-term effectiveness of the application of Clinical Pilates in addition to physical therapy versus a physical therapy treatment alone in a population of postmenopausal women with chronic low back pain (CLBP).
A single-blind randomized controlled trial with repeated measures and a follow-up period. One hundred and one patients were randomly allocated to a Pilates and physical therapy (PPT) group or to a physical therapy (PT) only group for six weeks. Pain and disability were measured by visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry disability index respectively preintervention, after 6 weeks of treatment and after 1-year follow-up.
There were significant differences between groups in pain and disability after 6 weeks of treatment, with better results in the PPT group with an effect size of d = 3.14 and d = 2.33 for pain and disability. After 1-year follow-up, only PPT group showed better results compared with baseline with an effect size of d = 2.49 and d = 4.98 for pain and disability.
The results suggest that using Clinical Pilates in addition to physical therapy provides improved results on pain management and functional status for postmenopausal woman with CLBP and that its benefits still linger after one year.
Chronic Low Back Pain could benefit from the Pilates practice in postmenopausal women. Improvement in pain and disability derived from CLBP seem to be maintained over time due to Pilates practice. Pilates constitutes a safe tool to be applied in older population with CLBP due to its ability to be adapted to every performance and physical level.