The objective of this study was to determine whether exercises using proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) scapular and pelvic patterns might reduce the pain index and increase the lumbar flexibility of obese patients with low back pain. Thirty obese patients with low back pain were separated at random in to either an experimetal group (n=15) and a control group (n=15). The exercise program of the experimental group consisted of scapular patterns (anterior depression – posterior elevation) and pelvic patterns (anterior elevation – posterior depression). The control group performed neutral back muscle strengthening exercises. Over the course of four weeks, the groups participated in PNF or performed strengthening exercises for 30 minutes, three times each week. Subjects were assessed before and after the intervention using measurements of pain and lumbar flexibility. The results showed that lumbar flexion and lumbar extension significantly improved in the experimental group, had significant improvement and that the Oswestry Disability index (ODI) significantly decreased. However, there weren’t significant changes in the control group. The experimental group also exhibited significant differences in the pain index and lumbar flexibility from the control group.
This study showed that PNF can be employed to improve pain index rating and lumbar flexibility. The findings suggest that the experimental group experienced greater improvement than the control group by participating in the PNF lumbar stabilization program.