Effectiveness of the Pilates method for individuals with nonspecific low back pain: clinical and electromyographic aspects.

Abstract AIMS The aim of this study was to verify the influence of Pilates on muscle activation of lumbar multifidus (LM) and transversus abdominis/internal oblique muscles (TrA/IO) in individuals with nonspecific low back pain. METHODS Twelve individuals of both sexes with non-specific low back pain were evaluated before and after a two-month Pilates program in relation to electromyographic activity of LM and TrA/IO, as well as clinical aspects such as pain, flexibility, muscular endurance, quality of life; and Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (in relation to physical and work-related activities. A statistical analysis was performed using a test for independent samples and significance was established at the level of 0.05. RESULTS After eight weeks of Pilates training, there was an improvement in the clinical parameters of pain, flexibility, muscular endurance and disability. The individuals presented lower LM activation (p=0.025), higher trunk extension strength (p=0.005) and an increase in time from onset to peak muscle activation (p=0.02). CONCLUSION Pilates protocol was effective for clinical improvement and motor behavior in patients with nonspecific low back pain and the parameters assessed showed a large effect size despite the small sample.