Immediate effect of a Pilates method exercise session on the co-contraction pattern of the trunk stabilizing muscles in individuals with and without nonspecific chronic low back pain

ABSTRACT This study aimed to analyze the immediate effect of a Pilates method exercise session on the co-contraction pattern (agonist/antagonist) of the superficial (iliocostalis lumborum and rectus abdominis) and deep (internal oblique and multifidus) muscles of the trunk in individuals with and without low back pain during local muscle endurance test. Participated in the study adult subjects of both gender, aged between 19 and 59 years, separated into two groups: the group with low back pain (n=9) and the group without low back pain (n=9). Electromyographic signals of the following muscles were collected: internal oblique (IO), multifidus lumborum (MU), iliocostalis lumborum (IL) and rectus abdominis (RA), during maximal voluntary isometric contractions and Biering-Sorensen test, before and after the exercise protocol performance of the Pilates method. The co-contractions between IO/MU right and left (IO/MUr, IO/MUl) and RA/IL right and left (RA/ILr and RA/ILl) were calculated. The co-contraction between IO/MUr, IO/MUl, RA/ILr and RA/ILl was respectively 41.4, 32.4, 56 and 31.2% higher in the group with low back pain (p<0.001 and p=0.003, p=0.004 and p=0.01). The initial condition presented antagonist co-contraction 26.3 and 43.4% higher between IO/MUr (p=0.023, p=0.03). A training session with Pilates method exercises was able to reduce co-contraction between the trunk muscles (in individuals with and without nonspecific low back pain).