Objective: To examine the effectiveness of rhythmic stabilization exercises and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and their combination in treating women with chronic low back pain.
Design: Sequentially allocated, single-blinded and controlled study, with a two-month follow-up.
Setting: The data were collected in a patient rehabilitation setting.
Subjects: A total of 92 women (34-46 years old) with chronic low back pain were studied.
Interventions: Sequential allocation was undertaken into four groups: ;rhythmic stabilization' (n=23), ;rhythmic stabilization - TENS' (n=23), TENS (n=23), and a placebo group (n = 23). Each programme lasted for four weeks. All outcome measures were assessed prior to, immediately after, four weeks and eight weeks post intervention.
Main measures: Data were obtained on functional disability, pain intensity, trunk extension range of motion, dynamic endurance of trunk flexion and static endurance of trunk extension.
Results: A total of 88 patients provided two-month follow-up data. The ;rhythmic stabilization' and the ;rhythmic stabilization - TENS' groups displayed statistically significant (P<0.05) improvements in functional disability and pain intensity (ranging from 21.2 to 42.8%), trunk extension range of motion (ranging from 6.5 to 25.5%), dynamic endurance of trunk flexion and static endurance of trunk extension (ranging from 13.5 to 74.3%) compared with the remaining groups.
Conclusions: The rhythmic stabilization programmes resulted in more gains in women with chronic low back pain regarding the present outcome variables compared with the other groups; therefore, its application in female chronic low back pain patients aged 34-46 years is recommended.