Objective: To evaluate the influence of pain on vertical ground-reaction force (VGRF) in patients with low back problems and the effect of the Pilates method on the gait of these patients.
Design: A single-blind randomized controlled trial.
Participants: 28 individuals assigned to a control group (n = 11) and a low-back group (n = 17), the latter of which was subdivided into a Pilates group (n = 8) and a no-Pilates group (n = 9).
Intervention: The Pilates group undertook 15 sessions of Pilates.
Main outcome measures: The VGRF parameters were recorded during preferred and faster walking speeds. The data were collected before and after the intervention.
Results: The weight-acceptance rate and push-off rate were significantly less in the right lower limb of low-back group than of the control group at preferred speed. Improvements were seen in the Pilates group postintervention, with increased middle-support force for the left lower limb at faster walking speed and decreased pain; this did not occur in the no-Pilates group.
Conclusions: These results suggest that patients with low back pain use strategies to attenuate the amount of force imposed on their body. The Pilates method can improve weight discharge in gait and reduce pain compared with no intervention.