Pilates improves pain, function and quality of life in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial

Clin Rehabil. 2015 Jan;29(1):59-68. doi: 10.1177/0269215514538981. Epub 2014 Jun 25.


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of pilates method on patients with chronic non-specific low back pain (LBP).

Method: A randomized controlled trial was carried out in sixty patients with a diagnosis of chronic non-specific LBP. Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Experimental Group (EG) that maintained medication treatment with use of NSAID and underwent treatment with the pilates method and Control Group (CG) that continue medication treatment with use of NSAID and did not undergo any other intervention. A blinded assessor performed all evaluations at baseline (T0), after 45, 90, and 180 days (T45, T90 and T180) for: pain (VAS), function (Roland Morris questionnaire), quality of life (SF-36), satisfaction with treatment (Likert scale), flexibility (sit and reach test) and NSAID intake.

Results: The groups were homogeneous at baseline. Statistical differences favoring the EG were found with regard to pain (P < 0.001), function (P < 0.001) and the quality of life domains of functional capacity (P < 0.046), pain (P < 0.010) and vitality (P < 0.029). Statistical differences were also found between groups regarding the use of pain medication at T45, T90 and T180 (P < 0.010), with the EG taking fewer NSAIDs than the CG.

Conclusions: The pilates method can be used by patients with LBP to improve pain, function and aspects related to quality of life (functional capacity, pain and vitality). Moreover, this method has no harmful effects on such patients.

Keywords: Low back pain; exercise; pain rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Diclofenac / administration & dosage*
  • Diclofenac / therapeutic use
  • Exercise Movement Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / drug therapy
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Diclofenac