Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Different Weekly Frequencies of Pilates for Chronic Low Back Pain: Randomized Controlled Trial

Phys Ther. 2016 Mar;96(3):382-9. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20150404. Epub 2015 Aug 20.


Background: The Pilates method has been recommended to patients with low back pain, but the evidence on effectiveness is inconclusive. In addition, there is still no evidence for the cost-effectiveness of this method or for the ideal number of sessions to achieve the highest effectiveness.

Objective: The aim of this study will be to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Pilates method with different weekly frequencies in the treatment of patients with nonspecific low back pain.

Design: This is a randomized controlled trial with blinded assessor.

Setting: This study will be conducted at a physical therapy clinic in São Paulo, Brazil.

Participants: Two hundred ninety-six patients with nonspecific low back pain between the ages of 18 and 80 years will be assessed and randomly allocated to 4 groups (n=74 patients per group).

Intervention: All groups will receive an educational booklet. The booklet group will not receive additional exercises. Pilates group 1 will follow a Pilates-based program once a week, Pilates group 2 will follow the same program twice a week, and Pilates group 3 will follow the same program 3 times a week. The intervention will last 6 weeks.

Measurements: A blinded assessor will evaluate pain, quality-adjusted life-years, general and specific disability, kinesiophobia, pain catastrophizing, and global perceived effect 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months after randomization.

Limitations: Therapists and patients will not be blinded.

Conclusions: This will be the first study to investigate different weekly frequencies of treatment sessions for nonspecific low back pain. The results of this study will contribute to a better definition of treatment programs for this population.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02241538.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brazil
  • Catastrophization
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Exercise Movement Techniques / economics*
  • Exercise Movement Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02241538