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Muscle Activation During Pilates Exercises in Participants With Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Cross-Sectional Case-Control Study

Published:September 29, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2016.09.111

      Abstract

      Objective

      To determine the amplitude of the electromyographic activity of trunk muscles during Pilates exercises in women with and without chronic low back pain (LBP).

      Design

      Case-control study.

      Setting

      University physical therapy clinic.

      Participants

      Women (N=60) divided into an LBP group and a control group.

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Amplitude of the electromyographic activity (root mean square values) of the gluteus maximus and external oblique muscles collected during 3 Pilates exercises: Shoulder Bridge performed on the mat, and Hip Roll and Breathing performed in equipment. Pain intensity was assessed in the LBP group.

      Results

      The amplitude of the electromyographic activity was similar between groups (P≥.05). For both groups, the amplitude of the gluteus maximus was higher in the Shoulder Bridge exercise compared with the Hip Roll with 2 springs (control group: mean difference [MD]=.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], .05–.41; LBP group: MD=.29; 95% CI, .16–.31) and the Breathing exercise (control group: MD=−.40; 95% CI, −.55 to −.26; LBP group: MD=−.36; 95% CI, −.52 to −.20). The amplitude of the external oblique muscle was higher in the Shoulder Bridge compared with the Hip Roll with 2 springs (control group: MD=.13; 95% CI, .05–.21; LBP group: MD=.18; 95% CI, .03–.33). Pain intensity increased after exercises, but this increase was lower for the mat exercises.

      Conclusions

      Similar muscle activation between groups was found. The findings suggest that mat exercises caused less pain and a greater difference in the amplitude of muscle activation compared with the equipment-based exercises.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      LBP (low back pain)
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