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Is Interferential Current Before Pilates Exercises More Effective Than Placebo in Patients With Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain?

A Randomized Controlled Trial
Published:October 19, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2016.08.485

      Abstract

      Objective

      To determine whether interferential current (IFC) before Pilates exercises is more effective than placebo in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.

      Design

      Two-arm randomized controlled trial, with a blinded assessor, and 6 months follow-up.

      Setting

      Clinic of a school of physical therapy.

      Participants

      The random sample consisted of patients (N=148) of both sexes, with age between 18 and 80 years and chronic nonspecific low back pain. In addition, participants were recruited by disclosure of the treatment in the media.

      Interventions

      Patients were allocated into 2 groups: active IFC + Pilates or placebo IFC + Pilates. In the first 2 weeks, patients were treated for 30 minutes with active or placebo IFC. In the following 4 weeks, 40 minutes of Pilates exercises were added after the application of the active or placebo IFC. A total of 18 sessions were offered during 6 weeks.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The primary outcome measures were pain intensity, pressure pain threshold, and disability measured at 6 weeks after randomization.

      Results

      No significant differences were found between the groups for pain (0.1 points; 95% confidence interval, −0.9 to 1.0 points), pressure pain threshold (25.3kPa; 95% confidence interval, −4.4 to 55.0kPa), and disability (0.4 points; 95% confidence interval, −1.3 to 2.2). However, there was a significant difference between baseline and 6-week and 6-month follow-ups in the intragroup analysis for all outcomes (P<.05), except pressure pain threshold in the placebo IFC + Pilates group.

      Conclusions

      These findings suggest that active IFC before Pilates exercise is not more effective than placebo IFC with respect to the outcomes assessed in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CLBP (chronic low back pain), IFC (interferential current), PPT (pressure pain threshold)
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