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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2013 Jul;17(3):376-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.03.003. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

The effectiveness of a 6-week Pilates programme on outcome measures in a population of chronic neck pain patients: a pilot study.

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School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and population science, Health Sciences Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


Neck pain is becoming increasingly more common and multiple interventions have been advocated in its management. The literature supports the use of a variety of exercises including specific low load endurance exercises, scapular muscle retraining and neck and upper limb strengthening. Pilates is one form of exercise that is developing in popularity. This pilot uncontrolled study investigates whether a 6-week matwork based Pilates programme can change outcome measures in a group of chronic neck pain patients. Thirteen subjects were assessed on self-report tests; neck disability index (NDI), patient specific functional scale (PSFS), numerical rating pain scale (NRPS) and one objective measure; the abdominal drawing in test (ADIT). A statistically significant improvement was obtained in the disability outcomes (NDI and PSFS) at both 6 and 12 weeks. The NRPS also demonstrated statistical improvement at 12 weeks but not at 6. The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) is the score that reflects a change that is meaningful for the patient and this was achieved at 12-weeks for the NDI (>5 points), PSFS (>3 points) and NRPS (>2 points). Only 2 subjects reached normal levels in the ADIT at 12-weeks. The results of this pilot study suggest that Pilates has a role to play in reducing pain and disability in neck pain patients.

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