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Curr Sports Med Rep. 2017 May/Jun;16(3):156-161. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000365.

Core Training in Low Back Disorders: Role of the Pilates Method.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


The Pilates method is a system of exercises developed by Joseph Pilates, which emphasizes recruitment and strengthening of the core muscles, flexibility, and breathing, to promote stability and control of movement. Its focus bears similarity to current evidence-based exercise programs for low back disorders. Spinal stability is a function of three interdependent systems, osseoligamentous, muscular, and neural control; exercise addresses both the muscular and neural function. The "core" typically refers to the muscular control required to maintain functional stability. Prior research has highlighted the importance of muscular strength and recruitment, with debate over the importance of individual muscles in the wider context of core control. Though developed long before the current evidence, the Pilates method is relevant in this setting and clearly relates to current evidence-based exercise interventions. Current literature supports the Pilates method as a treatment for low back disorders, but its benefit when compared with other exercise is less clear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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