TO INVESTIGATE IF A SINGLE PROGRAMME OF PILATES EXERCISE WILL HAVE AN EFFECT ON STATIC SITTING BALANCE
LOUISE O’ ROURKE
If postural control is impaired, the dynamic stability of the lumbar spine may be compromised, and therefore it may be vulnerable to a lower back injury. Increased postural sway was found in Lower Back Pain patients. Lower Back Pain is a frequently occurring injury that may be caused by altered muscle recruitment patterns. Pilates is proposed to be a treatment strategy to target altered recruitment patterns through neuromuscular reeducation. Static sitting balance was thought an appropriate measure for the present study because it isolates the lumbar spine from the lower body. Evidence-based research for the effect of Pilates remains scarce and no previous research has investigated whether a single programme of Pilates exercises will have an effect on static sitting balance.
The purpose of the study was to investigate if a single programme of Pilates exercises will have an effect on static sitting balance.
The study was a quasi-experimental design. A convenient sample of 20 healthy participants, aged 18-40 years was used. There was a control group and an experimental group (Pilates exercises). A Kistler force plate was used to measure anterior-posterior sway and medial-lateral postural sway, pre and post-test. The intervention involved four Pilates exercises, five repetitions of each exercise.
Data was analysed using a 2×2 mixed measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Statistical analysis showed no significant difference in anterior-posterior sway between pre and post levels, for both the Pilates and the control group (P=0.088). Hence, the null hypothesis (H₀₁) was accepted. However, there was a significant difference in the medial-lateral postural sway between the pre and post levels for both groups (P=0.018). Therefore, the experimental hypothesis (H₂) is accepted. There was no significant group effect for anterior-posterior postural sway or for medial-lateral postural sway.
The significant results show medial-lateral postural sway actually increased between the pre and post levels for both groups indication static balance. Based on the results of the present study, the use of Pilates exercises as a treatment for static sitting balance should be questioned. However, the present study is by no means definitive and more rigorous research with a longer time period is required to establish the effectiveness of Pilates exercises.