Effects of a six-week Pilates intervention on balance and fear of falling in women aged over 65 with chronic low-back pain: A randomized controlled trial


      • Fear of falling and a poor balance are two important fall risk factors.
      • We have analyzed the effects of Pilates on fear of falling and functional balance.
      • A protocol of 6 weeks of Pilates improves fear of falling in women over 65 years.
      • Pilates is a useful tool in functional balance management in women over 65 years.



      The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effects of six weeks of Pilates regarding functional balance, fear of falling and pain in community living women older than 65 years old with chronic low-back pain.

      Study design

      A single blind controlled randomized trial of six weeks of Pilates in addition to physiotherapy treatment (n = 50) vs. physiotherapy treatment alone (n = 47) was conducted on 97 community living women (71.14 ± 3.30 years) with chronic low-back pain (CLBP).

      Main outcome measures

      Main outcome measures were fear of falling (FoF), assessed by the Falls Efficacy Scale-international; functional mobility and balance, measured with the Timed up and Go Test; and pain, evaluated using the numeric rating scale.


      Only the Pilates group showed improvement in FoF (ES; d = .68) and functional mobility and balance (ES; d = 1.12) after treatment, and also had better results in pain (ES; d = 1.46) than the physiotherapy-only group.


      Six weeks of Pilates exercises may be effective in fall prevention through the improvement of FoF, functional balance, and pain in Spanish women over 65 years old with CLBP.


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