The objective of this study was to determine whether interferential current prior to Pilates exercises is more effective than placebo in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain. The random sample consisted of 148 patients of both genders, with age between 18 and 80 and chronic non-specific low back pain. In addition, participants were recruited by disclosure of the treatment in the media. Patients were allocated into two groups: active interferential current (IFC) + Pilates or placebo IFC + Pilates. In the first two weeks, patients were treated for 30 minutes with active or placebo IFC. In the following four weeks, 40 minutes of Pilates exercises were added after the application of active or placebo IFC. A total of 18 sessions were offered during six weeks. The primary outcomes were pain intensity, pressure pain threshold, and disability measured at six weeks after randomization. No significant differences were found between the groups for pain (0.1 points [95% CI: – 0.9 to 1.0]), pressure pain threshold (25.3 kPa [95% CI: – 4.4 to 55.0]) and disability (0.41 points [95% CI: – 1.3 to 2.2]). However there was a significant difference between baseline and 6-week and 6-month follow-up in the intragroup analysis for all outcomes (p<0.05), except pressure pain threshold in the IFC Placebo + Pilates group.
These findings suggest that active interferential current prior to Pilates exercise is not more effective than placebo interferential current in the outcomes assessed in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.