Background: Chronic low back pain is one of the biggest health problems around the world. It is considered as one of the main causes of disability, high medical expenses and absenteeism. Chronic low back pain can be treated indifferent ways. However, the efficacy of most of these treatments has not been studied so medical intervention for chronic low back pain varies widely. Stabilization exercise is one form of physiotherapy treatment recommended in some guidelines. However, there is an argument about the effectiveness of this intervention.
Objective: This systematic review aimed to investigate the effectiveness of stabilization exercises on patients with chronic low back pain and disability.
Study Design: Systematic Review.
Search Strategy: An online research through the electronic databases, such as Ovid, Medline, CINHAL, Google Scholar, Cochrane library, Pedro database and Pub med was conducted. Citation searches within studies, as well as online tracking of references were also conducted in this review.
Mean of Analysis: The Pedro scale was used to assess the quality of the included randomized controlled trials, where studies which scored equal to or more than 5/10 were considered as a high quality studies. In addition, a simple qualitative analysis was performed to analyze data and give accurate results.
Main Results: Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria. Seventeen studies were randomized controlled studies; one was a study case series, one a cohort study, and one a comparative study. The most outcome measures among the studies were pain (numerical pain rating scale, visual analogue scale and short-form McGill pain scale) and disability (Ronald & Morris disability questionnaire and Oswestry disability questionnaire). The results show significant changes between the studies in terms of pain and disability. However, there is moderate evidence about effectiveness of the stabilization exercises for long term sufferers (>6 months).
Conclusion: Using stabilization exercises on patients with chronic low back pain is helpful to reduce pain and disability. However, there is no preference for this intervention over other physiotherapy interventions.
Recommendation: High quality studies are needed to investigate the efficacy of this intervention for long term.