[Purpose] To evaluate the effects of Pilates on patients with chronic low back pain through a systematic review of high-quality articles on randomized controlled trials. [Subjects and Methods] Keywords and synonyms for “Pilates” and “Chronic low back pain” were used in database searches. The databases included PubMed, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), Medline, and the Cochrane Library. Articles involving randomized controlled trials with higher than 5 points on the PEDro scale were reviewed for suitability and inclusion. The methodological quality of the included randomized controlled trials was evaluated using the PEDro scale. Relevant information was extracted by 3 reviewers. [Results] Eight randomized controlled trial articles were included. Patients with chronic low back pain showed statistically significant improvement in pain relief and functional ability compared to patients who only performed usual or routine health care. However, other forms of exercise were similar to Pilates in the improvement of pain relief and functional capacity. [Conclusion] In patients with chronic low back pain, Pilates showed significant improvement in pain relief and functional enhancement. Other exercises showed effects similar to those of Pilates, if waist or torso movement was included and the exercises were performed for 20 cumulative hours.
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