The Effects of a Pilates Exercise Program on Pain, Functional Capacity, and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors One Year Postsurgery

Laura Ferreira de Rezende

Bruna Luiza Thesolim

Samantha Dias de Souza

Anita Bellotto Leme Nagib

Vanessa Fonseca Vilas Boas

Pilates, breast cancer survivors, pain, functional capacity, quality of life, exercise
ONF 2022, 49(2), 125-131. DOI: 10.1188/22.ONF.125-131

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of Pilates exercises on functional capacity, pain, and quality of life in breast cancer survivors one year postsurgery.

Sample & Setting: 44 breast cancer survivors who participated in a 24-session Pilates exercise program at a physiotherapy clinic in Brazil.

Methods & Variables: This prospective longitudinal study evaluated breast cancer survivors who performed Pilates exercises for 60 minutes twice weekly. Functional capacity was analyzed using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand Questionnaire (DASH) and the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI). Pain and quality of life were also analyzed. Scores were measured on admission, after 12 sessions, and after 24 sessions.

Results: Median DASH and SPADI scores improved by 61% after 24 Pilates exercise sessions. The average number of breast cancer survivors who performed complex tasks without difficulty after 12 sessions and 24 sessions increased considerably. Pain scores significantly decreased, and quality of life significantly improved after all sessions.

Implications for Nursing: Incorporating a Pilates exercise program can decrease pain and improve functional status and quality of life among breast cancer survivors at least one year postsurgery.

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