Sixteen trials were included; study sizes ranged from 30 to 346 participants. PEDro quality scores ranged from 4 to 9 out of 10 and 10 studies were deemed to be of high quality.
When compared to general exercise, motor control exercise reduced short-term pain (MD -7.80, 95% CI -10.95 to -4.65; seven trials) and intermediate-term pain (MD -6.06, 95% CI -10.94 to -1.18; three trials). It also reduced disability in the short-term (MD -4.65, 95% CI -6.20 to -3.11; six trials), intermediate-term (MD -4.86, 95% CI -8.59 to -1.13; three trials) and long-term (MD -4.72, 95% CI -8.81 to -0.63; three trials).
When compared to spinal manual therapy, motor control exercise led to no differences in pain but reduced disability in the short-term (MD -6.12, 95% CI -11.94 to -0.30; three trials), intermediate-term (MD -5.27, 95% CI -9.52 to -1.01; two trials) and long-term (MD -5.76, 95% CI -9.21 to -2.32; three trials).
When compared to minimal intervention, motor control exercise reduced pain and disability at all three time periods (two trials; three trials for short-term disability).
Four trials compared motor control exercise and multimodal physical therapy. An analysis was only possible for the intermediate term where motor control exercise reduced pain (MD -14.20, 95% CI -21.23 to -7.16) and disability (MD -12.98, 95% CI -19.49 to -6.47; two trials).
Two trials considered motor control exercise as part of a multimodal therapy. No analysis could be conducted (results from the trials were presented).