Exercise and Low Back Pain
Back pain is the leading cause of disability globally and about 20% of cases become chronic (lasting longer than 12 weeks). Despite how common this condition is it still offers many challenges in terms of treating it effectively.
One thing is generally accepted and that is, for the vast majority of back pain cases movement is beneficial. The notion of bed rest as treatment is long gone. Exercise training has been effective in reducing back pain vs therapies that did not include any form of exercise.
This emphasises the importance of therapist (chiropractors included) to emphasis a “hands off” or active approach along with their “hands on” manual therapies.
There are a wide range of exercises that can be beneficial for those with back pain. “Active therapies” including Pilates, resistance training, stabilization/motor control, and aerobic training can all be effective. It is important that the patient is guided and actively encouraged to move and exercise in a progressive fashion.
Here are some general recommendations:
For Pain Reduction: Exercises such as Pilates, stabilisation/motor control and aerobic exercise resulted in pain reduction.
Physical Function: Resistance and stabilisation/motor control exercises were the most effective in improving individuals’ physical function. I.e performing daily tasks.
Mental Health: Aerobic and resistance exercise training are the types of exercises most likely to improve mental health. This is very important to consider as depression and/or anxiety are seen in a third of those with chronic low back pain.
Treatment plans must go beyond what is done in the doctor’s office. There is a type of exercise for everyone and we’ll find the type of exercise that is suitable to your goals and preferences.
Owen PJ, Miller CT, Mundell NL, et al Which specific modes of exercise training are most effective for treating low back pain? Network meta-analysis British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 30 October 2019. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-100886