Low back pain is one of the most common problems that affects adults. About 80% of us will suffer at least one significant episode in our lives, and a large study was just published that described what therapy works and what does not work to prevent further attacks.
The study included several researchers from Brazil (Federal University of Minas Gerais), as well as Australia, and was published in the January 11 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers reviewed more than 6000 previous research studies regarding treatment for low back pain, and they selected the top studies—covering over 30,000 patients—to reach their conclusions. Their main goal was to find out: how can people who have one attack of severe back pain prevent another attack?
They compared several possible therapies: education about how to protect the lower back, an exercise program, education combined with exercise, shoe orthotics, or a back belt. They found that the only thing that helped was exercise, or exercise combined with education about back issues.
The people that combined education along with an exercise program did the best, as this strategy cut their risk of suffering another attack (within a year) by 45%. The people that did exercise alone enjoyed a 35% reduction in risk. Those that only relied on education (without exercise), shoe orthotics, or a back brace did not enjoy any reduction in future attacks of low back pain.
Interestingly, the type of exercise did not seem to matter. Some of the participants focused mostly on back and core (abdominal and pelvic areas) exercise, but the others who did more general training, including aerobics with balance and strength training, did just as well. Most of the patients were committed to 2 or 3 supervised exercise sessions per week.
If you have one episode of low back pain, it is important to try to prevent further attacks, not only to prevent more pain, but to avoid a “cycle of decline”. This can occur if someone has several attacks of back pain, and because of that spends lots of time on the couch being sedentary, which leads to weakened muscles of the back and core area. With weaker muscles, the person is more prone to even more attacks of pain, so you can see how this downward spiral can occur.
Exercising your back and core muscles will take stress off your spine, as your muscles will be stronger and better able to support the backbones and ligaments. If you have this problem, talk to a knowledgeable trainer at the gym or to a physiotherapist or other medical specialist with an interest in back problems, so you can follow a safe and effective program. And then, follow a good program for life, as your muscles will need to stay strong as long as you want to be walking and free of pain.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)