Unspecified lower back pain is a condition that will – almost unbelievably – affect up to 90 per cent of people at some point in their lives. Recent research has begun to show that a very simple aerobic-based program might be as effective at reducing subjective pain as repeated visits to a physiotherapist for treatment with a variety of exercises and machinery.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, analysed the effects on back pain of a program that involved two to three bouts of walking per week – for between 20 minutes (initially) and 40 minutes – compared to a standard muscular strengthening program of two to three sessions per week.
The results indicated that both groups significantly improved their back pain, demonstrating, in this study at least, that a basic low intensity aerobic program might be as effective as more conventional treatment. The benefit of the walking program (in addition to the cost savings) over the rehabilitation program, is that it encourages patients to follow a healthier lifestyle overall, therefore helping to keep back pain at bay, said the authors of the study.
As I see it, the best course of action, for those of you who train clients with this potentially debilitating condition (which is probably every one of you!) is to combine a strengthening program with a low intensity aerobic program. Click HERE
to read the study abstract or to gain access to the full study article.
Do you train clients with back pain? If so, what's your usual course of action, referral to physio or an alternative rehab program?