Walking away from back pain

March 5, 2013, Tel Aviv University

Lower back pain is a common complaint, and treatment often requires many hours of physical therapy over multiple weekly clinic visits—a costly commitment. Now Dr. Michal Katz-Leurer of Tel Aviv University's Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine says that a simple aerobic walking program is as effective in alleviating lower back pain as muscle strengthening programs that require specialized equipment in rehabilitation clinics. The program includes walking two to three times a week for a period of 20 to 40 minutes,

Dr. Katz-Leurer and her colleague Ilana Shnayderman, a graduate student at the Department of Physical Therapy and a practicing at Maccabi Health Care, say that their fits easily into a daily routine and allows those with back to be more responsible for their own health.

Their study was published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation.

A simple solution

According to Dr. Katz-Leurer, research has shown that when people walk actively, abdominal and back muscles work in much the same way as when they complete exercises that target these areas. And unlike muscle strengthening programs, which often call for specific equipment and can involve exercises that require expert supervision, walking is a simple activity that can be done alone.

For the study, the researchers recruited 52 patients with to participate in a randomized control trial. Through questionnaires, they were initially assessed for pain levels, feelings of disability, and avoidance of daily activities, as well as muscle and walking endurance.

Then, half of the participants completed a typical clinic-based muscle strengthening program, with two to three exercise sessions a week for six weeks. The other half completed a six-week aerobic , walking two to three times weekly. Participants started with 20 minutes of walking, then progressed to 40 minutes as their endurance improved.

Results showed that both groups improved significantly in all areas of assessment, demonstrating that the walking program was "as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic," says Dr. Katz-Leurer.

The path to a healthier lifestyle

Dr. Katz-Leurer says that the walking program has the additional advantage of encouraging patients to follow a healthier lifestyle overall. In terms of physical fitness, those in the walking group were able to walk an average of 0.05 miles farther during a six-minute walking test at the end of the program compared to the pre-program assessments.

She also notes that that regularly active people are less likely to suffer typical aches and pains over their lifetime. , a low-impact activity, also lowers blood pressure, boosts brain and immune system functioning, and reduces stress, she says.

Explore further: Exercise program improved health of lung transplant patients and cut cardiovascular risk

Related Stories

Exercise program improved health of lung transplant patients and cut cardiovascular risk

June 21, 2012
Lung transplant patients who took part in a three-month structured exercise program when they were discharged from hospital improved their health-related quality of life and reduced their risk of cardiovascular problems.

Walking skills program improves physical function following hip replacement surgery

December 15, 2011
Researchers in Norway report that patients who receive walking skills training following total hip arthroplasty for osteoarthritis show improved physical function. The physical therapy program displayed a positive effect ...

Fewer than half US adults get enough exercise

August 7, 2012
Fewer than half of US adults get enough physical activity for their health, said a US government study released Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.