Most musculoskeletal therapists are now aware that exercise is important for rehabilitation of low-back pain symptoms. But what kind of program produces the best results?
A recent study of 148 low-back pain patients who were separated into three groups: manual therapy, muscle conditioning and low-impact aerobics. Each subject performed his/her prescribed treatment/exercise twice weekly for 12 weeks after which pain and lumbar mobility were evaluated.
Surprisingly, the study found all three groups experienced a similar amount of improvement in pain relief, pain frequency and ability to perform daily tasks. They also found these effects were maintained for months after their programs had ended.
This indicates that inactivity is the problem for chronic low-back pain rather than specific physiological issues. The researchers suggest that any exercise program may have a central brain effect which helps alleviate pain.
Source: Spine, 24(23), pp 2435-48.