Posted on Mar 22, 2013, 6 a.m.
A simple aerobic walking program is as effective in alleviating lower back pain as muscle strengthening programs that require specialized equipment in rehabilitation clinics.
Lower back pain is a common medical complaint, but many people fail to adhere to the rigorous commitment of countless hours in physical therapy that requires specialized equipment to complete. Michal Katz-Leurer, from Tel Aviv University (Israel), and colleagues enrolled 52 men and women, aged 18 to 65 years, with lower back pain, 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. Half of the subjects 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 program, 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 the lead investigator. The study authors conclude that: “A six-week walk training programme was as effective as six weeks of specific strengthening exercises programme for the low back.”
Ilana Shnayderman, Michal Katz-Leurer. “An aerobic walking programme versus muscle strengthening programme for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.” Clin Rehabil March 2013 27: 207-214.