"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A brand new study suggests that walking can prevent back pain.

Do you suffer from lower back pain that happens repeatedly? If you do, you're not alone. About 70% of people People who get better from an episode of low back pain usually tend to experience a brand new episode the next 12 months.

The recurring nature of lower back pain is a significant contributor to this. A huge burden Locations of low back pain on individuals and health care systems.

In our latest study, published today The Lancetwe found that a program combining walking and education can effectively reduce the reoccurrence of low back pain.

Walkback trial

We randomly assigned 701 adults who had recently recovered from an episode of low back pain to either an individualized walking program and education (intervention) or a no-treatment group (control). Get the

Participants within the intervention group were guided by a physiotherapist in six sessions over a six-month period. In the primary, third and fifth sessions, the physiotherapist helped each participant develop a personalised and progressive walking program that was realistic and tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

The remaining sessions were transient check-ins (often lower than quarter-hour) to observe progress and address any potential barriers to engagement with the walking program. Due to the COVID pandemic, most participants received your complete intervention via telehealth using video consultations and phone calls.

Back pain might be debilitating.
Carolina Cabompics/Pixels

The program was designed to be manageable with a goal of 5 walks per week of roughly half-hour by the tip of the six-month program. Participants were also encouraged to proceed walking independently after this system.

Importantly, the walking program was combined with education provided by a physiotherapist over six sessions. The aim of this education is to offer people a greater understanding of pain, reduce fear related to exercise and movement, and provides people the boldness to administer themselves if a minor reoccurrence occurs.

People within the control group didn't receive any preventive treatment or education. What does it reflect? Usually happens When people get better from an episode of low back pain and are discharged from care.

The results that got here out

We monitored participants monthly from the time of study inclusion for up to a few years to gather information on any latest reoccurrence of low back pain. We also asked participants to report any costs related to their back pain, including day off work and use of health care services.

This intervention reduced the chance of reoccurrence of low back pain that limited every day activities by 28%, in comparison with 43% within the reoccurrence of low back pain in participants receiving care from a health skilled. There was a decrease.

Participants who received the intervention had an extended average time before reoccurrence, 208 days pain-free in comparison with 112 days within the control group.

Two men are walking and talking in the park.
In our study, regular walking helped lower back pain.
PeopleImages.com – Yuri A/Shutterstock

Overall, we also found the intervention to be cost-effective. The largest savings got here from less absenteeism from work and fewer use of health services (akin to physiotherapy and massage) among the many intervention group.

This trial, like all studies, had some limitations to contemplate. Although we attempted to recruit a broad sample, we found that the majority participants were female, aged between 43 and 66, and usually well educated. This may limit the extent to which we are able to generalize our findings.

Also, on this trial, we used physiotherapists with high expertise in health coaching. We due to this fact have no idea whether the intervention would achieve the identical effect if it were delivered by other therapists.

Walking has many advantages.

We've all heard the saying “prevention is better than cure” – and it's true. But this approach has been largely ignored in relation to low back pain. Almost all Previous studies The focus is on treating pain episodes, not stopping future back pain.

A limited variety of Small studies have shown that exercise and education may help prevent lower back pain. However, most of those studies have focused on exercises that should not accessible to everyone as a consequence of aspects akin to high cost, complexity, and the necessity for supervision by health care or fitness professionals.

On the opposite hand, walking is a free, accessible type of exercise, including for people in rural and distant areas with limited access to health care.

Two feet and lower legs in athletic gear moving along the water.
Walking has many advantages.
Cast of Thousands/Shutterstock

Walking also saves many others. Health benefitsincluding higher heart health, higher mood and sleep quality, and reduced risk of many chronic diseases.

Although walking just isn't everyone's favorite exercise, the intervention was well received by most individuals in our study. Candidate Reported that additional general health advantages contributed to ongoing motivation to proceed their walking program independently.

Why is walking good for lower back pain?

We don't know exactly why walking helps prevent back pain, but Possible causes A mix of gentle movement, loading, and strengthening of the spinal structures and muscles could also be involved. It may be related to rest and stress relief, and the discharge of “feel good” endorphins, which Blocking pain signals Basically turning off the dial on pain – between your body and mind.

It is feasible that other accessible and low-cost types of exercise, akin to swimming, may be effective in stopping back pain, but surprisingly, No study It has been investigated.

Lower back pain just isn't easy to stop. But these results give us hope that we're getting closer to an answer, one step at a time.