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Fitness Feature Article

Effect of Exercise on Back Pain


Effects of Sedentary Life. People who do not exercise regularly face an increased risk for low back pain, especially during times when they suddenly embark on stressful unaccustomed activity, such as shoveling, digging, or moving heavy items. Although no definitive studies have been done to prove the relationship between lack of exercise and low back pain, sedentary living is probably a primary non medical culprit contributing to this condition. Lack of exercise leads to the following conditions that may threaten the back:
 

Benefits for Chronic Back Pain. People in with sudden and severe back pain should not exercise. Exercise plays a very beneficial role in chronic back pain, however. In one study, for example, patients with back pain lasting for an average of 18 months were assigned eight one-hour exercise sessions over four weeks. They showed greater improvement in nearly every area, including reduced pain and increased capacity, compared to patients who did not exercise. Exercise should be considered as part of a broader program to return to normal home, work, and social activities. In this way, the positive benefits of exercise not only affect strength and flexibility but they also alter and improve the patients' attitudes toward their disability and pain.

 Repetition is the key to increasing flexibility, building endurance, and strengthening the specific muscles needed to support and neutralize the spine. Some exercise programs used for prevention or treatment of chronic low back pain include the following:

It is important for any person who has low back pain to have an exercise program guided by professionals who understand the limitations and special needs of back pain and who can address individual health conditions. One study indicated that patients who planned their own exercise did worse than those in physical therapy or physician-directed programs.

Hazardous Effects on the Back. On the other side of the coin, improper or excessive exercise is also an important risk factor for back pain.


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