Walking boosts pain relief for low back issues

Wednesday 10th July 2024 07:00 EDT

Low back pain affects over 619 million people globally, with projections to reach 843 million by 2050. Nearly 70% of those who recover experience recurrence within a year, requiring ongoing treatment. A randomised trial found that regular walking doubles the pain-free period compared to non-walkers, highlighting its universal accessibility and effectiveness in managing low back pain.

Walking for at least 30 minutes

Published in The Lancet journal, a study followed 701 Australian adults in their 50s recovering from severe low back pain. Participants were assigned to a control group or an intervention involving personalised walking and education. Over six months, the intervention group increased walking to 30 minutes, five times a week, with jogging allowed. Pedometers and accelerometers monitored progress, and physiotherapist-led education sessions focused on self-management. This approach aimed to reduce recurrence and improve back pain prevention cost-effectively.

What walking does for the body

Walking benefits lower back pain by reducing prolonged sitting, improving circulation to muscles and joints, boosting metabolism and maintaining weight, strengthening core muscles, enhancing muscle endurance and bone density, and releasing endorphins for pain relief and stress reduction. Proper footwear, pace variation, and distance are key for injury prevention. Alternating with activities like cycling or swimming, and including back exercises and stretches, can aid persistent back pain.

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