CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN AND EXERCISE AS A DRUG!

Chronic low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide! Acute low back pain is pain that lasts between 4-12 weeks, however chronic low back pain is defined as persisting pain the lower back for longer than 12 weeks. Non-specific low back pain is the most common cause. This can include age-related changes to the spine, such as spondylosis known as degeneration of the spine, herniated or ruptured discs, traumatic injuries, strains, tears in ligaments, tendons and muscles as well as other causes. Research shows that 15-20% of people with acute low back pain, will develop chronic low back pain, even after an initial tissue injury has healed. 


There are some factors that can increase the risk of chronic low back pain. Some are listed below:

  • Poor physical fitness including weak back and core muscles

  • Weight gain – this can place additional stress on the muscles of the lower back

  • Occupation – jobs that involve heavy lifting, pushing, pulling and twisting movements

MYTHS ABOUT CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN

Below are some common myths about chronic low back pain!

  • No activity will help to promote recovery

  • Avoid activities that will increase pain

  • Passive treatments such as massage and acupuncture are effective at treating chronic low back pain

  • If pain is still present after healing time, you should get it further investigated or look into surgery.

HOW DOES EXERCISE HELP?

Below are some of the reasons why exercise, also known as active treatment, can help:

  • Exercise releases Endorphins which is the body’s natural way at reducing pain. We like to call them “happy chemicals” as they help to reduce pain and make us feel good following exercise. Research shows endorphins can help reduce pain for 30 minutes after exercise!

  • Strength training can increase tissue strength and endurance which can increase the stability of the lower back1

  • Cardiovascular training can increase blood flow to muscles, helping to reduce stiffness1

  • Strength training has been shown to reduce pain due to improved trunk stability and strength1

  • Improved psychological well-being such as improvements in anxiety, depression and fear1

  • Improved function for activities of daily living1

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EXERCISE

Exercise for chronic low back pain should incorporate a combination of both strength and cardiovascular exercise. You should be aiming for 2 strength exercise sessions per week, and at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day. Other recommendations for exercise include placing more emphasis on developing muscular endurance as opposed to strength to help us with performing every day activities such as lawn mowing. Exercises should be performed in a “Neutral Spine” as this is the safest and strongest position and is least likely to cause an increase in symptoms. 

Standing-Posture-1.jpg


Our Exercise Physiologist’s and Physiotherapist’s here at Aevum are highly skilled in prescribing all forms of exercise and try to focus on improving your function and managing and coping with your symptoms better. Our team will work together with you, providing you with education on pain and exercise and will help to create a management plan specific for you. 

Book in with our team at Aevum today to start your management of chronic low back pain. 02 8544 3231

Leah Harapas

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