Shocker! Exercise Helps Prevent Lower Back Pain
Have lower back pain? Movement is the best prevention, researchers advised in a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study went on to find that special insoles and belts have little effect on back pain.
Lead author Daniel Steffens of the University of Sydney in Australia explained why regular exercise is the best prevention: “[exercise] develops your muscles, bones and ligaments for increased strength and endurance,” while helping people manage their weight, stress, and ageing process.
The type of exercise isn’t important, just that it’s some sort of exercise people are willing to sustain, commented Dr. Timothy S. Carey of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, coauthor of a commentary on the study.
Chris Maher, physical therapist and health researcher at the University of Sydney, pointed out how the health care system doesn’t support simple-yet-lasting solutions that require commitment from patients to more than just taking a pill. Maher noted, “We’ve got this perverse incentive in our health care system where we encourage people to innovate in terms of drugs, but we don’t have the same system to get people to innovate in terms of physical activity.”
Most people will experience some sort of back pain in their lives. In a 2008 study published in JAMA, researchers from the University of Washington estimated that Americans spent about $80 billion on inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, and pharmacy expenditures related to back and neck problems from 1997-2005.
Maher advised, “What we do understand about the back is that the more you use it, the more likely you are to keep it strong, fit and healthy.” Next time lower back pain strikes, get out the yoga mat or your walking shoes; sitting still isn’t going to make it better.