I feel that often in life we over complicate things, sometimes to get to our rehabilitation destination we feel we need an expensive gym membership, the latest home gym equipment, we need to purchase weights, buy exercise toys or have the latest exercise clothing before we can even start our rehabilitation journey. But I think what we often fail to remember is that most of the time in life less is more.
It seems that this is even true for lower back pain rehabilitation. Lower back pain is common in developed counties with a prevalence of 60-80% in one year¹. Think about your family members more than half of them would have experienced lower back pain in the space of one year!
Historically strengthening has been the approach taken to improve function with people suffering from lower back pain. However in 2012 Shnaydema & Katz-Programe showed that a 6 week walking program was just as effective as a strengthening exercise for lower back pain¹.
For a long time aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease pain, depression, fear of movement and increase mood. Walking is known to be the safest form of aerobic exercise as it has the lowest rate of injury¹.
Shnaydema & Katz-Programe studied people who were suffering from chronic lower back pain between the ages of 18-65 years. They had 2 groups, the walking and the strengthening group. The walking group started off walking for 20 minutes and increased the time by 5 minutes every week eventually walking 40 minutes by 6 weeks. The exercise group performed strengthening exercise for the trunk and limbs. Both groups performed their form of exercise twice a week.
Now although the study didn’t have a long follow up period it is a great reminder that sometimes simplicity is key. I mean going for a walk twice a week for 20-40 minutes for little over a month seems achievable, don’t you think? I guess one could only imagine what 6 months of this could feel like.
Really at core of this is the fact that no matter type of movement you choose to do it is likely to have some positive changes in some way, I mean motion is lotion. It is just nice to know that simply doing some regular walking might just be all you need to do.
- Shnayderman, I., & Katz-Leurer, M. (2012). An aerobic walking programme versus muscle strengthening programme for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation, 27(3), 207–214. doi:10.1177/0269215512453353