Exercise for Chronic Low Back Pain Treatment

Bed rest should be limited. Individuals should begin stretching exercises and resume normal daily activities as soon as possible while avoiding movements that aggravate pain. Strong evidence shows that persons who continue their activities without bed rest following the onset of low back pain appeared to have better back flexibility than those who rested in bed for a week. Other studies suggest that bed rest alone may make back pain worse and can lead to secondary complications such as depression, decreased muscle tone, and blood clots in the legs.

Strengthening exercises, beyond general daily activities, are not advised for acute low back pain but may be an effective way to speed recovery from chronic or subacute low back pain. Maintaining and building muscle strength is particularly important for persons with skeletal irregularities. Health care providers can provide a list of beneficial exercises that will help improve coordination and develop proper posture and muscle balance. Evidence supports short- and long-term benefits of yoga to ease chronic low back pain.

Physical therapy programs to strengthen core muscle groups that support the low back, improve mobility and flexibility, and promote proper positioning and posture are often used in combinations with other interventions.

Core stability exercise (CSE) is not more effective than general exercises (GEs) for improving endurance core stability tests and reducing disability and pain in chronic non-specific LBP patients 1).

Shamsi MB, Rezaei M, Zamanlou M, Sadeghi M, Pourahmadi MR. Does core stability exercise improve lumbopelvic stability (through endurance tests) more than general exercise in chronic low back pain? A quasi-randomized controlled trial. Physiother Theory Pract. 2016;32(3):171-8. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2015.1117550. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PubMed PMID: 26864057.
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