Graded Exercise Program Improves Low Back Pain

Program emphasizes stabilizing exercises
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A graded exercise intervention emphasizing stabilizing exercises reduces disability and improves physical health better than daily walks in patients with recurrent low back pain, researchers report in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

Eva Rasmussen-Barr, and colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, randomly assigned 71 patients with recurrent non-specific low back pain to a graded exercise intervention emphasizing stabilizing exercises for eight weeks or instructed the patients to take daily walks as exercise.

The researchers found that self-reported disability was lower, and physical health and self-efficacy beliefs improved in the graded exercise group up to 36 months later. Pain also improved in the graded exercise group, though only immediately after therapy, they note. Graded exercise had no effect on fear-avoidance beliefs, the report indicates.

"A graded exercise intervention, emphasizing stabilizing exercises, for patients with recurrent low back pain still at work seems more effective in improving disability and health parameters than daily walks do," Rasmussen-Barr and colleagues conclude.

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