When it feels like a knife is driving into your spine, chances are you’d rather hit the couch than hit the gym. Chronic lower back pain is common among adults and is often caused by overuse and muscle strain or injury. The condition can be extremely painful and debilitating but currently we know too little about how symptoms can be controlled. A recent study found that home exercises were just as effective as supervised spinal exercises for the management of chronic lower back pain.
The scale of the problem is shown by the fact that over 80 percent of us will suffer from lower back pain in our lifetimes, and in most cases it will last for more than a year. In the United States alone, more than $100 billion per year is spent on pain management.
In the study, 301 adults were divided into three groups. The first two groups did short- and long-term supervised exercise. The last group did a short course of home exercises. The health of the patients was examined, including pain levels, drugs used, symptoms, satisfaction and strength of trunk muscles.
The patients of the supervised groups felt satisfied. Although the results suggested patients in all groups benefited, the actual outcomes showed no significant differences among the three groups.
Given that this problem impacts so many of us, future research needs to involve more people and investigate different approaches to back pain. The good news is that more cost-effective home treatment might just work. Your doctor may recommend that you do back exercises once or twice a day for 10 to 30 minutes. Simple strength training, stretching and aerobic exercises like yoga, walking or biking have been shown to help manage lower back pain.