Walk away from recurrent back pain

Jun 20, 2024

Lower back pain is a common and often debilitating issue for millions of people worldwide. It is one of the most common conditions we treat in our clinic here in Jersey.  It can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life, and finding effective ways to manage and prevent its recurrence is of great importance. Recent research conducted by Tash Pocovi and her colleagues at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has shed light on the potential benefits of regular walking in reducing the recurrence of lower back pain.

Pocovi and her team designed a study called “WalkBack”, which aimed to investigate the impact of a structured walking programme on individuals who had previously experienced lower back pain. The study involved 701 participants, ranging in age from 20 to 82 years old, who had experienced episodes of lower back pain that had resolved within the previous six months. These individuals had experienced an average of 33 episodes of lower back pain, highlighting the recurring nature of this issue.

The participants were divided into two groups: one group was provided with an individualized walking program with the guidance of a physiotherapist, while the other group received no specific walking recommendations or education about lower back pain. The results were striking. Those in the treatment group, who engaged in the walking program and received education about lower back pain, experienced a significantly longer period before the first recurrence of activity-limiting lower back pain compared to the control group.

One of the key findings was that individuals in the treatment group had their first recurrence of activity-limiting lower back pain 208 days after the study began, compared with 112 days in the control group. This suggests that engaging in a structured walking program, along with education about lower back pain, may help to delay the recurrence of this debilitating issue.

Furthermore, the study also revealed that individuals in the treatment group were less likely to seek additional interventions for their pain, such as massages or chiropractic treatment, compared to those in the control group. This indicates that the walking and education program may not only delay the recurrence of lower back pain but also reduce the need for other interventions.

However, it’s important to note that while the walking program showed clear benefits, some individuals in this group experienced mild complications of exercise. This highlights the importance of implementing a structured and gradual walking program under the guidance of a physiotherapist.

Overall, the findings of the “WalkBack” study provide valuable insights into an accessible approach for managing and preventing recurring lower back pain. The combination of a structured walking program and education about lower back pain has the potential to significantly impact the lives of individuals who experience this common issue.

We can confirm that our approach to back pain has always been based in the science. Our clients will attest that their treatment has always followed the above active recovery principles. We go a step further and aim to address any other factors that may also be contributing: – strength imbalances, sleep hygiene and social factors.  Rest assured;your back pain is in safe hands with the Physio team. If you are not currently in pain, but do suffer from recurrent bouts, then Book now so that together we can better understand your unique contributing factors and devise a plan to help keep you moving better.

Journal reference: The Lancet DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(24)00755-4