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Research suggests this free-flowing activity may reduce back pain.

Research suggests this free-flowing activity may reduce back pain.
Research suggests this free-flowing activity may reduce back pain.


a New Research An Australian study published Wednesday in the medical journal The Lancet found that walking, a simple, inexpensive exercise, can significantly reduce the recurrence of back pain.

The scientists called the study a “walk-back” trial.

The researchers wanted to investigate the effectiveness of a walking and education program to prevent this common problem.

Low back pain is a widespread problem affecting millions of people worldwide, with many experiencing recurring pain that can be debilitating and costly. Exercise is often recommended to prevent recurrence, but walking, a convenient and inexpensive option, has not been well studied.

The WalkBack study involved 701 adults who had recently recovered from non-specific low back pain. They were split into two groups: one group received a walking and education program, and the other group received no treatment. The study followed these participants for up to 36 months to see how long it took for their low back pain to return.

What is the WalkBack program?

The WalkBack program is designed to prevent recurrence of back pain through a focus on walking and education. Here's how it works:

  • Personalized walking plan: Participants will create a walking plan tailored to their fitness and recovery levels, with the goal to gradually increase walking time and intensity over six months.
  • Educational Sessions: Participants will attend six sessions with a physiotherapist to learn about managing their back pain, understanding modern pain science and preventing future recurrences. They will also receive tips on dealing with recurrences of mild back pain.
  • Support and guidance: A physiotherapist will act as your health coach, offering support and making any necessary adjustments to your walking plan.
  • Track your progress: Participants track their progress using pedometers and walking diaries, and follow-up sessions help keep participants motivated and on track.

Key findings

The study found that walking significantly reduced the risk of back pain recurrence: Participants in the walking group experienced their first recurrence after an average of 208 days, compared with just 112 days in the untreated group.

Additionally, people who participated in the walking program reported less disability related to their back pain and improved overall quality of life. According to the study, “the intervention was effective in preventing the development of activity-limiting back pain.”

Although there were lower extremity-related injuries in the walking group, the overall incidence of adverse events was similar between the two groups.




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