A group of Australian and Brazilian researchers found that the best solution to lower-back pain is exercise, not devices or medication. Researchers sifted through more than 20 studies on how to treat back pain.
Chris Maher, lead author of the study and researcher with the University of Sydney in Australia, noted that lower-back pain does not discriminate against anyone – it affects most of us at similar intensities and over similar periods of time. Bouts can last several days or years, in the most severe cases.
Lower-back pain is not a plague of the Western world. People in India, Africa, and South America among many others experience it on a daily basis. But study authors found that devices to alleviate and prevent the pain such as Velcro back belts or ergonomic seats are not as effective as physical exercise is.
Maher and his team planned to learn whether there was a universal solution to lower-back pain that could prevent it. For this purpose they dug into 21 studies about the issue. In the studies about 30,000 people were involved.
The findings revealed that while back belts and other similar gizmos do not have the potential to prevent acute pain, exercise can prevent lower-back pain from recurring by 25 percent to 40 percent. Additionally, there wasn’t a particular type of exercise that triggered the best benefits. Anything would do from aerobics and fitness to stretching and flexibility exercises.
The study was published Jan. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Dr. Tim Carey of the University of North Carolina who was not involved in the study but wrote a review for it, noted that if a pill reduced the risk of having lower-back pain by 30 percent it would be marketed as a major breakthrough on all major TV channels.
Sadly, doctors often fail to prescribe exercise to their patients who experirience back pain. Reports show that hardly one in two patients with recurrent back pain is actively engaged in an exercise plan.
Carey noted that health care providers would rather prescribe back belts, ultrasounds, and shoe insoles. So, the researcher believes that these ineffective treatments may put patients on the wrong track providing them with a false sense of security, but failing to solve their problem.
Carey believes that exercise is often ignored because of the big interests in the health industry to monetize drugs and gizmos. Additionally, education in Western countries made societies ‘pill-oriented’. Plus, taking a pill is much easier than breaking a sweat at the gym.
Image Source: Free Stock Photos
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