71 patients with recurrent mechanical low back pain (at least 8 weeks duration, with at least 1 pain-free period during the past year) and without leg pain were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 8 weeks.
The exercise program was individually supervised by a physiotherapist weekly for 45 minutes.
Walking program: Walk 30 minutes daily at the fastest pace that did not aggravate pain.
Stabilizing exercises for the lumbar spine: Re-learning activation of the transversus abdominis and multifidus muscles, with assistance of a pressure biofeedback cuff.
Exercises progressed according to clinical judgment, pain levels, and movement control and quality.
And, the results.
At 12 months 86% of patients were followed-up.
There was no clinically-important difference between the groups with respect to change in pain or disability.
The bottom line?
The author concluded, “Lumbar stabilizing exercises appear to have a similar effect on pain and disability for patients with recurrent low back pain as a daily walking program.”
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.