The objective of this randomised controlled trial was to compare the effectiveness of climbing and no climbing treatment in the management of low back pain. In total of 30 patients with chronic low back pain were randomly assigned to the climbing and control groups.The inclusion criteria were defined as chronic low back pain, age between 18 and 45 years, body mass index lower than 25, and no climbing experience. Patients in the climbing group were instructed to climb 5 different climbing routes. A climbing activity of 10 sessions in 8 weeks, at least once a week with a minimum duration of 1 hour, was mandatory. The results of the study show that climbing significantly improved the Oswestry Disability Index, Visual Analog Scale and disc protrusion size through 1 hour of climbing over 8 weeks.
The authors concluded that climbing may be an effective and low-cost therapy option for people with chronic low back pain. Climbing could offer reduction of pain and better performance in daily life, because it offers a closed chain muscle training that has the potential to improve posture, perception of the trunk midline, and muscle control. Climbing may also lead to a better adherence to continuing treatment than traditional physical therapy and exercise due to a more exciting aspect of the sports activity.