Do lumbar stabilising exercises reduce pain and disability in patients with recurrent low back pain?

Smeets RJ

Does a graded exercise program emphasising lumbar stabilising exercises reduce pain and disability at 12 months, compared with a walking program, for patients with recurrent low back pain? 71 patients with recurrent mechanical low back pain (>8 weeks duration, with at least 1 pain-free period during the past year) and without leg pain were allocated to one of two groups.  The graded exercise program of stabilising exercises for the lumbar spine and the walking program were both 8 weeks' duration. The primary outcomes were perceived pain and disability at 12 months, measured by self-completed questionnaires. 

The authors conclude that lumbar stabilising exercises appear to have a similar effect on pain and disability for patients with recurrent low back pain as a daily walking program.

Aust J Physiother. 2009;55(2):138

Link to Abstract

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July 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Interesting article but the abstract seems to state the exercise group showed a reduction in perceived disability at 12months vs. the walking group.
Only pain and and fear-avoidance were similar at that time frame.
Such an effect (as occurred for perceived disability) for pain emerged only immediately post intervention.
That seems to be an interesting finding. Based on personal experience I would question if there is enough deviation from the initial exercise form as well as enough variation on dosages whereby a patient might do more reps than actually appropriate or might be doing something a little too challenging. Another possibility is, what time of day are the exercises performed and in association with normal week/work stress. Would Recurrent nonspecific LBP might benefit from added flexibility of performance for any stabilization or exercise program to fit daily work/activity/postural flucuations in stress.

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