Posts tagged chronic pain
Impact Of Walking On Chronic Low Back Pain
walking-exercise-chronic-pain-low back pain

Low back pain remains the most common musculoskeletal diagnosis seen by primary care providers including Physical Therapists. While the majority of cases of low back pain are not serious in nature symptoms tend to be recurrent and can become chronic (> 3 months) if left untreated. As low back pain progresses from acute to chronic in nature changes in the both the peripheral and central nervous systems can occur leading to increased symptoms and loss of function. Patients with signs and symptoms consistent with nervous system changes are often prescribed pain science education and graded exercise to improve their symptoms and most importantly participation in life, work, and recreational activities. A recent review of the research examines the impact of walking vs. general exercise on patients with chronic low back pain.

Vanti and colleagues reviewed the available research on the effects of walking alone compared to exercise, as well as, the impact of the addition of walking to other forms of exercise (Disabil Rehabil. 2019). They reviewed 5 randomized controlled trials on the topic and make recommendations based off this evidence. In general, most forms of exercise including walking, showed a positive effect on a patient’s low back pain, fear of activity, and disability. Authors noted walking was not superior to other forms of exercise, but may be more easily implemented because of its’ ease of implementation compared to other forms of exercise. This study confirms prior research advocating for increasing the activity levels of patients with chronic back pain.

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Higher Amounts Of Exercise Correlated With Greater Reductions In Neck Pain

With the hypervigilance in abstaining from opioid prescriptions due to the opioid crisis, there has been an effort in determining alternate ways of providing analgesic effects for those in chronic pain. One of the most consistent modalities to help benefit with treatment is exercise. There has been many studies exploring the analgesic effect of exercise on pain and dysfunction as compared to pharmacological treatment. However, there has not been any literature supporting the appropriate dosage and intensity of exercise.

A recent study (Polaski, AM et al. PLoS One. 2019) performed a meta-analysis of many studies using exercise to help treat and manage chronic pain. The studies ranged from many different durations and intensities with different populations, all experiencing chronic pain. The researchers found a positive correlation between duration of exercise and decrease in neck pain. Duration could be constituted for amount of time during exercise, and/or number times exercising throughout the week.

If you are experiencing chronic pain, please seek counsel with your health provider to help guide you in designing a exercises program with the appropriate duration.

Exercise as Medicine

At Mend, we provide every patient with an individualized exercise program specific to their condition.   These programs are focused to deliver optimal results in the least amount of time possible.  Exercise is one of our most powerful interventions to eliminate pain and restore function without the use of more risky medications or surgery.  The American College of Sports Medicine has launched an Exercise is Medicine campaign to heighten the awareness of this powerful tool.  In addition, evidence continues to mount on the beneficial effects of exercise on our physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as, its' impact on many chronic illnesses. 

A recent literature review in the Scandanavian Journal of Medicine and Sports in Exercise highlighted the evidence behind the use of exercise on 26 chronic health conditions from Depression to Dementia (Pedersen et al. 2015).  The authors explained the exercise parameters most effective to combat each disease, as well as, the evidence on how exercise may impact the development and progression of each disease.  A list of the 26 conditions can be found below.  To learn more about how you can utilize exercise to help treat your condition contact your local Physical Therapist.

Psychiatric Diseases
Neurological Diseases
     Parkinson's Disease
     Multiple Sclerosis
Metabolic Diseases
     Metabolic Syndrome
     Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
     Type I and II Diabetes
Cardiovascular Diseases
     Cerebral Apoplexy
     Coronary Heart Disease
     Heart Failure
     Intermittent Claudication
Pulmonary Diseases
     Cystic Fibrosis
Musculoskeletal Disorders
     Back Pain
     Rheumatoid Arthritis