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Exercise Therapy Reduces Long-Term LBP

Although the symptoms of a single episode of acute low back pain (LBP) are known to resolve naturally in the short-term in many cases, the recurrence of LBP is high. Within the first year after an acute episode of LBP, recurrence rates range from 60- 86%.

Some research has identified a deficit in the multifidus muscle after an episode of acute LBP and that this segmental dysfunction does not resolve spontaneously through normal activity.

The objective of the study was to identify the long-term effects of a specific exercise on recurrence rates in first-time LBP patients. Thirty-nine subjects who were experiencing their first episode of LBP were divided into a control group and a specific-exercise group. In addition to prescriptions, the control group received medical management, including advice on bed rest, absence from work, and resuming normal activity as tolerated. The exercise group received the same care as those in the control group with the addition of exercises intended to activate and train the isometric holding function of the multifidus. Five-minute telephone interviews were conducted at one and three years after treatment to inquire about pain, disability, range of motion and activity levels.

Results revealed that patients from the specific exercise group experienced fewer episodes of LBP than the control group; during the first year after treatment, exercise group recurrence was 30%, compared to a control group recurrence of 84%. From two to three years after treatment, exercise group recurrence increased to 35%, but control group recurrence remained much higher at 75%.

Long-term results are promising because they suggest that specific exercises are more effective at reducing the recurrence rate of LBP than normal activity alone.

Hides JA, Jull GA, Richardson CA. Long-term effects of specific stabilizing exercises for first-episode low back pain. Spine 2001 (Online):26, pp. e243-e248.

 



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Date Last Modified - Monday, 27-Jul-2009 09:13:09 PDT