Exercise and Back Pain Research

Latest research indicates the use of Exercise for back pain prevention and rehabilitation

  • Physical exercise has a positive effect on the formation of cells in the intervertebral discs. This is shown by a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS), which is currently taking place in Gothenburg. Read More

To help maintain a healthy spine it seems that movement promotes the health of the discs in our spine.  It encourages their growth for healthy function.  Disc degeneration has been linked to back pain, so choosing the right exercise is a great preventative step.  Exercise, movement and activity should always be for fun and enjoyment and to increase our happiness, but to add another layer to this would be my thought that in addition an element of our exercise should be how we are conditioning ourselves for all these activities.  Exercise is as individual as you are and sometimes it requires a little bit of programming.

  • In a recent study funded by a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health grant, Thomas and colleague Christopher France focused on a phenomenon called “fear avoidance.” In this self-fulfilling prophecy, people who fear reinjuring their backs after a painful accident move in restricted, unnatural ways that eventually can lead to re-injury—and further back pain. Read More

Following injury, the body and mind are typically and understandably very 'protective'.  Why risk performing a movement when it could lead to injury and knocking you back again?  What this study seems to suggest is that even though pain is no longer present we are consciously and subconsciously moving differently to prevent re-injury.  In my experience when we do not acknowledge, identify and address this, that this scenario can play out for days, weeks or even years.  We have in effect reduced our 'thresholds' for movement.  Our flexibility, stability and balance has all decreased as we attempt to protect our self.

So if we have 'fear-avoidance', what can we do.  Well research like this and raising our awareness of it is essential for a start.  In addition we can gradually and carefully start to increase our thresholds of movement.  When I assess movement in the clinic we look at functional movements, flexibility and muscle balance to identify those that require tweaking.  From this baseline and platform we can then go about increasing these.  After all your bodymind is usually doing something to help you.  If we respect this and work with it we will succeed.  Steadily working on your thresholds will lead to success as opposed to goin from one extreme to the other.


Jack Walton
Written on Wednesday, 29 June 2011 08:53 by Jack Walton

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