Frequent exercising and bracing seems effective for long-term prevention of recurrent low back pain (LBP), according to a 10-year long study published in the June 1 issue of Spine.
Assen Romanov Aleksiev, MD, PhD, from the University Hospital Aleksandrovska in Sofia, Bulgaria, randomized 600 patients with recurrent LBP to strengthening exercises (150 patients; age, 42.5); flexibility exercises (150 patients; age, 41.3); strengthening exercises and abdominal bracing in daily activities/exercises (150 patients; age, 41.0); and flexibility exercises and abdominal bracing in daily activities/exercises (150 patients; age, 40.6).
Aleksiev found that all four groups showed improvement from the beginning to the second year, but worsening from the second to the 10th year. Results were similar between the strengthening and flexibility groups, but bracing groups showed better results versus nonbracing groups. Pain intensity, frequency, and duration correlated with each other and with frequency of the exercises, but not with exercise duration or intensity.
Here’s her conclusion from the study:
“The exercise frequency is more important than the type, duration, or intensity of the exercise. Abdominal bracing adds to the exercise effect. It could be considered as a “preliminary muscle back belt on demand” increasing the trunk stiffness and the frequency of the trunk muscle contractions/co-contractions without interruption of daily activities, which may remind/convince the patients to exercise more frequently. Frequent exercising and bracing seems effective for long-term prevention.”
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