If you need another reason to exercise, a systematic review and analysis of the data from 21 different randomized trials links exercise to a 35% reduction in the risk for low back pain.
The review ("Prevention of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis" – February 2016) found that combining exercise with education provides even better results: a 45% risk reduction.
Additionally, exercise was found to reduce sick leave time for low back pain by 78%.
But if that prevention approach seems all too easy, consistency is key. Researchers found that the risk reduction benefits of exercise for low back pain "disappeared" after one year, likely due to individuals discontinuing exercise programs.
"The finding raises the important issue that, for exercise to remain protective against future LBP, it is likely that ongoing exercise is required," the authors write. "Prevention programs focusing on long-term behavior change in exercise habits seem to be important."
If you have barriers that keep you from exercising, a physical therapist can help get you moving to reduce your risk for low back pain.
Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
- Physical Activity Resources
- Health Center for Low Back Pain
- Physical Therapy Guide to Low Back Pain
- Back Pain Is Often Over-Treated
- Podcast: Avoiding Unnecessary Treatment
- Podcast: Natalie Gulbis on Back Pain and the Physical Demands of Golf
Access additional Did You Know? pages.