No Consensus, but "Suggesting a Plausible Explanation"
Exercise is often recommended by doctors for patients with low back pain (LBP), the leading cause of disability worldwide. Acute LBP frequently becomes chronic. Many interventions to manage chronic LBP "have modest benefits for improving outcomes." A article published in the journal of Musculoskeletal Science and Practice reviewed 110 studies culled from a Physiotherapy Evidence Database. Of these, "36 (33%) did not provide a mechanism of benefit for exercise in people with CLBP. Of the remaining studies, most provided more than one mechanism, from which 33 unique mechanisms were identified": neuromuscular, psychosocial, neurophysiological, cardiometabolic, and tissue healing. However, "The effects of these proposed mechanisms on outcomes for people with CLBP were seldom examined."
Senior author of the study, Dr Matt Jones, accredited exercise physiologist, clinician and researcher, commented that "...researchers consistently find exercise is one of the most effective treatments - it might not cause huge reductions in pain and disability, but it does help. So, remaining physically active and being reassured it is safe to do so - it is rare that chronic pain is caused by 'issues with the tissues' - is probably the simplest, best advice for someone with chronic pain." The study concludes that there "mechanisms were seldom tested. Randomised controlled trials investigating the mediating effects of these mechanisms may be warranted to better understand why exercise works for CLBP."
Read the journal article.
Read the full press release on Newswise.
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