Benefits of Staying Active Through Back Pain

Recently, a researcher from the University of Gothenburg followed more than one hundred acute back pain patients to explore the results of physical activity on pain levels.

There were two groups to which patients were randomly assigned. One group was advised to continue being physically active, even if pain was experienced. The second group was told just the opposite and directed to modify activity levels to keep discomfort to a minimum. Along with the medical advice, they were each provided a journal to record the number of steps taken daily, their ability to carry out each day’s activities, and to record their levels of pain.

Though the pain levels for the ‘more active’ group were higher, they did recover more quickly from the flares of pain and were also far more likely to complete the tasks lined up for their days. Furthermore, depression was not nearly as evident in those who continued to work through the pain. This gives some hope to the medical community, which has long watched patients of acute back pain face a downward spiral to despair as pain continues to rob them of their normal activities.

The researcher, Olaya-Contreras, suggests that patients falling into this category of chronic pain would be better suited to work through the pain, because the decision to be less active can actually lead to depression, which is linked to increased discomfort and pain. Of course, anyone suffering with back pain should seek medical attention and discuss changes in activity levels with his or her doctor.

At our pain management clinic, we provide a multidisciplinary approach to back pain.

For more information on the study, the findings, and the subsequent suggestions, continue reading the full article here

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