A new study champions weight training and other strengthening exercises for various parts of the body as effective means to deal with back pain, particularly noting a 28 percent increase in quality of life for back pain patients who frequently lifted weights.
More specifically, a University of Alberta study promotes the progressive building of strength in not only the back but the chest, arms and legs to make it easier for patients to complete everyday activities and to build the body's resistance to future instances of lower back pain.
The study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, examined 240 patients with chronic back pain resulting from a soft tissue injury. None of the patients had back surgery, damaged vertebra or problems with the spinal nerve roots.
During the course of the 16-week study, back pain patients started out slowly, working with low levels of weights and fewer repetitions. As the patients built up strength during the first three weeks, the amount of repetitions and weight increased, eventually reaching 75 percent to 83 percent of the maximum amount of weight.
Researchers noted that back pain and disability decreased as patient strength increased while doing bench presses for the chest, lateral pull-downs for the back, and leg presses.
Specifically, back pain decreased by:
- 28 percent in patients who exercised four days a week
- 18 percent in patients who exercised three times a week
- 14 percent in patients who exercised two times a week.
In relation, quality of life – defined in the study as the person’s physical and mental well-being—respectively rose by 28, 22 and 16 percent.
According to the study, these developments support strengthening exercises that loosen the joints as effective treatments for back pain and promote the importance of having strong chest, back and leg muscles when dealing with back pain.
Of course, it should be advised that any person experiencing back pain should not just dive into a series of back exercises and other strengthening exercises.
Rather, it is important that patients speak with a trusted medical professional who can observe their symptoms, evaluate different courses of treatment, and then develop an exercise program for back pain.
Still, with that said, the University of Alberta study further validates the benefits that exercise may have on back pain, a notion that may still seem counterproductive or dangerous to patients worried that such activities will only exacerbate their back pain.
Source: University of Alberta; Courier-Journal