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What is the best exercise for back pain?

Have you suffered with back pain, or perhaps know of a family member or loved one?

Back pain is such a common condition that it can sometimes slips under the radar, and the agonising impact on peoples’ lives and livelihoods can be overlooked. As can the enormous cost for the government, our health care system and for employers, in both hospital expenditures and time off work.

Australia spends a staggering $4.8 billion per year on management of low back pain, and it’s the most common condition keeping Australians aged between 40-65 out of the workforce.

About 4 million Australians suffer from back pain each year.

According to one study, strengthening of the low back muscles (they call these lumbar extensor muscles) may significantly reduce low back pain and provide successful clinical results for patients suffering from chronic back pain.

One particularly popular exercise with Physiotherapists, Osteopaths & Chiropractors is done laying face-down on the ground. It is excellent for acute cases, or patients with a lot of stiffness, as it can be done with arms on the ground by ones side for support - and to make it a bit easier.

This particular exercise can even be done with the arms off the ground in front of you for even greater resistance - see video.

Some studies suggest that Chiropractic treatments can be a safe and effective way to help with back pain [7-20]

If you are suffering, contact your local Chiropractor for a consultation, and find out how they may help.

[1] Healthcare (Basel). 2016 Jun; 4(2): 22. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain Rebecca Gordon* and Saul Bloxham

[2] Ochsner Journal. 2014 Spring; 14(1): 101–107.Exercise in the Management of Chronic Back PainThomas E. Dreisinger, PhD, FACSM

[3] Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2013 Jul 1;38(15):E952-9. Pilates exercise or stationary cycling for chronic nonspecific low back pain: does it matter? a randomized controlled trial with 6-month follow-up Paul W M Marshall 1, Suzanne Kennedy, Cristy Brooks, Chris Lonsdale

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017–18


[6] Hartvigsen J. Hancock M.J. Kongsted A. Louw Q. Ferreira M.L. Genevay S. et al. What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention. Lancet. 2018; 391: 2356-2367

[7] Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions

Nadine E Foster, Johannes R Anema, Dan Cherkin, Roger Chou, Steven P Cohen, Douglas P Gross, Paulo H Ferreira, Julie M Fritz, Bart W Koes, Wilco Peul, Judith A Turner, Chris G Maher on behalf of the Lancet Low Back Pain Series Working Group

The Lancet, Vol. 391, No. 10137

Published: March 21, 2018

[8] Ernst E, Assendelft WJJ. Chiropractic for low back pain. BMJ. 1998;317:160. . (18 July.)

[9] Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Townsend J, Frank AO. Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment. BMJ. 1990;300:1431–1437.

[10] Goertz CM, Long CR, Vining RD, Pohlman KA, Walter J, Coulter I. Effect of usual medical care plus chiropractic care vs usual medical care alone on pain and disability among US service members with low back pain: a comparative effectiveness clinical trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(1):e180105.

[11] Managing low back pain--a comparison of the beliefs and behaviors of family physicians and chiropractors D C Cherkin, F A MacCornack, A O Berg PMID: 2976220 PMCID: PMC1026519

[12] Chou R, Deyo R, Friedly J, et al. Nonpharmacologic therapies for low back pain: a systematic review for an American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(7):493-505. doi:10.7326/M16-2459

13] Carey TS, Garrett J, Jackman A et al. Low back pain among patients seen by primary care practitioners, chiropractors, and orthopedic surgeons. The North Carolina Back Pain Project. N Engl J Med. 1995; 333: 913-917

[14] Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Battie M et al. Comparison of physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, and provision of an educational booklet for the treatment of patients with low back pain. N Engl J Med. 1998; 339: 1021-1029

[16] Adding Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy to Standard Medical Care for Patients With Acute Low Back Pain Goertz, Christine M. DC, PhD*; Long, Cynthia R. PhD*; Hondras, Maria A. DC, MPH*; Petri, Richard MD†; Delgado, Roxana MS‡; Lawrence, Dana J. DC, MMedEd, MA§; Owens, Edward F. MS, DC¶; Meeker, William C. DC, MPH‖ Spine: April 15, 2013

[17] Comparison of Spinal Manipulation Methods and Usual Medical Care for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain Schneider, Michael DC, PhD*; Haas, Mitchell DC, MA†; Glick, Ronald MD‡; Stevans, Joel DC§; Landsittel, Doug PhD¶ Spine: February 15, 2015

[18] The Prevalence, Patterns, and Predictors of Chiropractic Use Among US Adults Adams, Jon PhD∗; Peng, Wenbo PhD∗; Cramer, Holger PhD∗,†; Sundberg, Tobias PhD∗,‡; Moore, Craig Masters of Clinical Trials Research∗; Amorin-Woods, Lyndon MPH§; Sibbritt, David PhD∗; Lauche, Romy PhD∗ SPINE: December 1, 2017

[19] Neural Plast. 2016; 2016: 3704964.Manipulation of Dysfunctional Spinal Joints Affects Sensorimotor Integration in the Prefrontal Cortex: A Brain Source Localization StudyDina Lelic, 1 , * Imran Khan Niazi, 2 , 3 , 4 Kelly Holt, 2 Mads Jochumsen, 3 Kim Dremstrup, 3 Paul Yielder, 5 Bernadette Murphy, 5 Asbjørn Mohr Drewes, 1 , 3 and Heidi Haavik 2 , 5

[20] J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2012 Dec 28; 18(1): 75–79.Evidence-Based Practice and Chiropractic Care Ron LeFebvre, MA, DC,1 David Peterson, DC,1 and Mitchell Haas, MA, DC1

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