Sufferers from lower back pain may find relief in a new research-backed program that involves the simple act of walking two or three times a week.
A new study from Tel Aviv University finds that fast walking two to three times a week for 20 to 40 minutes may relieve back pain just as well as physical therapy multiple times a week.
For the study, the researchers recruited 52 patients with lower back pain. Through questionnaires, subjects were initially assessed for pain levels, feelings of disability, and avoidance of daily activities, as well as muscle and walking endurance. Half of the subjects completed a typical clinic-based muscle-strengthening program, with two to three exercise sessions a week for six weeks. The other half completed a six-week aerobic walking program on a treadmill, walking two to three times weekly for 20 to 40 minutes each session.
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The findings, announced March 5, are published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation.
Other perks for the walkers included a slight boost in physical fitness. Plus lead researcher Dr. Michal Katz-Leurer added that walking can reduce blood pressure, boost brain and immune system functioning, and reduce stress.
Still, walking isn't the only game in town. In 2011, a U.S. study found that yoga could play a role in reducing chronic back pain. In that study, subjects who took weekly 75-minute yoga classes over a period of 12 weeks saw an improvement in back pain. The findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association