More is better when it comes to alleviating lower back pain -- more exercise, that is.
Although many who suffer back pain don't exercise, fearing it will exacerbate the problem, a recent study found that exercising four days a week gave people greater relief from back pain than those who worked out fewer times per week, or not at all.
In the study, 120 people were randomly assigned to one of four groups for 12 weeks: one did a strength training program two days a week, one did it three days a week, and one four days a week. A control group did no exercise, but participated in a two-week exercise familiarization program. Exercises in the workout program included bench presses, lat pull downs and leg presses.
Those in the four-day-a-week program had the most reduction in pain -- 28% -- compared with 14% for those who exercised two days a week. The four-day group also reported having a better quality of life and less disability than those who exercised less. In addition, it showed the greatest strength gains. The control group showed insignificant change in all areas.
Robert Kell, an assistant professor in the department of social sciences at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, was the lead author of the study presented recently at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Seattle.
-- Jeannine Stein
Photo credit: Khalid Mohammed / AP