Back pain: this activity accessible to all would be effective in combating recurrence

Back pain: this activity accessible to all would be effective in combating recurrence

La marche serait une activité efficace pour lutter contre le mal de dos, révèle une étude. Charday Penn/Getty Images

Sédentarité, mauvaise posture, mouvement brutal : certaines douleurs de dos peuvent survenir du jour au lendemain et se révéler gênantes, voire handicapantes, à long terme. Mais ce n'est pas irréversible.

A recent study looked at recurrences of low back pain, the most common back pain, and suggests that regular walking could reduce the risk of recurrence. An observation that could ultimately transform the management of this pain.

According to Health Insurance, low back pain "is characterized by intense pain in the lumbar vertebrae", in other words in the lower back. But we more commonly speak of lumbago or back pain. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which estimates that more than 600 million people suffer from it worldwide. the world in 2020.

A figure which could rise to 843 million by 2050 due in particular to the aging of the population. These pains, which can impact mobility, not only have repercussions on quality of life, but also on mental health, explains the world health authority.

70% recidivism

While there are treatments depending on the nature and intensity of the pain, everyone can try to stop it by changing their lifestyle, particularly in terms of ergonomics at work, diet, smoking, stress management, or even physical activity.

It is this last point that interested researchers from Macquarie University, in Australia, who carried out the very first trial in the world on the impact of walking, an inherently accessible activity. , on the recurrence of low back pain. Work carried out to respond to a problem highlighted by scientists: 70% of patients who recover from low back pain recur in the following year.

The researchers included 701 participants aged over 18 in this trial, more than 80% of whom were women. Half of them were randomly assigned to an individualized walking program with six education sessions delivered by a physiotherapist over a six-month period, and the other half to a control group. All adults included in this work were followed for one to three years, depending on their date of registration.

Less expensive support

Published in The Lancet, the conclusions reveal a significant improvement in pain in the intervention group, but also a lower risk of recurrence. "The intervention group had less activity-limiting pain than the control group, and a longer average period before recurrence, with a median of 208 days compared to 112 days, underlines Professor Mark Hancock of Macquarie University, in a press release. And to highlight the advantages of walking, particularly in terms of accessibility: "Walking is an inexpensive, widely accessible, and simple exercise that almost anyone can do, regardless of geographic location, age, or socioeconomic status. .

Not content with being accessible to everyone, walking also has significant benefits for overall health. Numerous studies have already praised its merits for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, combating overweight and obesity, or even improving mental health. It is also a matter of reducing the burden of treating low back pain. "[The program] not only improved participants' quality of life, but also approximately halved their need for health care and their time spent on vacation. ;work stoppage", specifies Dr Natasha Pocovi, main author of this work.

Researchers have not been able to clearly explain the mechanism that allows walking to obtain such good results in terms of back pain. But they believe that it is likely to combine gentle oscillatory movements and strengthening of spinal structures and muscles, relaxation and relief of stress, as well as the release of endorphins which provide a feeling of well-being".

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