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Back pain can stop you in your tracks. But new research shows that there’s something you can begin doing now to ward off this debilitating health nuisance.
And according to an examination of 31,000 back pain sufferers published in JAMA Internal Medicine, it’s as helpful in eliminating and preventing back pain as conventional medical treatments such as pain killers and back braces.
The researchers examined the results of 23 separate studies on lower back pain to determine which treatments have been deemed most effective in making sufferers less miserable.
The conclusion? Light daily exercise — equivalent to walking — contributed to a 35 percent reduction in instances of lower back discomfort.
A real prescription for back pain relief
How does that compare to the prescription pain meds most doctors are so quick to dole out?
Dr. Tim Carey, an internist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said of the results: “If there were a pill out there that could reduce your risk of future episodes of back pain by 30 percent, I’d probably be seeing ads on television every night.”
Of course you won’t see an advertisement for walking because no one profits from it — but you!
Unfortunately, Carey noted, Americans and their doctors tend to write light exercise off as a viable treatment option for back pain.
“Why are we not prescribing an inexpensive, effective treatment? Some of it is, I think, we don’t think of exercise as being a treatment the way a tablet or a procedure or a physical therapy treatment might,” Carey asked during a recent public radio interview.
“We’re a fairly pill-oriented society,” he said in answer to his own question. “Pills are easy to take, and as a doctor, pills are easy to prescribe.”
They’re also easy to get addicted to and offer up some pretty nasty side effects.
A better habit to develop would be daily half-hour walk. In the long run, not only will it be the more effective way to manage your low back pain, it can do your overall health a lot of good.