spineA study just completed at the University of Alberta and presented at the American College of Sports Medicine determined that “weightlifting enhanced quality of life for low back pain patients by as much as 28%.” Also, the quality of life, defined as general physical and mental well-being, rose by as much as 28%.

Did You Know?

  • About 80% of North Americans suffer from lower back pain.
  • 67% of Americans over the age of 21 are overweight, and 45% of them are satisfied with their body weight.
  • Estimates are that by the year 2030, 86% of Americans over the age of 21 will be overweight.
  • 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their body weight.
  • Nearly half of Americans feel better on the days when they exercise.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 Americans are aware the USDA recommends 30 minutes of physical activity.
  • Only 50% of Americans know that in order to lose one pound, you must burn 3,500 calories more than you eat.
  • 6 out of every 100 American adults get 30 minutes of exercise a day.
  • 2 out of 10 Americans exercise three to four times per week.
  • 2 out of 10 Americans walk or bike instead of taking transportation.
  • 4 out of 10 Americans take the stairs whenever possible.
  • 3 out of 10 Americans regularly park their cars farther from their destination to get in extra walking.

Key points from the study including my observations from 20 years of treating low back pain in my Orange, CA chiropractic office and 25 years training with weights:

“Strengthening only one part of the body will not cut it.” Strengthening every muscle group of the body including the so-called ‘core muscles’ is the best way to stabilize the spinal column and prevent injury to muscles and joints.

“Anyone with neck or low back pain should consult a chiropractor or physician before proceeding with an exercise plan.” Pain can come from many sources and an evaluation beforehand will help to determine if an exercise plan is right for you.  A chiropractor is specifically trained in these areas and is the most competent type of doctor to make this determination.

“Exercising is counterintuitive based on how you feel,” Kell (one of the researchers) says.  “It hurts, so you want to stop.  We associate pain with something being wrong or getting worse, so we think we should rest more often. But really what happens if they get up and exercise with low back pain, is the joints loosen up and feel better.”

“If you continue to strengthen the body, the pain will subside, either substantially or to a small amount, but it will subside.” Other factors that will facilitate a quicker reduction in pain or a decreased chance of back injury are:

  • Reducing excess weight.
  • Receiving routine chiropractic adjustments.
  • Increase the amount of magnesium and potassium in your diet by eating more green leafy vegetables.
  • Drink at least two quarts of water per day.
  • Get a new bed if the one you have is too old or is not supportive.

“Aerobic Exercises such as jogging, walking on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine to ease low back pain, has only a minimal benefit.” Aerobic exercise should be part of any comprehensive workout program and should be performed 20-30 minutes three times per week, preferably just before the weight-training portion of the workout.

Please share what you do to help when you experience back pain.

Marcus Ettinger DC, BSc

A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain
Back pain is a major health issue in Western countries and 60%–80% of adults are likely to experience low back pain. This paper explores the impact of back pain on society and the role of physical activity for treatment of non-specific low back pain. A review of the literature was carried out using the databases SPORTDiscuss, Medline, and Google Scholar. A general exercise program that combines muscular strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness is beneficial for rehabilitation of non-specific chronic low back pain. Increasing core muscular strength can assist in supporting the lumbar spine. Improving the flexibility of the muscle-tendons and ligaments in the back increases the range of motion and assists with the patient’s functional movement. Aerobic exercise increases the blood flow and nutrients to the soft tissues in the back, improving the healing process and reducing stiffness that can result in back pain.

Chiropractic Care for the Whole Family – Diversified, Drop-Table, Webster Technique, AK, CRA, SOT, Non-Force