Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Lower Spine News

Back Pain Wears Me Out--or Does It?

Many clinicians who treat patients with chronic low back pain believe their patients need to do conditioning exercises for the heart and lungs. They believe these patients limit activity because of their pain, which leads to poor overall fitness. So patients with chronic low back pain are generally prescribed exercises to improve their aerobic stamina.

The first part of this study involved forming an equation to predict fitness levels in people with chronic low back pain. The authors then tested the long-held notion that these patients are generally less fit. The new formula showed that people with chronic low back pain had similar scores when compared with subjects who don't have pain. The authors found that the patient group with chronic low back pain is "moderately fit" and not significantly deconditioned as commonly thought. However, the authors still suggest that people with chronic low back pain should be given aerobic conditioning exercises in order to help improve their overall ability to do their activities. 

Harriet Wittnick, PT, PhD, OCS, et al. Deconditioning in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain. In Spine. September 1, 2000. Vol. 25. No. 17. Pp. 2221-2228.


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