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Do I have to exercise to heal my lower back pain?

Q: I've had bouts of low back pain off and on for the last three years. I notice when I work out at the gym I feel better. As soon as I lay off the exercise, the back pain is back. Will I ever heal or am I stuck with the daily gym routine?

A: Research shows over and over that exercise helps reduce low back pain (LBP). Positive results are reported when exercise is done correctly and on a regular basis.

Patients with chronic LBP who exercise have better function with less pain than those who don't exercise at all. Patients who are given motivational tools and emotional support
have twice the results of those who just follow a standard exercise program.

Physical healing usually takes place in about six to eight weeks after injury or trauma. Unless you are doing work or activities that cause microdamage or reinjury, your tissues have probably healed long ago.

Back pain that keeps coming back is often a sign of stress. Exercise is a great stress reliever and has many, many other health benefits. Keeping up a daily exercise habit will benefit your back and much more!

Martin Friedrich, MD, et al. Long-Term Effect of a Combined Exercise and Motivational Program on the Level of Disability of Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain. In Spine. May 1, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 9. Pp. 995-1000.