People with acute low back pain should ensure they maintain a good level of physical activity, according to scientists in Sweden.
Patricia Olaya-Contreras, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy, assessed 109 patients with severe, acute low back pain.
Half of the participants were told to stay active even though it may hurt, while the other half were advised to adjust their activity levels in line with their pain.
They were also asked to record the number of steps they took each day in a seven-day diary, along with the extent to which they were able to perform day-to-day activities and their physical symptoms.
Ms Olaya-Contreras, who used the research for her thesis, discovered that active patients tended to recover more quickly and were less likely to feel depressed, even though they felt more pain while exercising.
"The other category, who had been advised from the very start to adjust their activity to their pain, were less mobile and felt slightly depressed compared to the patients who were active," she revealed.
Patients who do not keep active can get "locked into a downward spiral", Ms Olaya-Contreras warned, as inactivity can increase the chances of acute pain developing into a chronic (long-term) condition.
"The results of the investigation and associated discussion could lead to patients taking a more active role and taking responsibility for their treatment," she added.
A spokesman for Arthritis Research UK said: "Exercise is the most important way that you can help yourself if you experience back pain. Research shows that bed rest for more than a couple of days doesn't help back pain and in the long term actually makes it worse as the muscles in your back become weak.
"Exercise might make your back feel a bit sore at first but it doesn't cause any harm. Start off slowly and gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. Over time, your back will get stronger and more flexible and this should reduce pain."
If you would like to know more about how Chiropractors at Luck’s Yard Clinic in Milford, can help to manage back pain please call 01483-527945 and book a 15 minute free chat with one of our 4 Chiropractors for more information.
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