Walking to Prevent Low Back Pain

June 25th, 2024

A new study published by The Lancet earlier this month has already been making some waves. The purpose of the study was to look at the effectiveness of walking as a preventative exercise for low back pain. 

The research showed that a progressive walking program was able to cut the incidence of recurrent low back pain nearly 50 percent! To give you an idea of what the walking program looked like in the study, it went as follows: 

Individuals who were selected for the intervention group (walkers) were first started with three days on average with a totalk of around 80 minutes per week with gradual increases week over week. By week twelve, participants were walking four days on average with a totalk of close to 130 minutes per week by then. 

When compared to the control group (non-walkers), the walkers went an average of 208 days between flare-ups of low back pain. Non-walkers went 112. 

Interestingly the walking group had an increased incidence of lower extremity injuries compared to the control group. This is likely not wholly unexpected given the risks associated with walking, but the authors did provide details on the nature or severity of the injuries. 

The most interesting thing to me was that researchers in this study also found that the “willingness-to-pay threshold” –a measurment of how much a person would pay to recieve the benefit of nearly twice as many back pain free days in this case– was AU$28,000 (~US$18,500). 

Looks like it’s time to up my rates! Only kidding. 

If you would like to read the journal article, you can find it by clicking here.

If you decide to start walking more based on this article and end up hurting your hips, knees, legs, ankles or feet like some of the participants, make an appointment with us to get them taken care of!