About a year ago a lady in her mid 60s came to see me with chronic lower back pain. It was quite debilitating to say the least as it was affecting her in almost every aspect of her life. As much as the pain was affecting her physically it was beginning taking its toll on her mental state on a daily basis. With every passing day the client was growing more fearful of movement.
The simple task of walking to go shopping or to spend time with the dog became a dreadful experience. Baby sitting the grandkids, which usually was a pleasant experience, was becoming a burden. Watching comedy TV shows had also lost its touch as the client was always preoccupied with how her back felt. In addition to the day time troubles, night time was also an issue as sleeping was interrupted every night. With so many limitations in her ability to enjoy the simple wonders of daily living, it was easy to understand why so many patients with chronic pain experience depression.
Luckily for this client, she found Elite Myotherapy and proceeded to go on a journey with me to discover the benefits and wonders of exercise for her condition.
Convincing this client to perform exercise was definitely not an easy task! As pain was always associated with movement the client has grown exceptionally fearful of anything that resembled exercise on anticipation that pain will be felt. The challenge for me was to demonstrate that not ALL exercise is bad and that it is not only one of the best solutions to chronic pain, but it is also a way of life! As a matter of fact, humans should be incorporating regular exercise in their daily lives even though they don’t have pain as exercise has been known to provide other health benefits such as improved immunity, mood, sleep and metabolism. (Exercise Right n.d.)
I have been seeing this client for at least 6 months now and am very proud to have made such a simple but dramatic impact to this client’s quality of life. Exercise did not only reduce her pain but has also improved her quality of life. She can now enjoy playing with her Grandkids, walking around Toorak to enjoy the sunshine and have better sleep. She can also see that exercise is not only the solution to her pain, but also a means to achieving a greater sense of well being.
My long term goal with this client is to continue working with her to help her understanding and knowledge of the basic principles of pain science and exercise with regards to training, intensity, volume and rest periods so that she can, for the long term, become more independent in knowing how to incorporate exercise as part of her lifestyle.
Overall, we hope this case sheds further insight on the positive effects of exercise on chronic low back pain. More specifically aerobic exercise, which can be in the form of gentle running, walking, cycling or swimming can be beneficial. There is increasing evidence to suggest that carefully graded aerobic exercise, as a result of its ability to improve muscle and joint flexibility as well as increase strength in multiple areas of the body, can help to reduce and prevent episodes of low back pain (Gordon & Bloxham 2016, Moffet & Torgeson et al 1999, Sculco & Paup et al 2001). Further yet, exercise should not only been seen as a tool to prevent and treat pain, but should be seen as a tool to enhance other areas of one’s life that are beyond the physical.
Exercise Right, (n.d.), A Timeline of How your Body Reacts to Exercise. Retrieved from http://exerciseright.com.au/body-reacts-to-exercise/
Gordon. R & Bloxham. S, 2016, A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain, Healthcare, 4, 22; doi:10.3390
Moffet. JK, Torgerson. D, Bell-Syer. S, Jackson. D, Llewyln-Philips. H, Farrin. A & Barber. J, 1999, Randomised controlled trial of exercise for low back pain: clinical outcomes, costs, and preferences, BMJ, vol 319, pp 279-283
Sculco. D, Paup. DC, Fernhall B & Sculco. MJ, 2001, Effects of aerobic exercise on low back pain patients in treatment, vol 1, issue 2, pp 95-101
re to edit.
Case study by Henry Au-Yeung