Walking programmes could help back pain, study finds

An Irish physical therapist will reveal at the WCPT Congress the full findings of a new investigation into the effectiveness of walking programmes to treat lower back pain. Early results indicate that an individualised walking programme prescribed by a physical therapist is as clinically effective as clinic-based forms of back pain treatment.

Deirdre Hurley from University College, Dublin, will present a research report into a study comparing a walking programme, a supervised group exercise programme and usual physical therapy. The study of 246 participants found that there were no significant differences after six months between all the groups, using the Oswestry Disability Index and other measures.

In the abstract for her presentation, Deirdre Hurley points out that while international clinical guidelines for chronic low back pain support supervised group exercise as an attractive first-line option, there are often space and time limitations in a healthcare setting.    At the same time, European clinical guidelines have identified the need for research into the use of brief/minimal contact self-activation interventions that encourage participation in physical activity. 

“Walking may be an ideally suited form of individualised exercise prescription as it is easy to do, requires no special skills or facilities, and is achievable by virtually all ages with little risk of injury,” she says.

She will reveal the full 12-month results of her study, and discuss their implications, during a platform presentation at the Congress. 

If you want to find out more about platform presentations at congress, use the interactive congress planner at www.wcpt.org/node/40473