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Exercise Offers Benefits After Low Back Rehabilitation

Subjects in exercise program have better trunk muscle endurance, disability scores

WEDNESDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic low back pain who participate in a post-rehabilitation exercise program enjoy benefits in trunk muscle endurance and level of disability compared to patients who receive usual care, according to a study in the May 20 issue of Spine.

Yves Henchoz, of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and colleagues randomized 105 patients with low back pain who had completed a three-week rehabilitation program to either three-months of a twice-weekly exercise program or routine follow-up care, including the recommendation to "stay active." Patients were evaluated at the beginning and end of the rehabilitation program, the end of the exercise program, and at one-year follow-up for lumbar spine mobility (flexion and extension range-of-motion, fingertip-to-floor distance), trunk muscle endurance, cardiovascular endurance, pain, and perceived functional ability.

After the rehabilitation program, the researchers found that both groups showed significant improvement in all physical measures except flexion and extension range-of-motion. At the three-month and one-year evaluations, both groups maintained their improvements in all measures except cardiovascular endurance, while the exercise program group had improved trunk muscle endurance and improved disability score.

"A favorable long-term outcome was observed after functional multidisciplinary rehabilitation in both patient groups. Patients who participated in an exercise program obtained some additional benefits. The relevance of these benefits to overall health status need to be further investigated," the authors write.

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