New Trunk Balance Treatment Chronic Back Pain

back pain Back pain is the second most common reason that people in the United States seek medical attention. Eighty percent of Americans will, at some point in their life, get hit with back pain. That pain is commonly found in the lower back and no cause can be found for the pain.

Over 90% of those people who experience back pain will recover rather quickly and without lasting effects. However, two to ten percent will go on to develop chronic back pain, which is pain lasting more than 3 months.

The effects of chronic back pain are both physical and emotional. Emotionally, chronic back pain can lead to depression, anxiety, anger and fear of re-injuring oneself to the point of not being able to work or enjoy life without pain. The emotions that accompany chronic back pain may lower the body’s natural production of painkiller, which then leads to more pain, less response from pain treatments and even an intensification of the negative emotions. It can become a vicious cycle.

Chronic Back Pain Management

One of the common treatments for management of chronic back pain is physical therapy. Physical therapy typically provides treatment strategies that focus on:

  • Restoring muscle and joint flexibility of the trunk of the body
  • Improving the mobility of the spine
  • Strengthening and stabilizing the core muscles
  • Correcting sitting postures
  • Teaching proper lifting mechanics

However, despite the best of efforts and though this treatment helped many to reduce or eliminate their pain, there were some that did not get relief of their chronic low back pain. Something was missing.

Trunk Balance Exercise for Back Pain

The missing component of the traditional therapy for back pain proved to be exercises to improve trunk balance. This was the findings in a study recently completed by the School of Physiotherapy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy and reported in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.

The study set out to evaluate the effect of trunk balance exercises in people with chronic low back pain. The researchers hypothesized that the reason for back pain is that the muscles of the back are not working in the correct sequence. This means that some of the back muscles fire and work when they are called to but others do not. So, when suddenly moving or changing positions, back pain is felt. However, balance training results in all the muscles of the back working together as they should.

So, in this study, core trunk balance stability training was added to the usual treatment strategy for one group of people while the other group received the usual treatment program without balance training. The exercises were done twice a week for five weeks.

The conclusion was that the group receiving the balance training reported significant improvement in:

  • Level of disability
  • Quality of life

If you are suffering from chronic low back pain, trunk balance exercises added to your usual back pain exercises just might help you.  As always, check with your doctor first.