“New Study: Regular Walking Can Halve Back Pain Recurrences!”

Regular walking can reduce back pain recurrence, study finds – DW – 06/20/2024

Walking Regularly Could Halve Back Pain Recurrences, Study Shows

A new study has revealed that walking for just half an hour five days a week can significantly reduce the recurrence of lower back pain. According to the study, published in The Lancet, this simple and cost-effective preventive measure could lead to substantial savings in future healthcare costs.

Walking as Preventive Care

Researchers found that patients who engaged in regular walking and received coaching from a physiotherapist experienced fewer flare-ups compared to those in a control group. This study followed 700 adults who had recently recovered from lower back pain over a period of up to three years. Half of the participants were given a personalized walking program with physiotherapist support, while the others continued their usual care.

The findings were significant: the intervention group had a longer average period before experiencing another episode of back pain, with a median of 208 days compared to 112 days for the control group. Additionally, those who walked regularly reported an improved quality of life and took nearly half the amount of sick leave compared to those who did not follow the walking regimen.

The Impact of Back Pain

Lower back pain is a major global health issue, affecting approximately 800 million people worldwide. It is also the leading cause of disability. Notably, seven in ten people who recover from an episode of lower back pain will experience a recurrence within a year.

Professor Mark Hancock from Macquarie University in Australia, co-author of the study, emphasized the accessibility and simplicity of walking as an exercise. “Walking is a low-cost, widely accessible, and simple exercise that almost anyone can engage in, regardless of geographic location, age, or socio-economic status,” Hancock said.

Why Walking Works

The exact mechanisms by which walking helps prevent back pain are not fully understood. However, Hancock theorized that the benefits likely stem from a combination of factors: gentle oscillatory movements, loading and strengthening of the spinal structures and muscles, relaxation, stress relief, and the release of endorphins. Walking is also known to improve cardiovascular health, bone density, weight management, and mental health.

Growing Health Concern

The study’s authors highlighted that lower back pain is becoming increasingly common due to longer life expectancies and more sedentary lifestyles. Despite its prevalence, back pain remains a relatively underexplored health issue, with disproportionately few resources dedicated to its research, prevention, and care.


This study underscores the potential of simple lifestyle changes in managing chronic health conditions. By incorporating regular walking into their routines, individuals may significantly reduce their chances of recurring back pain and enjoy broader health benefits. The findings suggest that more emphasis on preventive care like this could alleviate the burden on global health systems and improve quality of life for millions.

Regular walking is not just a remedy for back pain but a step toward a healthier, more active lifestyle. As more research continues to shed light on the benefits of walking, this simple exercise could play a crucial role in preventive healthcare strategies worldwide.

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