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Backward Walking: A Possible Active Exercise for Low Back Pain Reduction and Enhanced Function in Athletes

PainSci » bibliography » Janet et al 2011
Tags: back pain, treatment, self-treatment, exercise, fun, pain problems, spine

PainSci notes on Janet 2011:

Backward walking, eh? Huh. Didn’t see that one coming.

“Results suggest that backward walking may reduce LBP and enhance function for athletes. Further investigation is warranted.”

Of course, this study also takes “small sample size” about as far as it can go.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Specific pathologies that associate with low back pain (LBP) challenge athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals with techniques to treat stricken athletes. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a backward walking exercise program in alleviating LBP and enhancing function in athletes. A secondary purpose was to identify which aspects of backward walking performance may be beneficial to the alleviation of LBP. Subjects, who included NCAA Division I athletes experiencing LBP (n = 5) and healthy, active individuals not experiencing LBP (n = 5), performed a pre-test, 3-week intervention of backward walking, and post-test. Low back range of motion, stride parameters, shock attenuation and pain scores were measured and/or recorded during each test session. Group results for 2 (group) x 2 (time) ANOVAs identified significant (p < 0.05) differences between groups and time for all stride parameters. The LBP group exhibited significantly greater sagittal plane low back motion and lesser coronal plane motion versus the healthy group. Single subject analyses identified unique participant responses with most reducing shock attenuation (17.2 ± 5.9%), and increasing sagittal (3.9 ± 1.6 deg) and coronal (5.0 ± 4.2 deg) plane range of motion following the intervention while one participant elicted responses that were opposite. Results suggest that backward walking may reduce LBP and enhance function for athletes. Further investigation is warranted.

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