Water exercise can reduce pain, disability from chronic low back pain

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In a new study from the University of Shanghai Sports, researchers found that water exercise leads to greater pain relief in people with chronic back pain compared to physical therapy.

They evaluated the long-term effects of therapeutic exercise in water on people with chronic low back pain.

The analysis included 113 participants r assigned to therapeutic water exercise (56 participants) or a physical therapy group (57 participants).

The researchers found that compared to the group receiving physical therapy, the group with water exercise showed greater mitigation of disability after a three-month intervention, after a six-month follow-up and a 12-month follow-up.

Improvements in favor of the water exercise group after 12 months included a number of participants who met a minimal clinically relevant difference in pain and disability.

The team says this finding could encourage clinicians to recommend water exercise to patients with chronic low back pain as part of treatment to improve their health through active exercise rather than relying on passive relaxation.

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The study was published in JAMA network open. One author of the study is Meng-Si Peng.

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